Megaregions are a primary source of missional strategy for the church in north America, including the Church of the Nazarene.
Since 2007 half of the world's population now resides in cities. It is crucial for the church's mission to engage people wherever they are. They will be increasingly found in megaregions.
A megaregion is a geographic area of contiguous human population interconnected by a network for communication, commerce, and transportation.
Below are several slides from my presentation on megaregions that I have given to several groups of leaders around the country and in the classroom since March 2014. I have given this presentation several times at Shepherd Community in Indianapolis since May 2014. The staff at Shepherd Community has also shared these slides with other denominational groups in recent weeks.
The statistical information comes from America 2050 and other research I have conducted on global urbanization, urban planning, New Urbanism, and urban church planting, especially in the context of megaregions.
The first slide is an overview of the primary megaregions of north America.
The next slide identifies the Great Lakes megaregion, which is the primary concern of my current research. I hope to assist the church's missional strategy in north America for the next 30 years. The other ten megaregions are as important to the overall strategy, but I live and work in the Great Lakes megaregion. the Great Lakes are my home and my context.
The Great Lakes megaregion is also the largest of the eleven in geographic area, generates 1/5 of the U.S. GDP, and is home to one of every five Americans. In the next 25 years, almost 16 million more people will call this place home.
The next slide shows the Great Lakes megaregion in more detail. The circles represent major urban areas. I tend to think of them as neighborhoods in a larger megalopolis, which is another term for a megaregion. Each neighborhood/city has a particular personality and identity within the region. Smaller towns are not left out since they could be considered similar to individual streets in the megalopolis.
The details on the map below include the major urban areas located here as well as the Nazarene districts within this megaregion. A brief overview of population data is also included.
If asked about where people reside and where things happen in the United States, one is tempted to point toward the coasts, especially New York City, Boston, and Washington, D.C. located on the eastern seaboard. The megaregions in the Great Lakes and the Northeast, however, are comparable in every area. Below is the data slide for the Northeast megaregion.
The purpose of the research
The purpose of the research is to seek a missional strategy for the Church of the Nazarene for the Great Lakes megaregion. Strategy needs a context. I have collected data not only from America 2050, but also the Nazarene Research Services and other relevant sources. This is a developing picture of the context.
Of course, I hope to be a part of the strategizing, along with many more already working diligently in these places. All others are invited to use these data on megaregions as they seek to proclaim and demonstrate the Good News where they live.
I will roll out the information mined from these data over the next few days and weeks, including:
If there are data that interest you, let me know and I will try to include it or track it down for later.