By Andrew McChesney,

Adventist Mission helped plant 80 churches and open 15 “centers of influence” in cities of more than 1 million people in 2017 as the Seventh-day Adventist Church steps up efforts to spread the message of Jesus’ soon coming in major cities.

Gary Krause, director of the world church’s Office of Adventist Mission, made the announcement during a presentation on the progress of Mission to the Cities, a church key initiative, to the two-day Spring Meeting of world church leaders at the Adventist Church’s headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.

“The cities have grown faster than our realization of the challenge,” Krause said on April 10, the opening day of Spring Meeting.

With more than half of the world’s population of 7.4 billion living in cities, the Adventist Church has been boosting its urban outreach, especially through centers of influence where church members connect with local communities.

Global Mission, which is part of Adventist Mission, helped finance 15 urban centers of influence in 2017, Krause said.

Those included a refugee training center in the U.S. city of Houston, population 2.3 million; a community education center with healthy cooking classes, a language school, clothing charity services, and job training in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg, population 1.3 million; and clinics, youth community centers, and preschools in several closed countries, according to Adventist Mission data.

The projects aim to provide physical and spiritual healing to their communities and to lay the groundwork to plant new churches.

Also in 2017, Global Mission helped fund 80 new churches in major cities in Argentina, Congo, Indonesia, Kenya, Nigeria, Russia, and a number of closed countries.

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