Global Cities Network

Global Cities Network


Wesley Alumni Starting Churches in Global Cities


For Branden and Jenn Petersen and Melinda Priest, the need for more churches in our global city centers is evident firsthand. Center city Manhattan, where the Petersens have planted Resurrection Life NYC is maybe 4-5% gospel-centered Christians, and Boston, where Melinda Priest is preparing to plant Awaken City Church is only 2-3% gospel-centered Christians.


Branden and Jenn and their kids moved to NYC almost four years ago to plant Resurrection Life NYC on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. "One of the things we have realized is that most people, like maybe even 90% of people, will never step foot in our church or any church," said Branden. "Resurrection Life NYC, therefore, is necessarily becoming a church that sees its primary task as raising up and sending out everyday missionaries into the places they live, work, and play. The church must learn how to go to them, to empower the ordinary Christian to live an extraordinary life—more like the ecclesiology we see in the early church. I think the days of attraction-only ministry is over. We will only perpetuate church-hopping in that scenario, and there aren't enough Christians in Manhattan anyway! The overwhelming majority of people in our cities will never hear the gospel unless we learn how to go to them, build relationships, demonstrate and announce the good news, and allow the church to grow from there. This is where movement will come from."


Melinda and Jason and their kids moved to Boston in the fall of 2018, to the neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Boston is perhaps even more secular than New York City. “God is not shaken by statistics,” says Melinda. “It is ‘for such a time as this,’ that we believe God is asking His Church to catalyze spiritual awakening in the city.  We believe there is no limit to what the power of God can do if we are willing to join together, with other city-facing churches, and cry out to the Lord for our cities. Awaken City Church exists to awaken all people to the life-transforming love of Christ and participate in God's redemptive work in the world.  This mission is grounded in Psalm 57:7-11. It is our prayer to inspire, equip, and send out communities of everyday missionaries who will live and love like Jesus and open the doors for Gospel saturation in Boston and other Global Cities."              


The combination of the secular culture, few Christians, and the growth of the cities points to the missional problem we face. Studies show that five million people are moving into cities worldwide each month. If we planted one church for every 1,000 people, this would mean 5,000 churches would need to be started each month to keep up with this growth. Because most of our cities are already under-served, the missional task at hand is enormous. The world's global cities are undoubtedly the fastest growing mission field.


Today, over half of the global population lives in cities, and by 2050 it is projected that around 70% of people will be in cities. We are in the midst of a period of massive global urbanization. The world's growing cities need the gospel.


Responding to the need, Wesley Seminary alumni Melinda Priest, (MDiv 2016) Branden (MPTH 2019), and Jenn (MDiv 2020) Petersen are partnering together to start Global Cities Network, a church multiplication network that will target alpha and beta global cities worldwide.


Global cities are defined as primary nodes in the global economic network. They are characterized by links binding it to other cities worldwide, and have a tangible impact on global socio-economic affairs. The center-city areas of these cities also tend to be both expensive areas to live, culturally secular, and often difficult places to start churches. According to 2018 Globalization and World Cities Research, the top ten elite global cities in North America include New York City, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles, Miami, Washington D.C., San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, and Houston.


Global Cities Network will prayerfully create a network that recruits, trains, coaches, and resources leaders who start new expressions of the church in global cities. To do this, GCN, will emphasize three objectives: 1) starting new churches, 2) training leaders for ministry in post-Christian urban realities, and 3) creating sustainable living in expensive urban centers.


The network is currently seeking those who are interested in global cities urban church multiplication. Perhaps you are interested in becoming a lead church planter, or maybe you feel like God is calling to a city to be a part of church multiplication in some other way. Contact Branden at or Melinda at to continue the conversation!


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