Jack Dennison warns, “The church of the twenty-first century must shift its focus from an institutional orientation to a community orientation if it is to survive and thrive.” (Jack Dennison, City Reaching: On the Road to Transformation, William Carey Library, 1999, p. 43)
Christ in the City/Crave Coffee House is an LCMS ministry located in St. Louis that has made the shift from being institutional-oriented to being community -oriented. Its history goes back to the founding of Christ Lutheran Church in 1868. The congregation was originally based in a rural community but the city of St. Louis grew around it and the University of St. Louis became the congregation’s neighbor. As the community changed around the church, the church experienced a number of significant challenges and changes and they almost “closed their doors.” Instead of closing doors and moving to the suburbs, they re-engaged the community and Christ in the City/Crave birthed and they are not only surviving but thriving as they share the message of Christ with the community as they partner with other community initiatives.
To hear the story of Christ in the City/Crave, as told by Pastor John Rathje, click on the following link:
Link to Crave, St. Louis: http://www.cravestl.org/02/what_is_c2.asp.