I had the wonderful pleasure, along with the rest of my fellow students, to have Tuck Bartholomew a pastor and church planter of City Church in Philadelphia to come and speak to us about what Urban missions is like when it meets the Ivy League. Here is just one small piece of what their vision is like, “We love the city; we love the university and are eager to help plant a church community that embodies the gospel among our neighbors that awakens their curiosity and our own to the hope that God has brought in the world in Jesus.” The three areas of being the church they focus upon are worship, relationships, and mission.

What struck me about Tuck was the depth of experience he’s had. Tuck’s pastored in many places not to mention most recently Redeemer Church NYC along side Tim Keller. There was a comfort about the man as he moved through his lecture, an ease at answering and listening to young, hungry pastors in training. One question I asked him in the interval was, “Was it hard to minister to such a global community at University City and create real community?” His answer was that the biggest divide that separates people there isn’t ethnic but educational, between the UPENN students and the locals who could never afford to attend the school or achieve the acumen required to attend. With this social difference was a monetary divide as well since even an average size home in that area started at $ 400,000. In fact University City is one of the most gentrified areas in Philadelphia in the last twenty years.

Tuck’s demenior exuded humility and maturity. If any of you are looking for a church and live in the Philadelphia area I encourage you to check the City Church community out. And for those of you far away dealing with a similar missional context, shoot an email to begin discussion. I think you’ll find Tuck very approachable and humble, and if and when he has time the conversation will be a helpful one.