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I am in San Francisco this weekend, or north of the city to be more precise. I am speaking to the elders and pastoral staff of City Church in San Francisco. City Church is one of the truly great churches in the U.S. It began about 13 years ago as a church plant right in the center of the most secular city in the United States.

It has been noted by one recent poll that less than 4% of the people in San Francisco attend any kind of religious gathering even twice monthly. I can’t believe that any major city in the U.S. could compare to that low number, and the figure includes the practices of many who are not Christian in any sense of the term. Put into the equation the numbers of people attending churches that are not even remotely orthodox, and the percentage of people actually attending confessional churches could be less than 1%. Anyone who thinks about it can readily see that San Francisco is a city where the gospel is desperately needed, but San Franciscans will not listen to the gospel from most of the conservative ministries preaching it in America today.

This is part of what makes the City Church unique. Here is a healthy, vibrant, Reformed congregation that is growing and reaching people on a weekly basis. The missional and ecumenical stance of the leadership of City Church is a model to the new urban mission challenges of North America.

I ask for your prayers as I speak and learn during this weekend. I am always refreshed by my time with the leaders of City Church, and thus I am uniquely honored to spend time with them on this annual retreat.