There are over two and a half million people who live in the city of Chicago and nine and a half million who live in the Chicagoland satellite cities. 

March 1, 2023

The Gospel in the City

A few months after I was elected president of the Illinois Conference in 2001, my wife and I took some visitors to the Hancock Building in Chicago. In the observation deck high above the streets of Chicago we could see for miles in all directions. While our guests were watching the sailboats out on the blue waters of Lake Michigan, I was on the other side of the deck staring out at the vastness that is Chicagoland.

There are over two and a half million people who live in the city of Chicago and nine and a half million who live in the Chicagoland satellite cities. 

As I stood viewing this immense mission field, I asked myself, “How can we possibly take our Adventist message and impact this vast city?” The audacity of this task was and is truly overwhelming.  

Each of the four states that make up the Lake Union has at least one large metropolitan area — Illinois has Chicago, Indiana has Indianapolis, Wisconsin has Milwaukee, and Michigan has Detroit. These four metropolitan areas are home to half of the 35 million people who inhabit our four-state territory.  

As we consider how we can reach the cities of the Lake Union for Christ, here are some suggestions: 

  1. Commit to praying for the cities in your state. The task before us is too great to be accomplished through mere human effort. We must rely on the Holy Spirit for the wisdom, power and resources needed for this work. 

  1. Visit the official General Conference website for Mission to the Cities: You will find inspiring stories highlighting mission work being done in cities around the world and discover resources for your local field. 

  1. Learn how you can be a part of starting an Urban Center of Influence in a city near you. These centers are funded by all levels of the church and can take many forms but all culminating in the planting of new churches in large metropolitan areas. 

  1. In the past, dozens of free dental clinics were conducted for underserved populations throughout the Lake Union territory. This year we are returning this program with one Lake Union-sponsored event in each of the five conferences. We hope to double that number in 2024. This is a fulfilling way to get involved in Mission to the Cities. 

Ellen White wrote over 120 years ago: “Our workers laboring in cities should read carefully the tenth and eleventh chapters of Hebrews and appropriate to themselves the instruction that this scripture contains. The eleventh chapter is a record of the experiences of the faithful. Those who undertake to work for God in our cities must go forward in faith, doing their very best. As they watch and work and pray, God will hear and answer their petitions. They will obtain an experience that will be invaluable to them in their after work. ‘Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.’”—Pacific Union Recorder, October 23, 1902 


Kenneth Denslow is president of the Lake Union Conference.