IDEA / CHURCH GROWTH STUDIES PROGRAM

 

 

 

THE LOS ANGELES A.D. 2000 PROJECT:

TARGETING THE

GREATER LOS ANGELES

METRO AREA

(GLAMA)

 

 

First Edition: January 1990

Latest Revised Edition: October 1997

Prepared by Clifton L. Holland


 

 

A MINISTRY OF IN-DEPTH EVANGELISM ASSOCIATES (IDEA)

P.O. Box 3406, Orange, CA 92857-3406

1-800-682-5832

 


THE LOS ANGELES A.D. 2000 PROJECT:

PURPOSE, OBJECTIVES AND METHODOLOGY

 

1. GENERAL PURPOSE

We propose to study the growth of the Protestant Movement in the context of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (GLAMA) in order to help Christian leaders recognize and respond more adequately to the spiritual, physical, psychological, economic and social needs of this fragmented metropolis, now totaling about 12 million people.

This study will provide up-to-date information on the geographical distribution, sociological composition, and denominational affiliation of Protestant congregations in the GLAMA, integrated with current demographical data on the population in general. Special attention will be given to an analysis of Protestant church growth among sociological groups in the context of the GLAMA, as well as to identifying unreached "people groups" and neglected communities in specific geographical areas of the city where Evangelical presence and ministry are weak or non-existant.

The data from this study will be tabulated and analyzed by a team of researchers and technical advisors who will work with an editorial committee to produce a series of reports on "The Los Angeles A.D. 2000 Project." The published documents, together with related audio-visual materials, will be used in programs of leadership training (both formal and nonformal education), as well as by denominational and para-church leaders, as informational resources for evaluation and planning.

These materials will help Christian leaders to evaluate existing ministries, and to plan and develop more adequate and fruitful programs of spiritual renewal, evangelism, discipleship, church-planting, leadership training, mutual cooperation, and social concern/action in response to human need within each sociological group. This is especially needed among the least evangelized and under-churched people groups, as well as among the marginalized segments of urban society.

Our motivation and purpose are to be faithful and obedient to the Great Commission and the Great Commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ within our Jerusalem and Samaria: the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area.

2. SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

2.1 To define the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA) -- the universe of the study) and analyze it using the tools of urban missiology (a interdisciplinary and holistic approach).

2.2 To describe, within the above context, the current situation of the Evangelical Church in particular, and the Protestant Movement in general; to profile its constituencies; and to analyze the dynamics of holistic church growth and decline in the GLAMA.

2.3 To define the various sociological groups that compose the population of the GLAMA and evaluate their responsiveness/resistance to the Gospel of Christ, as well as to other religious movements, by analyzing "religiosity" variables among the general populace.

2.4 To help define priority areas (geographical zones and sociological groups) where specific programs and ministries should be developed immediately in response to human need.

2.5 To provide informational resources as tools for evaluation, planning and decision-making for Christian leaders to assist them in developing their present ministries, as well as creating new ministries that are appropriate to help meet the needs of their respective constituencies and communities.

2.6 To share the results of this study with Christian leaders and their organizations, both denominational and para-church agencies and ministries, to help them improve communication and self-awareness as members of the larger Protestant Community in the GLAMA (Evangelical self-image).

2.7 To utilize the written and audio-visual materials from this study in programs of formal and nonformal education to help train Christian leaders of all ethnic and racial groups for urban ministry.

2.8 To encourage integral church growth and holistic community development within the GLAMA by providing orientation and training for at least 1,000 Protestant church leaders in a series of conferences and/or seminars, using the results of this study.

2.9 To encourage the formation of an appropriate number of new Evangelical congregations (churches or missions) among all sociological groups in the GLAMA by the year 2000 A.D., with special emphasis on the least evangelized and unchurched people groups (Goal = one church per 1,000 or 1:1,000).

2.10 To help facilitate the formation of a permanent program of urban church growth studies in particular, and urban missiological research in general, for the GLAMA; and to encourage this kind of research program in other major cities and states, in order to monitor continuously the growth and development of the Protestant Movement in the USA; this process is defined as a "permanent national research function."

3. ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING 1990-1992

3.1 Developed a "Resource Center for Urban Ministry" at IDEA/Church Growth Studies Program office in Pasadena, at the U.S. Center for World Mission/William Carey International University.

3.2 Produced a preliminary version of a "Resource Directory for Ethnic Ministry in the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA)" as a joint-venture with World Vision USA Ministries, Field Service Projects Office. The questionnaires and preliminary fieldwork were done by Clifton Holland with assistance from Don Dorr (Professor at Azusa Pacific University), Enrique Danwing (missionary on-loan from the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church of Mexico), Andrew Toth (missionary on loan from the Presbyterian Church in America, Mission to North America), and interns from the Bresee Institute for Urban Training (Executive Director, the Rev. Michael Mata). The software application was developed by Mr. Marv Bowers of International Learning Systems, ILS (City Networker Software, a runtime version of askSam Systems).

3.3 Our Executive Director served as Conference Director and member of Executive Steering Committee for "Celebrate Christ's Presence in the City of the Angels!" This was a very significant beginning for the ad hoc Steering Committee (compossed of leaders from many churches, denominations, educational institutions, and service agencies), who were united in purpose: to discover and celebrate God's presence, share God's vision, and empower God's people in Los Angeles. The conference on urban lay and clergy ministries was held at Immanuel Presbyterian Church on April 26-27, 1991.

3.4 Facilitated the creation of the "Consortium for Urban Leadership Development (COULD)," a growing network of programs of formal and non-formal education with an urban ministries concentration in the GLAMA, as well as interested para-church organizations.

3.5 Created a database of religious groups (totaling +10,000) and ethnic diversity (using IDEA Church Directory Software), integrated with 1990 Census data and computer mapping capabilities (using Atlas GIS Software) for geodemographic research and analysis in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura, Riverside and San Bernardino (Los Angeles 5-County Region). The preliminary database version was available in the IDEA Church Directory Software (runtime version of Clarion) by December of 1992, along with dozens of full-color maps illustrating the information in the GLAMA database together with over 100 graphics (using Harvard Graphics).

3.6 Provided consulting services for ethnic ministry development among a variety of service organizations. Examples:

Bresee Institute for Urban Training (Church of the Nazarene)

California Association of Mission Pastors (CAMP)

Evangelical Free Church, Ethnic Church Planting Task Force

Inland Empire Urban Ministries Coalition

Redlands Bible Church

Long Beach Rescue Mission

U.S. Center for World Mission/Strategy Division

William Carey International University

World Vision USA Ministries, Field Services Projects

Youth With A Mission/Sunland Training Base

Korean Frontier Mission

Hispanic Association for Bilingual-Bicultural Ministries

Hispanic Association for Theological Education

3.7 Developed preliminary definitions of the "harvest force" (Protestant Churches and service agencies) and the "harvest field" (see "A Report on the Status of Unreached Peoples in GLAMA," November 1992).

3.8 Produced preliminary versions of the following documents:

  A Resource Directory on Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): A Working Document (October 1991)
 

The Greater Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): A Demographical Overview by Regions, Sub-regions and Major and Minor Statistical Areas, Based on the 1990 Census of Population (October 1991)

  A Resource Directory on Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): General Overview (June 1992)
  A Resource Directory on Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): RG-VI, San Gabriel Valley (July 1992)
  A Resource Directory on Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): RG-II, San Fernando Valley (October 1992)
  A Resource Directory on Ethnic and Religious Diversity in the Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA): RG-VII, Orange County (October 1992)
  A Resource Manual for Community Analysis and Strategic Planning (November 1992)

3.9 In mid-December of 1992, the IDEA/COULD Resource Center has relocated from our offices on the campus of the William Carey International University in Pasadena to the facilities of the Bresee Institute for Urban Training near downtown Los Angeles (located at First Church of the Nazarene of Los Angeles).

3.10 The major problem in the development of this project has been the lack of adequate funding, and a secondary limitation has been a lack of trained personnel (paid staff or volunteers). Consequently, none of the planned publications had been completed by the end of 1992, although the database version of the study was available for distribution in the IDEA Church Directory Software (ICDS, Version 3.5E). Also, dozens of full-color maps had been created, showing the geographic distribution of the churches as well as the ethnic diversity of the population.

4. ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND OBSTACLES DURING 1993-1994

4.1 During the first six months of 1993, our role was to provide technical support to the COULD Urban Resource Center by working with Mr. Ben Capps (on loan from YWAM to the Bresee Institute) and Mr. Jolly Beyoku (manager of the Resource Center). Ben and Jolly mainly produced maps and reports for the Bresee Institute and for local churches (community analysis surveys), and Ben provided training to several volunteers using the Atlas GIS software (techniques of map making).

4.2 Moreover, Ben and Jolly were able to solve a number of technical problems that had to do with maintenance of the database, such as address matching, software interface, and purging the database of duplicate listings or out-of-date information.

4.3 However, one of our major disappointments was our inability to produce the camera-ready copy of the seven regional church directories, along with the global overview of GLAMA, before Ben Capps moved to England in July of 1993. This was largely due to a lack of time, money and staff.

4.4 By July of 1993 the GLAMA database and associated software was operating satisfactory to the point that we could say that most of our technical problems had been solved, and that the "system" was ready to be shared with other COULD member organizations. Before leaving Los Angeles, Ben was able to help the Korean Frontier Mission (KFM) to set up a similar computer work station and trained one of their staff members in its operation. At that time, these were the only two organizations in Los Angeles that had this capability.

4.5 In was not until October of 1993 that IDEA Ministries (Pasadena Office) acquired the financial resources to upgrade to an IBM 386 computer system and become operational once again with a work station that has the same capabilities as Bresee and KFM. In late November, we finished the User's Manual for the IDEA CHURCH DIRECTORY SOFTWARE (ICDS); and we are now offering advanced training in the use of this software, along with the Atlas GIS system.

4.6 Since September of 1993, we have worked with a growing number of organizations to update the GLAMA database by focusing on specific ethnic groups and the churches serving each ethnic community. The Korean Frontier Mission has done an excellent job of updating the information on the Korean Protestant churches, and the Hispanic Association for Bilingual-Bicultural Ministries (HABBM) has done the same for Hispanic Protestant churches. We have also worked with Mr. John Dart of the Los Angeles Times to update our listings of all religious groups in the San Fernando Valley. Mr. Dart wrote an article on religion in the SF Valley that appeared in the Valley Edition of his newspaper on December 29, 1993.

4.7 Beginning in February 1994, we began to train volunteers in the use of the ICDS and Atlas GIS programs, using the GLAMA database. Regional research/resource centers are planned for in each of the seven regions of GLAMA in association with educational institutions, local churches or para-church agencies.

4.8 As funds and personnel are available during 1994, we will continue to provide these services in the Los Angeles Area, in the hope that new churches will be planted among the least evangelized and under-churched ethnic groups, and that existing churches will begin to reach out to their neighbors across cultural barriers in ways that will more fully demonstrate the love of Christ and build stronger multi-ethnic "communities" of God's people in GLAMA.

4.9 See the documents listed below for an update on our efforts since March 1994.

4.9.1 IDEA News Release (December 2, 1995): "IDEA Strategic Mapping & Information Centers Established in Metro Los Angeles, Mexico City & San Jose, Costa Rica."

4.9.2 THE IDEA-GLAMA RESEARCH & INFORMATION NETWORK (GLAMA-NET)

4.9.3 "The Changing Face of the Christian Church and Its Ministry in the Greater Los Angeles Metro Area (GLAMA)"

4.9.4 IDEA MINISTRIES - INFORMATION SERVICES ORDER FORM

4.9.5 AN IDEA WORTH SHARING: AN OVERVIEW OF IDEA MINISTRIES

5.0 During 1995-1996, the IDEA-GLAMA Urban Resource Center functioned at the offices of Postal Micro (Robert Madsen, President) in Garden Grove, CA, and since the end of 1996 at the offices of Paraclete Mission Group (Dr. Phillip Elkins, Director) in Altadena, CA. In 1995, we acquired an HP Plotter to inhance our ability to produce large computer-generated maps using Atlas GIS software and the GLAMA database on ethnic and religious diversity. Also, during 1995-1997, we finished producing the final reports for each of the seven sub-regions of GLAMA, as well of hundreds of custom-made full-color maps on all of GLAMA or some its component parts (cities, neighborhoods, zipcodes, regions or other specific geographical areas).

6.0 In September of 1997, IDEA Ministries moved its main office to Santa Cruz, CA, and Holland donated his remaining resource materials (files, books, maps, etc.) on GLAMA to several organizations in the Los Angeles area: Paraclete Mission Groups in Altadena, the Hispanic Studies Program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, the Hispanic Association for Theological Education (AHET) in Montebello and the Hispanic Association for Bilingual-Bicultural Ministry (HABBM) in Santa Ana. Well, not all of them -- some were shipped to his field office in San Josť, Costa Rica, where he continues to serve as Director of PROLADES (Latin American Socio-Religious Studies Program) and President of IDEA Ministries. Now, with the growth and development of the Internet, support services for the GLAMA Research Network are provided via the IDEA website and e-mail.