Starting a church is enough of a challenge on its own, but religious affiliation has become far more challenging in the modern era. A lot of people are moving away from organized religion in search of more personal spiritual fulfillment. Small churches in the United States can easily be drowned out by larger populations in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and even San Francisco. As a Christian San Franciscan, it will be your duty to share your ministry in a way that translates to the broader San Francisco population.
The biggest responsibility for you is getting acquainted with the San Franciscan culture. Getting acclimated with how the city works, knowing the transportation system (cable cars aren’t for everyone), and knowing the average cost of living per person are all incredibly important. This will help you connect with the locals and let them know that you’re down-to-earth and relatable. If your mission for your ministry is to start a church in San Francisco, here are a few things you should know.
Know what to preach.
Sex is a massive part of today’s culture. Sex is used very generously as a marketing tool; a lot of companies aren’t even trying to conceal the use of sex in their marketing campaigns. In an age where sex is a tool and a huge part of modern culture, it’s tough for Christians to maintain their moral code and encourage others to join their ministry.
In the book Real Sex by Lauren Winner, the author speaks candidly about the importance of chastity in single Christians. Challenges like talking about intercourse in church, pornography, masturbation, how sexual behavior and sexual activity form habits, and expectations for couples who aren’t married yet are also addressed in this book. That being said, the author recognizes the importance of comprehensive sex education in adolescence and in high school.
Real Sex will be an essential read for you as you open your ministry in San Francisco so you can connect better with singles who are struggling with chastity. You’ll also be armed with discussion questions that have been added to the paperback edition, so you’re more than ready to start your church in the San Francisco bay area.
Make the big move.
Relocating to San Francisco is, of course, a huge part of the process if you’re not already a resident of the San Francisco area. If your calling is to move to a big city like New York or San Francisco to start your own church, the only thing you can do is take that leap of faith and go to the Bay Area. Make sure, however, that you do your research ahead of time.
If you’re making a cold move to an expensive city, an easy way to find apartments is to look at forums like Craigslist. You will run into some issues if you’re not careful because sellers can avoid transparency through their photos. Even if you take a virtual tour, you may not be able to see small details like appliances.
If you run into an issue where you arrive at your San Francisco apartment and find that you are deciding between repairing and replacing a refrigerator, make sure to do your research. It may just be that you need to replace the compressor, but if the cost of the repair is too high it could be as serious as needing to replace your refrigerator. The positive side of getting a new refrigerator or other appliance is that you can get new appliances that are Energy Star approved, which will help you save a little bit of money on your next energy bill. You may also be able to negotiate with your landlord on lowering your rent a little bit if you replace your refrigerator or ice maker yourself.
Be familiar with the area.
Knowing the city where you’re starting your church is of utmost importance. You have to know how to get around so you know how to get to the popular areas. Once you know those hot spots you’ll be much more efficient with your outreach because you’ll be able to reach more of the population at once.
The good news is that the transit systems in the bay area in San Francisco are easy to navigate once you get used to them. If you’re not comfortable using the public transport, the train, or the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), it’s a good idea to get an Uber or a Lyft because there is no chance that you’ll be able to find a parking space.
While starting a church is scary enough on its own, starting a church in a big city where human sexuality is a major part of the culture is a huge undertaking. Just remember to take a deep breath, remind yourself that this is the calling for your ministry, and take it one step at a time. Get familiar with the area of San Francisco and don’t forget to enjoy the journey.