Understanding Boston's Quiet Revival

Resources for the urban pastor and community leader published by Emmanuel Gospel Center, Boston Emmanuel Research Review reprint Issue No. 94 — December 2013 - January 2014

Resources for the urban pastor and community leader published by Emmanuel Gospel Center, Boston

Emmanuel Research Review reprint
Issue No. 94 — December 2013 - January 2014

Introduced by Brian Corcoran

Managing Editor, Emmanuel Research Review

Boston’s Quiet Revival started nearly 50 years ago, bringing an unprecedented and sustained period of new church planting across the city. In 1993, when the Applied Research team at the Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC) began to analyze our latest church survey statistics and realized how extensive church planting had been during the previous 25 years, resulting in a 50% net increase in the number of churches, Doug Hall, president, coined the term, “Quiet Revival.” This movement, he later wrote, is “a highly interrelated social/spiritual system” that does not function “in a way that lends itself to a mechanistic form of analysis.” That is why, he theorized, we could not see it for years.* Perhaps because it was so hard to see, it also has been hard to understand all that is meant by the term.

One of the most obvious evidences of the Quiet Revival is that the number of churches within the city limits of Boston has nearly doubled since 1965. Starting with that one piece of evidence, Steve Daman, EGC’s senior writer, has been working on a descriptive definition of the Quiet Revival. It is our hope that launching out from this discussion and the questions Steve raises, more people can grow toward shared understanding and enter into meaningful dialog about this amazing work of God. We also hope that more can participate in fruitful ministries that are better aligned with what God has done and is continuing to do in Boston today. And thirdly, we want to inspire thoughtful scholars who will identify intriguing puzzles which will prompt additional study.

*Hall, Douglas A. and Judy Hall. “Two Secrets of the Quiet Revival.” New England’s Book of Acts. Emmanuel Gospel Center, 2007.  Accessed 01/24/14.

What is the Quiet Revival?

by Steve Daman, Senior Writer, Emmanuel Gospel Center

What is the Quiet Revival? Here is a working definition:

The Quiet Revival is an unprecedented and sustained period of Christian growth in the city of Boston beginning in 1965 and persisting for nearly five decades so far.

What questions come to mind when you read this description? To start, why did we choose the words: “unprecedented”, “sustained”, “Christian growth”, and “1965”?  Can we defend or define these terms? Or what about the terms “revival” and “quiet”? What do we mean? And what might happen to our definition if the revival, if it is a revival, “persists” for more than “five decades”? How will we know if it ends?

These are great questions. But before we try to answer a few of them, let’s add more flesh to the bones by describing some of the outcomes that those who recognize the Quiet Revival attribute to this movement. These outcomes help us to ponder both the scope and nature of the movement:

The number of churches in Boston has nearly doubled since 1965, though the city’s population is about the same now as then.

Today, Boston’s Christian church community is characterized by a growing unity, increased prayer, maturing church systems, and a strong and trained leadership.

The spiritual vitality of churches birthed during the Quiet Revival has spread, igniting additional church development and social ministries in the region and across the globe.

From these we can infer more questions, but the overarching one is this: “How do we know?” Surely we can verify the numbers and defend the first statement regarding the number of churches, but the following assertions are harder to verify. How do we know there is “a growing unity, increased prayer, maturing church systems, and a strong and trained leadership”? The implication is that these characteristics are valid evidences for a revival and that they have appeared or grown since the start of the Quiet Revival. Further, has “the spiritual vitality of churches birthed during the Quiet Revival… spread, igniting additional church development and social ministries in the region and across the globe”? What evidence is there? If these assertions are true, then indeed we have seen an amazing work of God in Boston, and we would do well to carefully consider how that reality shapes what we think about Boston, what we think about the Church in Boston, and how we go about our work in this particular field.

Numbers tell the story

The chief indicator of the Quiet Revival is the growth in the number of new churches planted in Boston since 1965. The Emmanuel Gospel Center (EGC) began counting churches in 1969 when we identified 300 Christian churches within Boston city limits. The Center conducted additional surveys in 1975, 1989, and 1993.1 When we completed our 1993 survey, our statistics showed that during the 24 years from 1969 to 1993, the total number of churches in the city had increased by 50%, even after it overcame a 23% loss of mainline Protestant churches and some decline among Roman Catholic churches.

That data point got our attention. At a time when people were asking us, “Why is the Church in Boston dying?” the numbers told a very different story.

Just four years before the discovery, when we published the first Boston Church Directory in 1989, we saw the numbers rising. EGC President Doug Hall recalls, “As we completed the 1989 directory and began to compile the figures, we were amazed to discover that something very significant was occurring. But it wasn’t until our next update in 1993 that we knew conclusively that the number of churches had grown—and not by just 30 percent as we had first thought, but by 50 percent! We had been part of a revival and did not know it.”2 It was then Doug Hall coined the term, the Quiet Revival.

Fifty-five new churches had been planted in the four years since the previous survey, bringing the 1993 total to 459. EGC’s Senior Researcher Rudy Mitchell wrote at the time, “Since 1968 at least 207 new churches have started in Boston. This is undoubtedly more new church starts than in any other 25-year period in Boston’s history.”3

In the 20 years since then, church planting has continued at a robust rate. EGC’s count for 2010 was 575, showing a net gain since the start of the Quiet Revival of 257 new churches. The Applied Research staff at the Center is now in the beginning stages of a new city-wide church survey. Already we have added more than 50 new churches to our list (planted between 2008 and 2014) while at the same time we see that a number of churches have closed, moved, or merged. It seems likely from these early indicators that the number of churches in Boston has continued to increase, and the total for 2014 will be larger than the 575 we counted in 2010, getting us even closer to that seductive “doubling” of the number since 1965, when there were 318 churches.4

Regardless of where we go with our definition, what terms we use, and what else we may discover about the churches in Boston, this one fact is enough to tell us that God has done something significant in this city. We have seen a church-planting movement that has crossed culture, language, race, neighborhood, denomination, economic levels, and educational qualifications, something that no organization, program, or human institution could ever accomplish in its own strength.

Defining terms

Let’s return to our working definition and consider its parts.

The Quiet Revival is an unprecedented and sustained period of Christian growth in the city of Boston beginning in 1965 and persisting for nearly five decades so far.

“Quiet”

The term “quiet” works well here because of its obvious opposite. We can envision “noisy” revivals, very emotional and exciting local events where participants may experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in powerful ways. If something like that is our mental model of revival, then to classify any revival as “quiet” immediately gets our attention and tempts us to think that maybe something different is going on here. How or why could a revival be quiet?

In this case, the term “quiet” points to the initially invisible nature of this revival. Doug Hall used the term “invisible Church” in 1993, writing that researchers tend “to document the highly visible information that is pertinent to Boston. We also want to go beyond the obvious developments to discover a Christianity that is hidden, and that is characteristically urban. By looking past the obvious, we have discovered the ‘invisible Church.’”5

An uncomfortable but important question to ask is, “From whom was it hidden?” If we are talking about a church movement starting in 1965, we can assume that the majority of people who may have had an interest in counting all the churches in the city—people like missiological researchers, denominational leaders, or seminary professors—were probably predominantly mainline or evangelical white people. This church-planting movement was hidden, EGC’s Executive Director Jeff Bass says, because “the growth was happening in non-mainline systems, non-English speaking systems, denominations you have never heard of, churches that meet in storefronts, churches that meet on Sunday afternoons.”6

Jeff points out that EGC had been working among immigrant churches since the 1960s, recognizing that God was at work in those communities. “We felt the vitality of the Church in the non-English speaking immigrant communities,” he says. Through close relationships with leaders from different communities, beginning in the 1980s, EGC was asked to help provide a platform for ministers-at-large who would serve broadly among the Brazilian, the Haitian, and the Latino churches. “These were growing communities, but even then,” Jeff says, “these communities weren’t seen by the whole Church as significant, so there was still this old way of looking at things.”7 Even though EGC became totally immersed in these diverse living systems, we were also blind to the full scale of what God was doing at the time.

Gregg Detwiler, director of Intercultural Ministries at EGC, calls this blindness “a learning disability,” and says that many Christian leaders missed seeing the Quiet Revival in Boston through sociological oversight. “By sociological oversight, I am pointing to the human tendency toward ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is a learning disability of evaluating reality from our own overly dominant ethnic or cultural perspective. We are all susceptible to this malady, which clouds our ability to see clearly. The reason many missed seeing the Quiet Revival in Boston was because they were not in relationship with where Kingdom growth was occurring in the city—namely, among the many and varied ethnic groups.”8

The pervasive mental model of what the Church in Boston looks like, at least from the perspective of white evangelicals, needs major revision. To open our arms wide to the people of God, to embrace the whole Body of Christ, whether we are white or people of color, we all must humble ourselves, continually repenting of our tendency toward prejudice, and we must learn to look for the places where God, through his Holy Spirit, is at work in our city today.

We not only suffer from sociological oversight, Gregg says, but we also suffer from theological oversight. “By theological oversight I mean not seeing the city and the city church in a positive biblical light,” he writes. “All too often the city is viewed only as a place of darkness and sin, rather than a strategic place where God does His redeeming work and exports it to the nations.” The majority culture, especially the suburban culture, found it hard to imagine God’s work was bursting at the seams in the inner city. Theological oversight may also suggest having a view of the Church that does not embrace the full counsel of God. If some Christians do not look like folks in my church, or they don’t worship in the same way, or they emphasize different portions of Scripture, are they still part of the Body of Christ? To effectively serve the Church in Boston, the Emmanuel Gospel Center purposes to be careful about the ways we subconsciously set boundaries around the idea of church. We are learning to define “church” to include all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ, who have a high view of Scripture, and who wholeheartedly agree to the historic creeds.

If we can learn to see the whole Church with open eyes, maybe we can also learn to hear the Quiet Revival with open ears, though many living things are “quiet.” A flower garden makes little noise. You cannot hear a pumpkin grow. So, too, the Church in Boston has grown mightily and quietly at the same time. “Whoever has ears to hear,” our Lord said, “let them hear” (Mark. 4:9 NIV).

“Revival”

What is revival? A definition would certainly be helpful, but one is difficult to come by. There are perhaps as many definitions as there are denominations. All of them carry some emotional charge or some room for interpretation. Yet the word “revival” does not appear in the Bible. As we ask the question: “Is the Quiet Revival really a revival?” we need to find a way to reach agreement. What are we looking for? What are the characteristics of a true revival?

Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, has written on the subject of revival and offers this simple definition: “Revival is an intensification of the ordinary operations of the work of the Holy Spirit.” Keller goes on to say it is “a time when the ordinary operations of the Holy Spirit—not signs and wonders, but the conviction of sin, conversion, assurance of salvation and a sense of the reality of Jesus Christ on the heart—are intensified, so that you see growth in the quality of the faith in the people in your church, and a great growth in numbers and conversions as well.”9 This idea of intensification of the ordinary is helpful. If church planting is ordinary, from an ecclesiological frame of reference, then robust church planting would be an intensification of the ordinary, and thus a work of God.

David Bebbington, professor of history at the University of Stirling in Scotland, states in Victorian Religious Revivals: Culture and Piety in Local and Global Contexts, that there are several types or “patterns” of revival. First, revival commonly means “an apparently spontaneous event in a congregation,” usually marked by repentance and conversions. Secondly, it means “a planned mission in a congregation or town.” This practice is called revivalism, he notes, “to distinguish it from the traditional style of unprompted awakenings.” Bebbington’s third pattern is “an episode, mainly spontaneous, affecting a larger area than a single congregation.” His fourth category he calls an awakening, which is “a development in a culture at large, usually being both wider and longer than other episodes of this kind.” In summary, “revivals have taken a variety of forms, spontaneous or planned, small-scale or vast.”10

These are helpful categories. Using Bebbington’s analysis, we would say the Quiet Revival definitely does not fit his first and second patterns, but rather fits into his third and fourth patterns. The Quiet Revival was mainly spontaneous. While we can assume there was planning involved in every individual church plant, the movement itself was too broad and diverse to be the result of any one person’s or one organization’s plan. The Quiet Revival seems to have emerged from the various immigrant communities across the city simultaneously, and has been, as Bebbington says, “both wider and longer than other episodes of this kind.” The Quiet Revival was and is vast, city-wide, regional, and not small-scale.

Since at least the 1970s, and maybe before that, many people have proclaimed that New England or Boston would be a center or catalyst for a world-wide revival, or possibly one final revival before Christ’s return. But even that prophecy, impossible to substantiate, is hard to define. What would that global revival actually look like? Scripture seems to affirm that the Church grows best under persecution. That is certainly true today. Missionary author and professor Nik Ripken11 has chronicled the stories of Christians living in countries where Christianity is outlawed and gives remarkable testimony to the ways the Church thrives under persecution. Yet it would seem that what people describe or hope for when they talk about revival in Boston has nothing to do with persecution or hardship.

Dr. Roberto Miranda, senior pastor of Congregación León de Judá in Boston, has revival on his mind. In addition to a recent blog on his church’s website reviewing a book about the Scottish and Welsh revivals, he spoke in 2007 on his vision for revival in New England.12 Despite the fact that few agree on what revival looks like and what we should expect, should God send even more revival to Boston, the subject is always close at hand.

Again, it is interesting that so many Christians would miss seeing the Quiet Revival when there were so many voices in the Church predicting a Boston revival during the same time frame. Many of them, no doubt, are still looking.

“unprecedented”

As mentioned earlier, EGC’s Senior Researcher Rudy Mitchell wrote in 1993, “Since 1968 at least 207 new churches have started in Boston. This is undoubtedly more new church starts than in any other 25-year period in Boston’s history.” What Rudy wrote in 1993 continues to be true today, as it appears the rate of church planting has not fallen off since then. Never before has Boston seen such a wave of new church development. God, indeed, has been good to Boston.

“sustained”

The EGC Applied Research team will be able to assess whether or not the Quiet Revival church planting movement is continuing once we complete our 2014 survey. It is remarkable that the Quiet Revival has continued for as long as it has. The next question to consider is “why?” What are the factors that have allowed this movement to continue for so long unabated? What gives it fuel? We may also want to know who are the church planters today, and are they in some way being energized by what has gone on during the previous five decades?

Rev. Ralph Kee, a veteran Boston church planter, and animator of the Greater Boston Church Planting Collaborative, wants to see new churches be “churches that plant churches that plant churches.” He says we need to put into the DNA of a new church this idea that multiplication is normal and expected. He has documented the genealogical tree of one Boston church planted in 1971 that has since given birth to hundreds of known daughter and granddaughter and great-granddaughter churches. Is the Quiet Revival sustained because Boston’s newest churches naturally multiply?

Another reason the Quiet Revival has continued for decades may be the introduction of a contextualized urban seminary into the city as the Quiet Revival was gaining momentum. EGC recently published an interview with Rev. Eldin Villafañe, Ph.D., the founding director of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME), the Boston campus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a professor of Christian social ethics at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. Dr. Villafañe confirmed CUME was shaped by the Quiet Revival. But as both are interconnected living systems, CUME also shaped the revival, giving it depth and breadth.

“One of the problems with revivals anywhere,” Dr. Villafañe points out, “is oftentimes you have good strong evangelism that begins to grows a church, but the growth does not come with trained leadership, educated biblically and theologically. You can have all kinds of problems. Besides heresy, you can have recidivism, people going back to their old ways. The beautiful thing about the Quiet Revival is that just as it begins to flourish, CUME is coming aboard.”13

CUME was in place as a contextualized urban seminary to “backfill theology into the revival,” as Jeff Bass describes it, training thousands of local, urban leaders since 1976, with 300 students now attending each year.

“Christian growth”

We use the words “Christian growth” rather than “church growth” for a reason. We want to move our attention beyond the numbers of churches to begin to comprehend how these new churches may have influenced the city. Surely it is not only the number of churches that has grown. The number of people attending churches has also grown. One of the goals of the EGC Applied Research team is to document the number of people attending Boston’s churches today.14

But as we look beyond the number of churches and the number of people in those churches, we also want to see how these people have impacted the city. “Christians collectively make a difference in society,”15 says Dana Robert, director of the Center for Global Christianity and Mission at Boston University. Exploring and documenting the ways that Christians in Boston have made an impact on the city, showing ways the city has changed during the Quiet Revival, would be an important and valuable contribution to the ongoing study of Christianity in Boston.

“city of Boston”

We mean something very specific when we say “the city of Boston.” As Rudy Mitchell pointed out in the April 2013 Issue of the Review, one needs to understand exactly what geographical boundaries a particular study has in mind. “Boston” may mean different things. “This could range from the named city’s official city limits, to its county, metropolitan statistical area, or even to a media area covering several surrounding states.” Regarding the Quiet Revival, we mean Boston’s official city limits which today include distinct neighborhoods such as Roxbury, Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, East Boston, etc., all part of the city itself.

Boston’s boundaries have not changed during the Quiet Revival, but when we have occasion to look further back into history and consider the churches active in Boston in previous generations, we need to adjust the figures according the where the city’s boundary lines fell at different points in history as communities were absorbed into Boston or as new land was claimed from the sea.

EGC’s data gathering and analysis is, for the most part, restricted to the city of Boston, as we have described it. However, the Center’s work through our various programs often extends beyond these boundaries through relational networks, and we see the same dynamics at work in other urban areas in Greater Boston and beyond. It would be interesting to compare the patterns of new church development among immigrant populations in these other cities with what we are learning in Boston. There is, for example, some very interesting work being done on New York City’s churches on a Web site called “A Journey Through NYC Religions” (http://www.nycreligion.info/).

“1965”

We chose 1965 as a start date for the Quiet Revival for two reasons. First, there seems to be a change in the rate of new church plants in Boston starting in 1965. Of the 575 churches active in Boston in 2010, 17 were founded throughout the 1950s, showing a rate of less than 2 per year. Seven more started between 1960 and 1963 while none were founded in 1964, still progressing at a rate of less than 2 per year. Then, over the next five years, from 1965 to 1969, 20 of today’s churches were planted (averaging 4 per year); about 40 more were launched in the 1970s (still 4 per year), 60 in the 1980s (averaging 6 per year), 70 in the 1990s (averaging 7 per year), and 60 in the 2000s (6 per year). Again, we are counting only the churches that remain until today. A large number of others were started and either closed or merged with other churches, so the actual number of new churches planted each year was higher.

Another reason for choosing 1965 as the start date was that the Immigration Act of 1965 opened the door to thousands of new immigrants moving into Boston. Our research shows that the majority of Boston’s new churches were started by Boston’s newest residents, and that that trend continued for years. For example, of the 100 churches planted between 2000 and 2005, about 15% were Hispanic, 10% were Haitian, and 6% were Brazilian. At least 5% were Asian and another 7% were African. Not more than 14 of the 100 churches planted during those years were primarily Anglo or Anglo/multiethnic. The remaining 40 to 45% of new churches were African American, Caribbean or of some other ethnic identity.

Throughout the first few decades of the Quiet Revival, most, but not all new church development occurred within the new immigrant communities. At the same time many immigrant communities experienced significant growth in Boston, the African American population was also growing, showing an increase of 40% between 1970 and 1990. Between 1965 and 1993, although 39 African American churches closed their doors, well over 100 new ones started, for a net increase of about 75 churches. Among today’s total of 140 congregations with an African American identity, 57 were planted during those early years of the Quiet Revival between 1965 and 1993. Many of these churches have grown under skilled leadership to be counted among the most influential congregations in Boston, and new Black churches continue to emerge.

The year 1965 was a year of much change. While we point to these two specific reasons for picking this start date for the Quiet Revival (the change in the rate of church planting in Boston and the Immigration Act of 1965), there were other movements at play. A charismatic renewal began to sweep across the country at that time starting in the Catholic and Episcopal communities on the West Coast. Close on its heels was the Jesus Movement. Vatican II, which was a multi-year conference, coincidentally closed in 1965, bringing sweeping changes to the Roman Catholic community. Socially, the civil rights movement was front and center during those years.

It seems obvious from the evidence of who was planting churches that one of the main influencing factors was the Pentecostal movement among the immigrant communities. It may also be helpful to explore some of the other cultural movements occurring simultaneously to see if other influences helped to fan the flames. We may discover that in addition to immigration factors, various other streams—whether cultural, Diaspora, theological, or social—were used by God to facilitate the growth of this movement.

Boston’s population

Some may wrongly assume that the growing number of new churches in Boston must relate to a growing population. This is certainly not true of Boston. The population of the city of Boston was 616,326 in 1965 and forty-five years later, in 2010, was very nearly the same at 617,594. During those years, however, the population actually declined by more than 50,000 to 562,994 in 1980. This shows that this remarkable increase in the number of churches is not the result of a much larger population.

While the population total was about the same in 2010 as it was in 1965, the makeup of that population has changed dramatically through immigration and migration, and this is a very significant factor in understanding the Quiet Revival.

One issue that still needs to be addressed is Boston’s church attendance in proportion to the population. Based on our current research and over 40 years’ experience studying Boston’s church systems, we estimate that this number has increased from about 3% to as much as perhaps 15% during this period. EGC is preparing to conduct additional comprehensive research to accurately assess the percentage of Bostonians who attend churches.

The other indicators

How do we know there is “a growing unity, increased prayer, maturing church systems, and a strong and trained leadership”? What evidence is there that “the spiritual vitality of churches birthed during the Quiet Revival has spread, igniting additional church development and social ministries in the region and across the globe”?

The work required to clearly document and defend these statements is daunting. These issues are important to the Applied Research staff, and we welcome assistance from interested scholars and researchers to help us further develop these analyses. In a future edition of this journal, we may be able to start to bring together some evidences to support these assertions, but we do not have the time or space to do more than to give a few examples here.

We have compiled information relevant to each of these specific areas. For example, we have evidence of more expressions of unity among churches and church leaders, such as the Fellowship of Haitian Evangelical Pastors of New England. We continue to discover more collaborative networks, and more prayer movements, such as the annual Greater Boston Prayer Summit for pastors, which began in 2000. We can point to churches and church systems that have grown to maturity and are bearing much fruit in both the proclamation of the Gospel and in social ministries, such as the Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston. We are aware of several excellent organizations and schools where leaders may be trained and grow in their skills, in knowledge, and in collaborative ministry.16

For the staff of EGC, this is all far more than an academic exercise. We work in this city and many of us make it our home as well. It is a vibrant and exciting place to be, precisely because the Quiet Revival has changed this city on so many levels. Doug and Judy Hall, EGC’s president and assistant to the president, have been serving in Boston at EGC since 1964, and they have observed these changes. A number of others on our staff have also been working among these churches for decades, including Senior Researcher Rudy Mitchell, who started studying churches and neighborhoods in 1976. Doug Hall says that in the 1960s, it was hard to recommend many good churches, ones for which you would have some confidence to suggest to a new believer or new arrival. Not so today. Today in Boston there are many, many healthy and vibrant churches to choose from all across the city. Our understanding of the Quiet Revival is not only a matter of statistics, it is our actual experience as our work puts us in a position to constantly interact with church leaders representing many different communities in the city.

It appears from this vantage point that the rate of church planting in Boston continues to be robust as we approach the 50-year mark for the Quiet Revival. We are looking forward with excitement to see what the new numbers are when the 2014 church survey is complete. It also appears from the many evidences gained through our relational networks across Boston that these additional indicators of the Quiet Revival also continue to grow stronger.

Notes

(If the resources below are not linked, it is because in 2016 we migrated from EGCs old website to a new site, and not all documents and pages have been posted. As we are able, we will repost articles from the Emmanuel Research Review and link those that are mentioned below. If you have questions, please click the Take Action button below and Contact Rudy Mitchell, Senior Researcher.)

1We have written in previous issues about these surveys. See the following editions of the Emmanuel Research Review: No. 18, June 2006, Surveying Churches; No. 19, July/August 2006, Surveying Churches II: The Changing Church System in Boston; No. 21, October 2006, Surveying Churches III: Facts that Tell a Story.

2Daman, Steve. “1969-2005: Four Decades of Church Surveys.” Inside EGC 12, no. 5 (September-October, 2005): p. 4.

3Mitchell, Rudy. “A Portrait of Boston’s Churches.” in Hall, Douglas, Rudy Mitchell, and Jeffrey Bass. Christianity in Boston: A Series of Monographs & Case Studies on the Vitality of the Church in Boston. Boston, MA, U.S.A: Emmanuel Gospel Center, 1993. p. B-14.

4We estimate the number of churches in 1965 was 318, based on information derived from Polk’s Boston City Directory (https://archive.org/details/bostondirectoryi11965bost) for that year and adjusted to include only Christian churches. In 1965, many small, newer African American churches were thriving in low-cost storefronts and many of the smaller neighborhood mainline churches had not yet closed or moved out of the city (but many soon would). While there were not yet many new immigrant churches, the city's African American population was growing very significantly and also expanding into new neighborhoods where new congregations were needed.

5Hall, Douglas A., from the Foreword to the section entitled “A Portrait of Boston’s Churches” by Rudy Mitchell, in Hall, Douglas, Rudy Mitchell, and Jeffrey Bass. Christianity in Boston: A Series of Monographs & Case Studies on the Vitality of the Church in Boston. Boston, MA, U.S.A: Emmanuel Gospel Center, 1993. p. B-1.

6Daman, Steve. “EGC’s Research Uncovers the Quiet Revival.” Inside EGC 20, no. 4 (November-December 2013): p. 2.

7Ibid.

8Emmanuel Research Review, No. 60, November 2010, There’s Gold in the City.

9Keller, Tim. “Questions for Sleepy and Nominal Christians.” Worldview Church Digest, March 13, 2013. Web. Accessed January 27, 2014.

10Bebbington, D W. Victorian Religious Revivals: Culture and Piety in Local and Global Contexts. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012. p.3.

11Ripken, Nik. personal website. n.d. http://www.nikripken.com/

12Miranda, Roberto. “A vision for revival in New England.” April 7, 2006. Web.

13Daman, Steve. “The City Gives Birth to a Seminary.” Africanus Journal Vol. 8, No. 1, April 2016, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Center for Urban Ministerial Education. p. 33.

14We wrote about the difficulties national organizations have in coming up with that figure in a previous edition of the Review: No. 88, April 2013, “Perspectives on Boston Church Statistics: Is Greater Boston Really Only 2% Evangelical?”

15Dilley, Andrea Palpant. “The World the Missionaries Made.” Christianity Today 58, no. 1 (January/February 2014): p. 34. Web. Accessed: January 30, 2014. Dilley quotes Robert at the end of her article on the impact some 19th century missionaries had shaping culture in positive ways.

16A number of educational opportunities for church leaders are listed in the Review, No. 70, Sept 2011, “Urban Ministry Training Programs & Centers.”

TAKE ACTION

We have mentioned throughout this article that we would welcome scholars, researchers, and interns who could help contribute to our understanding of this movement in Boston. 

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