Steve McCoy has been posting a lot of interesting stuff on the suburbs, urban living, etc. But I found this posting interesting, regarding the flight from the cities and even the suburbs, to farther out places in search of affordable housing. Makes me wonder what impact this is going to have on the church? Then the other day I read this article, The Long and Grinding Road: The rat race is turning into a marathon. Inside the lives of ‘extreme commuters’.
As more and more people commute farther and farther to work so they can live in places that are affordable, I think it is going to have a devastating impact on certain aspects of the church community. This is already an issue in Los Angeles, and it is an issue in our church community because our church is sort of off the beaten path…not in a suburb, but up on a hill off the 405. Traffic city!
How does it affect us in the church:
1. For example, it affects me as the college director. My wife and I live in Pasadena, CA. I commute from Pasadena to Los Angeles (near Encino). That’s only a little over 20 miles, but that is 20 plus miles in LA traffic…210 to the 134 to the 101 to the 405 south. Hour to an hour and a half in traffic. Plus as the college director I spend a majority of my time out of the office with students in Westwood, near USC, near LMU, etc. So on top of commuting to and from work, I probably spend at least another 2-3 hours driving around to meet students, volunteers, etc. That’s not everyday. But that’s on a pretty long and busy day.
2. For example, it affects people who volunteer. I have students who go to school full-time, who work part-time to make money, need to study, etc, etc, and they volunteer in the college ministry. But sometimes it is hard to get up to church. A student can live in Westwood (UCLA), which is only like 5 miles from the church, but during rush hour that commute can sometimes be about 45 minutes.
3. For example, Saturday night events at our church are greatly impacted because we are off the 405. And no one wants to be on the 405 on Saturday, especially going south.
Cost of Living. Affordable Housing. Traffic. Commuting. Etc. These are all interesting factors that are impacting church communities and will continue to do so. Especially since we as Christians often seek churches outside of our communities we live in and head into other communities that have churches that we want to be a part of. And in Los Angeles, it is very difficult to live anywhere in this city. So often, church staff often have to commute into work since they cannot afford to live in the neighborhoods that their churches are in.
Just my ramblings, but I’m wondering what long-term impact this is going to have. And if gas prices keep rising…well, who knows what is going to happen.