Megacities and Missions

Sam Rainer

December 20, 2007

I’m a city-boy. I grew up most of my life inside large urban areas. My wife is a country gal. Her family raises their own beef. So when we started looking for a home, I was thinking a downtown loft. She wanted farmland. So we compromised. Our home borders corn fields and cattle farms.

I’ve grown to like living in the country. It’s a bit too quiet – sometimes I think that I can hear all the twinkling stars up in the sky (the ones that hide behind the city lights). Louisville is only a short trip away, so we’re not too far from civilization. But the extra space is nice. I still have a heart for the city, though.

According to a couple of population experts in a recent interview, in the year 2025 the number of “megacities” — those with more than 10 million people — will swell from the current number of 20 to as many as 40. In 1980, there were only 10 megacities in the world. By 2050, the population will expand from 6.5 billion today to more than 9 billion.

While sounding somewhat sensational, these experts claim this rapid rise of city dwellers will lead to mass homelessness, poverty, unemployment, dwindling water supplies, disease, and crime spikes. Most of these new megacities will be in some of the poorest countries on the two poorest continents, Africa and Asia.

I’m not as doom-and-gloom on a sociological worldwide scale. Human suffering should always elicit a response from the evangelical community, but the one piece of this population boom that does break my heart: who’s going to go tell them about the good news of Jesus Christ? The United Nations forecasts that these megacities will be the largest in 2015. While missionaries are already in many of these areas, start praying that God will prepare more hearts and minds to work in these urban meccas.

1. Tokyo, Japan (36.4 million)
2. Mumbai, India (21.9 million)
3. São Paulo, Brazil (20.5 million)
4. Mexico City, Mexico (20.2 million)
5. New York-Newark, USA (20 million)
6. Delhi, India (18.7 million)
7. Shanghai, China (17.2 million)
8. Dhaka, Bangladesh (17 million)
9. Calcutta, India (17 million)
10. Karachi, Pakistan (14.9 million)

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