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In today’s world, cities are more and more framing the landscape of the nations. Especially in Latin America, we see cities like never before. The Lima Initiative is intentionally approaching the city of Lima with the hope of transforming its communities for God’s glory.
520 million people live in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking Americas—391 million live in 16,000 cities. Latin America is the world’s most urbanized region—there are 51 cities with more than 1 million people. South America is the most urbanized continent on earth. A UN report predicts that by the year 2050, nine out of ten Latin Americans will live in cities.
While these numbers are convincing, it’s the story behind them that shapes the future of missions in Latin America. The next generation is migrating in mass to the cities. The urban landscape is home to the largest un-churched segments. The most influential leaders—those who shape culture, administer justice and ignite the economy—work within city limits. And millions who live in poverty come to lay their hopes for a better future at the feet of economic centers—110 million people live in shantytowns in the cities of Latin America.
D.L. Moody famously said, “If we reach the cities, we will reach the nations.” This has never been truer for the missions enterprise than it is today. Equally true is that the Church of Jesus Christ, the primary catalyst in God’s redemptive plan, will lead the way. New, urban churches create the context for the multiplication of new believers and influential disciples. We must go and multiply dynamic churches for the cities.
With more than 9 million inhabitants, an important crossroads for Peru and all of Latin America, Lima is emerging as a strategic church-planting and disciple-making focal point. South America Mission’s Lima Initiative centers on a key district of the city for an initial church plant, which is a model for discipleship and leadership training in the context of the local church. It is a starting point for spontaneous church multiplication, for the message of the grace and mercy of Jesus to transform the cities, the new missions frontier.