There are segments in the USA (Philadelphia, Grand Rapids, Greenville, SC) where there is a relative abundance of confessional Reformed congregations. There are places, however, large swaths of the country where it’s difficult, if not impossible, to find a confessional Reformed congregation. A thinning population, with a sometimes unstable ag-based economy, spread across an immense geographic area presents little attraction to high-powered church planters. Further, the old mainline denominations that once dominated the state with tall steeples have a less visible presence now. This is due partly to demographic changes but its also the natural result (as documented by students of the history of PCUSA for example) of the long-term abandonment by of the mainline of the historic Christian faith. Put briefly: Why go to church to hear amateur political analysis when one can watch first-rate analysis at the same time on television—without getting out of bed?
The lower midwest, where I grew up, is one of those places with a small Reformed presence. There are a handful of confessional Reformed congregations in Nebraska, probably less than 10 to reach 1.2 million people. So it’s encouraging to see congregations thinking and working strategically to reach people with the gospel. Zion PCA in Lincoln is planting a new congregation in the near north side of Lincoln (known locally as the “North Bottoms”) on the north side of the tracks, just a few blocks from the University of Nebraska downtown campus. This is a strategic area to reach young people, those who work and study at the university and long-time residents in the area. It’s good to see a stronger Reformed presence in capital city. Let’s hope and pray that others in other cities can imitate this good example of creative church planting.