Syracuse, N.Y. is a multicultural hub of a city. It’s only a day’s drive from other eastern metro areas like Boston, Toronto, and Philadelphia, and the ethnic diversity of the city is something that can be easily gagued by just a 15 minute walk around town and a careful eye on the passerby.
Vibrant City to Work and Play
Since so many people commute from surrounding cities to work and play in Syracuse, it is a great central location for ministry and church planting. Education, medicine, retail and engineering are the top industries for the area, with the top employers having businesses all within the city limits. Also, the multiple colleges and universities within the city limits bring in a ton of young adults into the city during the calendar year, as well as a ton of revenue.
Unexpected Diversity Make it an Interesting Place
The local paper, the Syracuse Post-Standard (www.syracuse.com), carries stories of the most recent additions to the city population: Butanese, Somali-Bantu, Congolese, and Malaysian refugees, among others. Church planters wishing to serve people from every tribe, tongue and language won’t have to look any further than places like South Salina Street, and that’s in addition to an already diverse, and largely, unreached, populous.
Opportunities for Church Planting are Huge!
The Barna study of “Bible Minded Cities” puts Syracuse, N.Y., in the bottom 15 percent, and that is just one of the most recent examples of studies done which show the need here for Gospel centered and Bible-believing churches.
Like most of upstate New York, the majority of the population is disenchanted with Christianity, yet they have parents or grandparents who align themselves with Christian denominations or with the Catholic faith. At first blush, spiritual receptivity seems very low, due to culturally induced barriers to the Gospel, such as negative stereotypes associated with evangelical Christians. However, a dedicated minister seeking to engage people and commit to building relationships will find people receptive to genuine followers of Jesus. Even with the cool exterior, the people can be surprisingly hospitable: for example, large houses in the streets adjacent to the colleges, or along the bus routes, have been hollowed out and turned into student apartments, and the tenants, like the rest of the city, are always outside on the porches during sunny afternons and evenings.
Past workers in this area, who felt a call to journey from other parts of the country and make their homes in this part of the U.S., were surprised at how good this area was for their families – specifically, the schools, the revamped downtown area, and the amount of things there is to do outside at the county and state parks, no matter what the weather or season.
Church planting in Syracuse, New York