The Growing Community Gap

Cody Ray Charland | Dec 2, 2011

Photo by John Cobb

A study from Stanford University revealed that in 90% of metropolitan areas, income segregation went up during the decade of the 2000’s. This is leading to the elimination of one of the three social classes, as many families are now being classified within a two-tiered society of upper or lower-class. In response, Harvard Sociologist William Wilson writes, “This divide decreases a sense of community.” Essentially, families are feeling segregated from their communities due to income.

The “us” versus “them” mentality is stronger than ever. While this is only a few decades after our country forcefully integrated institutions, it’s happening again. Schools, neighborhoods, and jobs are being culturally segregated due to socioeconomic statuses.

Yet when all else is dividing, there’s one institution that has the potential to push everyone together—the church. The original Greek word for church used in the New Testament, ecclesia, carried the implication of a gathering that “opened the doors for all citizens, regardless of class.” To put it another way, the church is meant to be a family of families.

Don’t forget how naturally ministry unites students, but also how it offers the rare chance to unite families across all kinds of lines.

What does the economic divide look like in your church? In your broader community? What’s being done to connect this economic and social divide in your church for:

-Families?

-Students?

-The communities around you?

Cody Ray Charland

Cody Ray Charland is a second year MATM student at Fuller’s Pasadena campus. He holds a BA in Physical Education from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. As Project Assistant with the Fuller Youth Institute, he handles social media, and helps with writing, technology, and research. He was formerly a Young Life leader as well as Youth Pastor at Port City Community Church in Wilmington, NC. Cody enjoys the outdoors, all things Tar Heel, and barbecue.


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