Nearly one hundred years ago, the steel city of Youngstown was flourishing. Like many other cities in the “Industrial Heartland”, Youngstown steadily expanded with the emergence of jobs, the influx of money, and the increase of hope. But today, the circumstances in Youngstown are not so bright. In 2008 the Brookings Institute revealed that out of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the country, Youngstown registered the highest percentage of its citizens living in concentrated poverty. Youngstown has the unfavorable honor of being the poster child for the horrible ravages of deindustrialization. When traveling to the poorest areas in the United States as part of a book project, journalist Chris Hedges described the city he saw in 2010:
“Youngstown, like many post-industrial pockets in America, is a deserted wreck plagued by crime and the attendant psychological and criminal problems that come when communities physically break down.”
Although various companies and individuals have given up on the city of Youngstown, God has not. Currently, there are more than 65,000 people living in the city of Youngstown, with many of these people living in poverty, broken homes, and a broken relationship with the God who loves them. It’s my desire to be used by God, to reveal His love and to lead others into a deeper relationship with Him.
This is the mission to which we believe that God has called us, “to reach into Youngstown with the Gospel and lead all those who will listen into a deeper relationship with Him.” It is the goal of Valley Christian Church “to make disciples who make disciples,” and to carry out this goal as eagerly and creatively as possible.