Armin Rosen for City Journal:1
In Lagos… nothing is guaranteed. Everything is relative. Your yellow cab could be driven by a drug dealer, or it could be driven by a banker who wants another income. You just don’t know.
Poverty, confusion, and moral fluidity haven’t stopped Lagos from achieving global prominence. Maybe an all-pervading looseness has even been a source of the city’s growth, since it has expanded with a velocity that prudent planning would avoid. Lagos is now West Africa’s economic and cultural hub, as well as perhaps the continent’s largest city, depending on which population figures one accepts. By most accounts, Lagos has twice as many people as London, along with a GDP greater than all but six African states. In its successes and failures, the city offers a cautionary preview of where an urbanizing developing world is hurtling.
Much more in the full piece. This profile of one of the world’s most overwhelming cities reminded me of of another quote I read a couple of years back: “Lagos is chaos theory made flesh and concrete.”
When I lived and worked in Mexico City, we were astounded to discover that its population was growing by 500 people a day. As a church planter, that meant that a new church of 500 needed to be launched every single day to reach only the new arrivals — never mind the city’s extant millions. According to this City Journal profile, Lagos has four times Mexico City’s number pouring in: 2000 people every day. That’s 730,000 new arrivals a year, more than the entire population of Washington D.C.2
There has been, perhaps, no other city in history with this kind of population growth. It makes me all the more thankful that we get to know and serve Femi and Tosin Osunnuyi and their work to establish a new church in Lagos.
After all, like the above article also states, “the world is sure to look more like Lagos in the coming decades.” In other words, we have work to do. As the world becomes more urban, so must the church.