2 minute read


[caption id=”attachment_995” align=”alignnone” width=”640”]Immigrants Painter: Peter Wedin (1894-1980) Art Collection, Wood Relief 1930 Location no. AV1988.204 Negative no. 56886 Featured on the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collections Up Close blog “Immigrants” Painter: Peter Wedin (1894-1980) Featured on the Minnesota Historical Society’s Collections Up Close blog[/caption]

“In the News” is a series where I highlight research and various articles from around the internet to showcase shifts of missiological significance.

Why American Cities are Fighting to Attract Immigrants

The tagline of a recent article in the Atlantic reads, “Many metro areas with large foreign-born populations have thriving local economies. And now local governments all over the U.S. are trying to replicate their successes.” You can check out the article here: “Why American Cities are Fighting to Attract Immigrants.”

The article goes on to highlight Nashville, Tenn. as a success story concerning its proactive approach to immigration and the economic boom it has received from doing so. According to the article, many US cities are now on the offensive trying to attract new foreign-born residents to their area.

Highlights from the article:

  • Immigrants start new businesses. ”A report by the Partnership for a New American Economy, which advocates for immigrants in the U.S. workforce, found that they accounted for 28 percent of all new small businesses in 2011.”
  • In some cities, immigrants are floating the economy. “In New York, immigrants made up 44 percent of the city’s workforce in 2011; in and around Los Angeles, they accounted for a third of the economic output in 2007.”
  • Nashville has embraced this trend with much economic success. “The foreign-born population in the Nashville metropolitan area has more than doubled since 2000; immigrants accounted for three-fifths of the city’s population growth between 2000 and 2012” and “They’re not only benefiting from the local prosperity—they’re contributing to it. Immigrants are twice as likely as native-born Nashville residents to start their own small businesses.”
  • Other cities are catching on. “ Since 2009, 57 cities and counties, from San Francisco and Philadelphia to Dodge City, Kansas, have taken “welcoming” pledges, meaning that the local governments committed themselves to a plan to help immigrants assimilate.”

Great commission takeaways:

  • Cities are changing their view of immigration, making space for people group communities to flourish. With local governments creating policy to encourage immigration, this will only fan the flames of people group community development in these cities. In other words, it will be easier for people groups to move in and establish an enclave, neighborhood, or area where they call home. If these groups are already Christian, it inevitably means the planting of a church for their group. These churches should become partners in ministry. If they are unreached, then the community is in need of gospel proclamation. and local churches can begin to find and engage these groups.
  • Many immigrants are small business owners, and you should be their customer. When trying to engage these new people group communities with the gospel, local churches must develop relationships with these people. One of the easiest ways to do so if by inserting yourself into a “third place,” one where you can intersect their culture. Instead of buying your bag of rice at Kroger, why not consider shopping at that small Mediterranean store on the corner? Discovering and engaging these people group enclaves can be as simple as walking in to an international market.


To find out more about people group discovery and engagement, check out my other posts on the Peoples Next Door.