Hanson on Church and the Creative Class

Some of you may be familiar with the work of Richard Florida on the cultural-economic phenomenon known as the "creative class," which he describes as
"a fast-growing, highly educated, and well-paid segment of the workforce on whose efforts corporate profits and economic growth increasingly depend. Members of the creative class do a wide variety of work in a wide variety of industries-from technology to entertainment, journalism to finance, high-end manufacturing to the arts. They do not consciously think of themselves as a class. Yet they share a common ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference, and merit." (R. Florida, "The Rise of the Creative Class," Washington Monthly, May 2002, Vol. 34, Issue 5.)

Collin Hansen has written a thoughtful and engaging piece on the implications of the creative class phenomenon for the ministry and mission of the church. Following his recent article on the decline of churches in rural America, in this article he explores the implications of Florida's thesis on suburbia and cities. Particularly helpful are the evenhandedness and optimism with which he addresses the subject (note especially his critiques in his closing paragraphs).

Collin leaves us with a rather large question to seriously consider:

What is the church to make of an urban situation characterized by high mobility and low family resiliency?

The paradox he notes is piercing:
"Turnover gives urban churches wide national influence. Ironically, it also undermines local community. So the very bonds of fellowship that attract young people to urban churches in the first place eventually dissolve when members lose their resolve to stay in the city."

This is an issue that must be resolved if churches are going to establish a significant gospel presence in the great cities of our nation and of the world.

Alright friends, I'm waiting for your thoughtful suggestions.

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