Who Moved My Neighborhood?: Leading Congregations Through Gentrification and Economic Change, By Mark E. Strong
Who Moved My Neighborhood?
  • Length: 176 pages
  • Dimensions: 5.5 × 8.5 in
  • Published: March 08, 2022
  • Imprint: IVP
  • Item Code: A0238
  • ISBN: 9781514002384

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Neighborhoods are moving. While neighborhood changes can mean exciting and fresh opportunities for some, the experience can be vastly different for long-time residents. The rapid movement of people means changes in employment, economics, landscape, demographics, and the feel of a community. Churches often experience the painful impact of these shifts. Depending on how a church navigates through these changes determines if it will either live, die, or be reduced to a tragic existence on life support.

Mark Strong knows the obstacles connected with gentrification and the challenges it brings. As a pastor, he led his church through its own moved neighborhood in Portland. Strong shares the frustrations, surprises, and joys that his church experienced as their neighborhood shifted, and he provides the roadmap that his own church used to navigate the change. Who Moved My Neighborhood? gives insight to churches that need to heal from the wounds of gentrification and economic change, and revamp their mission amidst an uncertain future. Using the discussion guide included in the book, churches can discuss their own moved neighborhood and explore the unique next steps that God has for their community. There is hope and a future for congregations that face a moved neighborhood.

"Dr. Mark Strong is an example of strength and leadership to me and my church community, even serving on our board of directors, and as is his bent, he's produced a book to help strengthen and lead pastors and churches through significant changes. Who Moved My Neighborhood? acknowledges the pain and sorrow that can come with a changing neighborhood, provides keys for processing through it, and offers incredible guidance and practical steps for trusting God for the future. Any faith-based community facing the impacts of gentrification or economic change will be inspired, encouraged, and energized by the wisdom and shared journey present in Who Moved My Neighborhood?"

Judah Smith, lead pastor of Churchome, Kirkland, Washington

"As someone who witnessed the slow gentrification process around Life Change Church, and as someone who heard the deep soul-searching conversations the pastors and leaders had, I urge every church leader to read this book. If this isn't happening to you, it's surely happening to a church nearby, and if this is happening to you, Pastor Strong's practical leadership principles and warm spiritual wisdom will guide your church to a future with healing and hope."

MaryKate Morse, author and executive dean, Portland Seminary

"My friend Mark Strong and his folks at Life Change Church have navigated the struggles of gentrification here in Portland, Oregon, and have done so with grace and prophetic vision. Who Moved My Neighborhood? offers practical and faithful insights for churches struggling with the inevitable challenges that develop as our communities change. Healing, hope, and great impact are possible!"

Kevin Palau, president of the Luis Palau Association

"US census data shows ethnic diversity increasing almost everywhere in the country. One key exception is urban areas of most large cities that have been historically African American, which are seeing a dramatic increase in their White population. This return to the city has brought escalating rental rates and property taxes, forcing longtime residents to find new homes outside the cities. These shifts take a great toll on the churches that have been the heart and soul of these communities. Dr. Mark Strong has pastored one of those churches in Portland, Oregon—the most gentrified city in America. He has learned ways to navigate the change in his neighborhood that have enabled Life Change Church to help change the lives of both the gentrifiers moving into the city and the longtime attenders who made their way to the suburbs. Strong has coached other churches with these principles, enabling them to stay on mission even when their neighborhood moved. If you are a pastor in a neighborhood whose residents are moving or want to gain life principles for navigating change, this book is for you."

Alan Ehler, dean of Southeastern University's Barnett College of Ministry and Theology, author of How to Make Big Decisions Wisely

"A timely and prophetic word on the ongoing injustices of race and place in America, from one of the most recognized leaders on the subject of gentrification."

Ken Wytsma, author of The Myth of Equality: Uncovering the Roots of Injustice and Privilege

"While America marathon watched Portlandia, I watched as Mark and other Black pastors in our city worked tirelessly to shepherd a community that was being displaced. In order to create the myth of Portlandia, thousands of people of color had to be moved out, left to grieve their loss of place and community. Sadly, gentrification is happening all across America, leaving countless pastors and churches asking, 'What do we do?' I am so thankful Mark wrote this book, because not only has he led his church well through this massive upheaval, he has done it through healing hearts, dreaming new dreams, and bringing renewed hope."

Rick McKinley, lead pastor of Imago Dei Community, Portland, Oregon

"Mark Strong is without a doubt one of the most respected, trusted leaders here in Portland. He's a deep well of wisdom and insight into the changing dynamics of urban ministry. This book will be an extraordinary help to many."

John Mark Comer, author of Live No Lies and The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry

"Jesus calls all who call him Lord to embrace a lifestyle of neighborly love. With humble transparency and helpful practical wisdom, Mark Strong makes a compelling case that loving our neighbor means loving our neighborhood, even when it goes through dramatic demographic and economic change. I believe every Christian leader ought to read this important book, not only for greater understanding in navigating the challenging terrain of a moved neighborhood but also for a fresh vision of God and his redemptive mission of love in the world. I highly recommend it."

Tom Nelson, author of The Flourishing Pastor and president of Made to Flourish

"Mark Strong helps us get our arms around a challenging issue that perplexes community leaders across the country. With insight born of experience and wisdom seasoned with grace, he provides navigational understanding and guidance that will be helpful to everyone touched by changing neighborhoods and by all who are committed to community flourishing."

Steve Moore, CEO of M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust

Read an Excerpt


Foreword by Harold Calvin Ray

Part One: Navigating the Healing Process
1. Who Moved My Neighborhood?
2. Discovering the Healing Process
3. Regular
4. Recognition
5. Realization
6. Reconstruction
7. Rage
8. Reconciliation

Part Two: Mapping Your Future
9. Revamp
10. The Vision Question
11. The Identity Question
12. The Purpose Question
13. The Relational Question
14. Navigational Surprises

Appendix: Relational Jump Starters
Navigation Guide: Discussion Questions
Scripture Index


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Mark E. Strong

Mark E. Strong (DMin, Portland Seminary) is senior pastor of Life Change Church, a diverse congregation located in the heart of inner-city Portland, Oregon. He serves on the Board of Regents at George Fox Seminary, and his books include Church for the Fatherless and Divine Merger. He is also the founder of Father-Shift, a ministry that address the needs of the fatherless epidemic affecting our world. He and his wife, Marla, have four children.