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Urban Evangelism Plan for Reaching Armenian Adults (25-44)

Urban Evangelism Plan for Reaching Armenian Adults (25-44)


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Fuller Theological Seminary

Adult Ministry Evangelism Plan

A Paper Presented in Partial Fulfillment Of the Requirements for the Course EV514 Urban Evangelism Dr. Ralph Watkins

By Jack Hakimian Fall 2006

Table Contents

Introduction Urban Context: Research of the City Population Target Age Economics Housing Education Historical & Spiritual Background Survey Questions Outreach Plan: Based on Context & Theology Works: Tangible Love Contextual & Socratic Kingdom Initiation Conclusion Bibliography

2 2 2 3 4 5 5 6 8 8 8 9 9 10 11


Introduction I am currently the college and career youth pastor (18-24) at Christian Outreach for Armenians Church, in the city of Burbank. After taking this Urban Evangelism class I have come to realize how our church is not effectively engaging the needs of the city and reaching young adults ages 25 to 44. Due to the challenge of this “Evangelism Plan” project I felt compelled to focus my research and outreach towards the unchurched English speaking Armenian populace who make up this age range. In this plan, I will combine demographic research, historical facts, spiritual mapping, survey results, and evangelism principles learned in my course of study to formulate a practical and workable plan for the church.

Urban Context: Research of the City Population During the 2000 census, the city population was 194,973. According to the State of California the estimates are now 206,308.1 Since 1980 there has been an increase of over 55,000 people.2 This makes Glendale the third largest city in Los Angeles County and the seventeenth largest city in the state of California.3 Out of a population of about 206,308 people 26% of them are Armenian. That equals about 53, 640 persons. According to the LA Times:
“Glendale is home to 85,000 Armenian Americans. The surge in immigration began 4 in the 1970s and has fundamentally altered the city”.

1 2

http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census.asp http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census.asp 3 http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census.asp 4 http://www.latimes.com/wireless/avantgo/la-me-kebab4nov04,0,7403426.story


The rest of the ethnicities are as follows: Mexican (11%), Korean (7%), Filipino (6%), German (6%), Irish (5 %), English (5%), Iranian, Italian (3%) and so on. 5 Concerning the density, the city website writes:
“The population density in the city has also increased over time as available land has been developed. The overall density for the city is 6,373 people per square mile, but this varies widely--hillside areas have densities as low as 1,133 people per square mile while some Census tracts near downtown exceed 30,000 people per square mile.”6

The city is experiencing amazing growth, most likely due to its closeness to Downtown Los Angeles and the job opportunities the city provides. Additionally, most Armenians don’t want to experience what Cashin calls “integration exhaustion”, so they keep moving into Glendale where they sense a greater feeling of community.7 The church can capitalize on this density by providing ministries that are close to the downtown area and provide an entertaining, refreshing experience. Also, the church can capitalize on the homogenous nature of the Armenian through contextualization. Target Age The target age range of this young adults evangelism plan is ages 25 to 44. Out of the population of 206,308 people 32.2% of them are in the age range of 25 to 44. That means 62,866 of the population make up this target range. In fact the average age of the city is 38.17. That means if we really want to make a difference for Christ we need to target this age range that pretty much dominates

5 6

http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genealogyInfo.php?locIndex=10208 http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census.asp 7 Sheryll Cashin. The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream. New York, NY: Public Affairs, 2004, pg 9.


the city.8 If a church wants to grow it must attract this age group of adults to Christ and His church. Economics In Glendale 96,399 (61.2%) of the population who are 16 and over are in the labor force. These workers spend about 25 minutes on average traveling back and forth to work. 9 People ages 25 to 34 make around 41,642. In comparison to the state average which is 44,424 and the national average which is 41,414 their income is lacking because the cost of living in most states is much less expensive. People ages 35-44 make around 47,322. In comparison to the state average which is 54,365 and the national average which is 50,654, there income is greatly lacking. City states, “The median household income for Glendale lags behind that of other local cities and even the County”.10 Churches have to consider how they establish programs that relieve people from paying high prices for service. Also churches have to work with the city and private business sector to change the financial climate for the good. By doing this the church will become “good news” to this age group.11

http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/popInfo.php?locIndex=10208 http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_s treet=&_county=Glendale&_cityTown=Glendale&_state=04000US06&_zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on &pctxt=fph&pgsl=010 10 http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census3.asp 11 Galatians 2:10; Acts 9:36; Acts 10:31; Luke 18:22



Housing The total housing units in Glendale are 73,713. Renter-occupied housing units are 44,263, which makes up 60.0% of the cities housing. That California average of renter-occupied housing in a city is 40.6%. The nation is 30.8%. That means Glendale in comparison to other cities has an extremely high number of renters. My question is who makes up most of the renters in comparison to homeowners? Also, the average household size has increased in the city of Glendale. The cities explanation is,
“Some of the causes for the increase in household size may include an increase in the prevalence of extended families due to recent immigration, an increase in births, and the high cost of housing. A high cost of housing may cause young adults to continue to live with parents, or unrelated persons can share a housing unit to cut living expenses such as rent or utilities” 12

This tells me that an adult could be discouraged of marriage and child bearing due to the great financial strain. Also, there is a need for both parents to work which creates a problem for children and teenagers. The church has to find ways to help relieve their burden with possible low cost child-care, pre-schools and after church programs. Also, the church can help educate couples and singles on how to manage money in such an expensive community. Education In Glendale 25,871 of the residents are high school graduates, which make up 19.2% of the population. 37,506 have some college, or associate's degree, which makes up 27.8% of the residents. 28,149 of the resident have a Bachelor's



degree, which makes up 20.8% of the population. Those with Master's, professional or doctorate degree are 15,139, which is 11.2% of the population. These statistics show that almost half of the population does not even have a completed Bachelor’s degree which is essential in our day and time and could be problematic for the cities future.

Historical & Spiritual Background In examining the historical data of the city my goal was to find spiritual patterns that will be helpful for spiritual prayer warfare. Barna writes,
“A church that strives to evangelize its community without saturating its efforts in prayer is like a race-car driver that jumps into his car at the stating line and discovers that the tank has not been filled with gasoline”.13

Specifically we were looking for patterns of human behavior, the presence of aberrant Christian groups or cults, and major historical news that would give us insight into the activities of Satan and his forces (Ephesians 6:12). Historical sources reveal that the city of Glendale was conceived in racism and greed. White racist farmers tried to take away the land through intimidation from the Mexican landowners of Glendale, Burbank and Eagle Rock. In the book Glendale Community Book it reads:
“During the pastoral days of California, the land held by Don Jose Verdugo enjoyed peace but by 1846, the influx of white settlers had become an armed invasion. The Mexican rulers unified against the invaders, termed Yankees,


George Barna. Evangelism That Works. Ventura, Ca: Regal Books, 1995, pg 162.


but without trained armies, they fought a losing battle. In 1847 Gov. Pio Pico capitulated and the Days of the Dons were on the wane.” 14

After the covetous attempts of seizure failed a greedy Jewish banker stripped the Verdugo family of their land by issuing them in a moment of desperation a high percentage loan. 15 A Glendale Historian explains the details:
“The breakup of the great Rancho Rafeal was attributed to an event which the owners at the time probably looked on as a minor financial transaction. As had been emphasized, there was little “cash money” available in those times. Money was wanted, some report say for the Portosueo house. Anyway, Julio ad his wife borrowed $3,445.34, such an odd amount hinting at the sum including the cost which the pair had to pay in conducting the transaction. They got the loan from Jacob Elias and were allowed two years to pay. Interest was at 3 percent a month, compounded. Interest of 36 percent a year compounded was a stiff charge for the money secured but it is doubtful if Julio could have done any better elsewhere. The loan was abstained in 1861. When the note came due and Julio couldn’t pay, a foreclosure action was instituted. In 1864, the trial court awarded Elias $10,795. The judgment also granted Julio a homestead, carved for the rancho. Elias protested that he should get all and appealed the case. On retrial the court’s decision, rendered in 1865, gave Elias $15,955.02, plus interest at 3 percent a month. Julio was willing to accept the first judgment, partly because he was demanding a homestead and the treatment failed it on him. The final decision came in 1869-four years later, by which the accumulated interest, fees and other charges raised the judgment to a grand total of $58,750 in repayment of a $3,440 loan.”16

On a more religious level, the Masons had a strong influence in the growth of the city.17 It seems they grew in influencing the cities direction more then the white protestant churches. So it is clear that the enemy from the beginning of the cities foundation has been working through the areas of greed, racism, classism and

14 15

C. W. Parcher, Glendale Community Book (Glendale: California: John W. Akers, 1957) pg 1. . Caswell Perry E Parcher & Carroll W.. Glendale Area History (Glendale: California: Eric Schneirsohn Xanadu Galleries Publishing,1981) pg 27. 16 Caswell Perry E Parcher & Carroll W, pg 27. 17 Caswell Perry E Parcher & Carroll W,pg 103.


Masonic influence which tend to neutralize the propagation of the gospel amongst business men who shape the city.18

Survey Questions Second aspect of the evangelism plan will also include a survey of a 100 unchurched people ages 25 to 44. The survey will include open ended questions about religious background, opinions about church, cultural affiliation, styles of music, dress, entertainment, education, vocation, recreation, and subjects most concerned about. I did a scouting project of 15 to 20 Armenians ages 25-40 hanging out at a Hookah lounge during the week that was helpful in understanding their entertainment taste. For my scouting notes please read the attached report. Outreach Plan: Based on Context & Theology As I develop the outreach plans I want to take into consideration the urban context of the city and clear theological principles we have learned through class discussions and personal reading. Tangible Love Firstly, based on the social context of Glendale it is important for our church to get involved with the cities social issues.19 Many in our target range are making income below average, so raising children and affordable housing is a problem.20

18 19

John 8:44 Sheryll Cashin, pg 316. 20 http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census2.asp


Jill Susanne Shook in her book Making Housing Happen: Faith-based Affordable Housing Models argues,
“The world is crying out for a church that tangibly demonstrates a love that breaks across all racial and economic barriers. Affordable housing puts a tangible and visible structure on love”.21 In this book she also provides examples of how faith based organizations have gotten involved in their community to show God’s tangible love.22

Contextual & Socratic Secondly, we need a highly contextual approach in our communication, art, worship setting and subject matters.23 Concerning the method of communication we should employ the Socratic method with this target group. The research I noted earlier showed that half of the residents have a bachelors degree and higher. 24 That means that educated people tend to have issues and questions that sometimes the church’s does not address, because it still uses the lecture style for analytical modernist thinkers. George Barna research are insightful,
“Busters love to dissect reality, to argue about it, to reflect on the argument they have heard and to draw conclusion for further debate. Busters, in general, love to talk”25

Kingdom Initiation Thirdly we need to initiate these young adults into the kingdom and not just our churches. We can do this by teaching the people: conversion, baptism, morality,

Shook, Jill Suzanne. Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006, pg 4. 22 James 2:14-17 23 George G. Hunter. Church for the Unchurched. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996, pg 32. 24 http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/educLevel.php?locIndex=10208 25 George Barna, pg 115.



the creed, the gifts of the Spirit and the spiritual practices for personal growth. When we emphasize “initiation into the kingdom” which is more of a lifestyle then a one time act, we will see the results leading to a greater quality of committed disciples.26 Just merely proclaiming the gospel is not enough, we must invite people into a radical new lifestyle of a community worship were they can grow and see people like them worshipping God. As Abraham writes concerning the Apostles work, “….they were involved in laying the foundations of Christian faith and practice; they were not content to spread the word as assiduously as time and talent would permit. They were keen to see that those who responded became part of a community; and it is difficult to see how this would be possible without a fair amount of instruction and teaching”27 Conclusion

I think as we integrate the research about the city, with our field surveys, and theological principles of evangelism we will see an adult ministry emerge with great spiritual and social impact upon the city. Jesus was aware of his mission field and the oppressive sociological and spiritual factors (Luke 4:18; Matthew 9:35-38; Luke 18:2-3). He engaged the people contextually and used language words that resonated with them (Mark 6:2). As we apply His strategy and obey His voice we will see great results in the task of “Urban Evangelism”! "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do" (Acts 9:5-6)

Abraham, William J. The Logic of Evangelism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989, pg 108. 27 Abraham, William J, pg 51,52.


BIBLIOGRAPHY Books Abraham, William J. The Logic of Evangelism. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989. Barna, George. Evangelism That Works. Ventura, Ca: Regal Books, 1995. Cashin, Sheryll. The Failures of Integration: How Race and Class Are Undermining the American Dream. New York, NY: PublicAffairs, 2004. Hunter, George G. Church for the Unchurched. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 1996. Parcher, E. Caswell Perry & Carroll W. Glendale Area History. Second Edition ed. Glendale: California: Eric Schneirsohn Xanadu Galleries, 1981. Sherer, John Calvin. History of Glendale and Vicinity. Glendale: California: The Glendale History Publishing Company, 1922. Shook, Jill Suzanne. Making Housing Happen: Faith-Based Affordable Housing Models St. Louis, Missouri: Chalice Press, 2006.

Websites http://www.ci.glendale.ca.us/planning/census2.asp. http://www.epodunk.com/cgi-bin/genealogyInfo.php?locIndex=10208. http://www.epodunk.com/cgibin/popInfo.php?locIndex=10208http://factfinder.cen sus.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext= &_street=&_county=Glendale&_cityTown=Glendale&_state=04000US06& _zip=&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010. http://www.latimes.com/wireless/avantgo/la-me-kebab4nov04, 0, 7403426.story.


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