In this seed stage of planting, the residency takes place in Columbia, South Carolina. For those of you not familiar with the city, here’s a brief background.
1. Capital City
It’s the center of politics for the state. The rhythm of politics affects the agenda for businesses and the city.
2. University of South Carolina
USC is a large SEC school. Lots of students (around 30,000), and lots of football. The university has a very good international business program that attracts many students.
3. Deep South
Southern hospitality (which doesn’t always translate to real hospitality) is common. There are many, many churches, not too few of them caught in cultural Christian legalism. The city is over-churched and under-gospeled.
4. Financial and Racial Pains
Columbia is poorer than the majority of other cities in South Carolina, where about 25% of residents below the poverty line. The city also is dealing with deep racial tensions.
5. Emerging Arts Community
In recent years, the city has been more intentional in supporting the local arts community. The artists there, much like the residents, are gritty and determined. This is a strategic time for the church to be involved with the arts scene.
As with any city, there is always a need for the love of Christ to infiltrate its core. There is much brokenness in Columbia, but the grace of God is greater. This is a perfect ministry and training ground for future church planting.