Illinois Baptist 06 30 2017 E Edition Page 2

ve visited Phoenix a few times over the years, but attending the Southern Baptist Convention there recently reminded me again how much it differs from cities here in the Midwest. Of course, its a city in the desert, a reality thats evident even from the sky as ones plane lands. That dif- ference is even more noticeable as you first breathe the dry air, touch the hot pavement or sand, or simply realize that, at least in the summertime, the brown of Arizona bears little resemblance to the green of Illinois. In the short walk from my hotel to the con- vention center each day, I also noticed many different cultural influences, from Native American and Hispanic to the Old West. I saw colorful jewelry, pottery, and clothing in the store windows, and pragmatic architecture spread low across the skyline, all reflecting the unique beauty of the desert. It wasnt long, however, before I also began seeing similarities between Phoenix and cities like Chicago. For example, there is great wealth alongside great poverty. There are busy freeways, and constant traffic, and countless people in a hurry. There are many faces that seem sad, or angry, or just empty as they go about their routines. And there are relatively few Baptist churches, or visible evidence of Christian hope. Im taking time to paint this picture of Phoenix because I hope that by the time our IBSA Annual Meeting rolls around this November, we may be ready to invite many Illinois Baptists to return there. Discussions with Ari- zona Baptist leaders during the convention revealed several opportunities for partnership. For example, there are currently only three African American Southern Baptist churches in the Phoenix association, while Chicago has dozens. On the other hand, Arizona Southern Baptists have been particularly effec- tive in suburban church planting, an area of great need in Chicagoland. We began to see that a complementary partnership between churches in our states, focused especially on church planting in these two Send Cities of North America, could give each of them a needed boost in reaching people with the gospel and estab- lishing new Baptist churches. We also discovered that there are numerous natural connections be- tween the mission field residents of Chicago and Phoenix. For example, according to recent census data, Chi- cagoans move to Phoenix more than any other metropolitan area except Champaign, Illinois. In fact, more move to Phoenix than to New York, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Atlanta, or even Indianapolis, which round out the list of top relocation destinations. And while Phoenix is a much smaller city, more than half the number of people that move from Chicago to Phoe- nix each year also move the other way, from Phoenix to Chicago. Many Chicagoans snowbird in Phoenix. And the fact that both the Cubs and White Sox hold their baseball spring training camps in the Phoenix area is just one factor that keeps the airports full of tourists as well as business travelers. In fact, one travel writer recently referred to Phoenix as Chicago West, and commented on the numerous pockets of Chicago culture that can now be found in the desert city. So, the tale of these two cities isnt over with the conclusion of this years Southern Baptist Convention, at least as far as Illinois Baptists and Arizona Baptists are concerned. We are discussing a more formal partnership, with vision trips in early 2018, facilitated mission trip opportunities next year, and the matchmaking of several church-to-church partnerships. If all goes as planned, our desert partners may even provide Illinois Baptists with a welcome, new experiencethe winter mission trip. Nate Adams is executive director of the Illinois Baptist State Association. Respond at Tale of two cities NATE ADAMS Snapshots from the world of Illinois Baptists The general telephone number for IBSA is (217) 786-2600. For questions about subscriptions, articles, or upcoming events, contact the Illinois Baptist at (217) 391-3119 or . The Illinois Baptist is seeking news from IBSA churches. E-mail us at to tell us about special events and new ministry staff. POSTMASTER: The Illinois Baptist is owned and published every three weeks by the Illinois Baptist State Association, 3085 Stevenson Drive, Springfield, Illinois 62703-4440. Subscriptions are free to Illinois Baptists. Subscribe online at . CONVENTIONAL WISDOM The Illinois Baptist staff Editor - Eric Reed Graphic Designer - Kris Kell Contributing Editor - Lisa Misner Sergent Editorial Contributor - Meredith Flynn Administrative Assistant - Leah Honnen - I' 2 Illinois Baptist the cooperative program Giving by IBSA churches as of 6/23/17 $2,840,448 Budget Goal: $3,028,846 Received to date in 2016: $2,822,968 2017 Goal: $6.3 Million Chicagoans move to Phoenix more than any other metropolitan area except Champaign. Only the Lonely In our hyper-connected culture, it would seem to be easier than ever to develop relationships. But research by the Barna Group says that's not so. The average adult in the U.S. reports having 5 close friends . Lower income people reported 2.5 close friends on average. 1-in-5 adults reports being lonely. 22% Who is lonely? 15% Men Women Single Married Millennials Gen-X Boomers Elders 24% 13% 25% 24% 13% 6% Where did you meet your friends? Work 35% Other friends 29% Neighborhood 28% K-12 school 24% Hobbies/activities 20% College 20% Church 8% My children 7% Online For the church Only 1-in-5 said they developed friendships at church. Even so, it appears that fostering relationships is a good ministry opportunity, especially among younger people. 48%

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