Philadelphia is the founding and sixth largest city in the U.S. While Philadelphia is rich in culture, history, diversity, and beauty, many people in the city feel hopeless, abandoned, and disenfranchised.
One and a half million people live inside with city limits. The city is experiencing population growth for the first time in 60 years. However, church attendance is on the decline with over 85% of the city being unchurched. Within the city, a general dissatisfaction with the church has left an open door for Islam, which is spreading rapidly among the African American population.
Watson Jones, III, is preparing to plant a church in city of Philadelphia. Watson was born and raised on Chicago’s south side. After struggling with gang life, drugs and a sense of hopelessness, at the age of 14 Watson submitted his life to Christ. Soon after, he began sharing the Gospel with his friends and schoolmates. He developed a desire to reach out to people far from Christ.
While attending college, Watson began to discern a passion to reach the people of Philadelphia by planting a church there. Watson married Kelli soon after, and then served on staff at his home church in Chicago for several years. The couple relocated to Philadelphia in 2012 to learn more about the culture of the city in preparation for church planting. Watson is serving a residency with Epiphany Fellowship, a multi-cultural church in the city of Philadelphia, as part of his preparation and training.
Watson has identified the Mt. Airy / Germantown area of Philadelphia as the target for his upcoming church plant. The area has a rich history dating back to the early days of our nation’s history. During the Revolutionary War, the Battle of Germantown was fought there, and George Washington lived in the area for a period of time during his presidency. Germantown later became known as America’s first suburb in the mid-1800s.
After surviving the rise and fall of the industrial revolution, as well as a mass exodus of the affluent, today Germantown is a high density urbanized area marked by ethnic diversity. African Americans make up 78% of the community, yet the Hispanics population is expected to grow by 20% over the next five years.
Please pray for Watson, Kelli, and their two young children as they prepare to launch a multi-ethnic church in the heart of the city of Philadelphia in 2014.