Urban Church Planter: First, What Does the City Need?

To truly be an urban pastor planting an urban church one must first get to know the broken parts of the city, said Pastor Cedric Nelms of Chosen Generation Church in Long Beach, during a panel discussion about Los Angeles.


“We are very diverse here in our city and I think the best way for us to come together is to be able to plant transformational communities … so that means we are walking into the community asking the questions about what are the needs of the community,” said Nelms, who was recently named City Director for World Impact Los Angeles.

He told TogetherLA that Jesus assessed the needs of every situation he came upon “before he actually brought the solution.”

“That’s how you begin to transform a community because now you are getting into the dirty part, the grimy part of what it actually means to be an urban pastor planting an urban church,” he said.

4 Pastors Get Real About Los Angeles – Part 1

It may seem like a daunting task to figure out what’s broken in Los Angeles then offer a way to fix everything, but that’s not what four Christian leaders from various parts of L.A. set out to do during a panel discussion at Philosopher’s Cafe (Thursdays at Metropolis) in Santa Monica last month.

Co-hosted by Together LA, the panel — Broken City – Is there hope for Los Angeles? — began with moderator Steve Snook of Metro Church giving a heads up to the direction the discussion will go.

“I’m going to tell you right now, there’s hope all the way across this panel,” said Snook, a longtime pastor in Santa Monica. “You’re going to hear us being really honest about the brokenness that we see, but not spending much time on the brokenness without getting to a place where we talk about some of what we see happening even now and what is coming based upon the hope that is within us.”

Cedric NelmsNelms is certainly on the same page.

“We have to get unified in understanding that yes, we can be a different color, we can be a different culture, we can be a different race, we can even have a different creed, but we also have to understand that there is only one gospel and one Lord,” he said.

The demographics of the community Nelms ministers in includes a population that is 60 percent Hispanic, 40 percent African American, he said. “In that context, three of their top four things on their list community-wise (needs and desires) were job training, youth engagement, and most of all, unification.”

Nelms recently described the work of World Impact.

“World Impact is a Christian missions organization committed to facilitating church-planting movements by evangelizing, equipping and empowering the unchurched urban poor,” he said. “World Impact’s purpose is to honor and glorify God and to delight in Him among the unchurched urban poor by knowing God and making Him known.

“One of the initiatives that World Impact has for the urban pastor is the Urban Church Association (UCA). It is a coalition of urban church pastors that meet once a month for networking, resourcing, reproduction, and soul care. …Not only do they collaborate and encourage each other, they seek to bring unity to the Body of Christ while transforming their communities together.”

This article is the second in a four-part series about the panel discussion hosted by Philosopher’s Cafe and TogetherLA.net on June 15, 2017. The full panel discussion can be viewed on Facebook by clicking on Part 1 and Part 2.

Video and photos by One Ten Pictures.

4 Pastors Get Real About the City – Together LA Pop-Up Part 1 (Michael Mata)

Urban Church Planter: First, What Does the City Need? Part 2 (Cedric Nelms)

‘Beautiful’ Westside Striken with Spiritual Poverty a Unified Church Can Cure – Part 3 (Steve Snook)

LA Pastors’ Bottom Line: We Want to Help the City That We Live In – FINAL (Brannin Pitre)



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