updates from the vision tour.
I am alive. Wow, what a few days it has been. I want to be brief and share some thoughts so far as we put our feet on soil and instead of casting vision like I am used too, I am trying to hear the vision. As we said when we announced to the church, we only had a few contacts, no money and a crazy vision that God had asked us to consider and this was our first stop.
It's those walks into the great unknown that will really energize your faith, but they also weigh on the soul a bit!
We flew into Denver and made the 8 hour drive across Colorado and Wyoming and then dropped south into Salt Lake City. What a drive! 80+ MPH winds and snow in spots made it very interesting! There were 3 semi's just blown over in the road from the winds, and that is just par for the course in the winter in Wyoming!
SLC was a totally different picture. It felt a lot like being back home climate wise, but yet due to the dry air, it felt much warmer. All I can say about SLC is that I did not expect anything much from this city...but got way more than I bargained for.
It truly is one of the most beautiful places on earth and with so much to do there, it just blew my mind. I thought because Mormonism is king here that everyone would be walking around in their white shirt and ties and skirts. Ummm...no. It looked like a normal college town and though not as crazy as many big towns, was not at all what I imagined.
To be honest, we flew out here thinking that SLC would be a quick stop, because after all, why plant churches where their is a pre-dominant undercurrent of another religious group? But that is exactly what we soon learned the need would be. Very few have taken up the challenege of going into this place and have left it desolate for the truth. It takes a CRAZY person to come to this place to plant churches. Hmmmm.
Here are some quick facts:
*2 Million or so people, and almost NO Christian churches. Yes, that is not a typo.
*50% of SLC is NOT Mormon! Hear that one! So 50% are totally seeking something!
* Of the 50%, only 2-3% attend church on a given weekend. (Worst in the US! Second worst is Nevada at almost 10%!!!!!!!!!!!!)
*Utah was the fasted growing state in the COUNTRY (economy is still very good and this place is beautiful, and the 2002 Winter Olympics put them on the map).
*But yet as the fastest-growing state, Utah is the MOST unchurched state in the COUNTRY! Are you kidding me?
* There is 1 Christian church for every 5,000 people. In Arkansas (the comparison state for this study it was 1 for every 500!) I assume Ohio is in the same range. Unbelieveable.
*There is a town here of 40,000 people that has NEVER in the history of the town EVER had a CHRISTIAN CHURCH. EVER! If that were anywhere else, there would be 100 church plants and denominations heading into town. But because these are forgotten people in a very hard region to plant, people won't take up the call to come here.
*This one kills me: Utah is the only place in North America that because of the above information is considered and UN-REACHED PEOPLE GROUP. Are you serious in the US?
WHY ARE PEOPLE NOT TALKING ABOUT THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION? We hear about the Northwest and Northeast being rocky soil, but dang, Utah has the worst stats in the COUNTRY and was the fasted growing state last year and is expected to grow by 1-2 million in the near future! (And no, it is not from Mormon births, but try this one on, there are still 40K+ polygamists in SLC even though the church outlawed it long ago).
People (many non-Mormon) are moving here because of the robust economy, the vast beauty and outdoors scene, and it feels like a small town because though the Mormon theology is way off from Christian doctrine, they practice love and kindness like no other people around. It was the friendliest big town I have ever been it, and of course that translates to a low crime rate.
EVEN IF IT IS NOT US THAT IS CALLED, THERE IS A NEED FOR AN ARMY TO COME OUT HERE! Those facts break my heart, especially when in many places in the country there are churches everywhere!
I need to send out a huge thanks to Dave Nelson (and his wife) who bugged me to come out here and not just tour Denver. K2 is doing an amazing job. Church planting here is like church planting in a foreign country when most of the people around you are of a different religious group. They have done the impossible through the power fo Christ and average 1,300 people every week in 2 locations on their property and are starting their first multi-site campus this fall. WOW. God has blessed them and their staff. Dave is a phenomial leader and his staff and the church was so accomodating as they showed us around for a few days. I can't say enough or thank them enough. Thanks to ALL of you, but special thanks to Kim and Steve for lodging us, Andy for the long tour and gun pics, Dave for sharing his heart which was the beginning of making ours melt with vision, and Mike for being a cool dude who shared his journey and great insight into K2. (And your CD rocks bro!)
We are looking for a challenge. God has never called us to easy things. We came out here open, but not very open to SLC because of pre-concieved ideals, but we were open and God flooded our hearts. This is way different a vision than I thought we would get when we announced to NH, but we are open to the possibility and could easily make this place our mission field. We are not afraid of challenege or the fact that this would be the hardest place in the country to plant a church. But hey, K2 answered the call, and God is moving big time. Maybe this is it for us too?
And yes, there are nothing but SMALL TOWNS for us to work into in both states. That is our heart and passion and always will be!
After a really long drive (but the most beautiful drive in my life back to Denver on I-70) we are set this morning to tour Denver. I am excited to tour this huge place where 9 out of 10 people are unchurched. You heard me. Anyone else's heart breaking for this region? We are OPEN to this ground as well...so:
Pray that God would SCREAM to us in the next few days about where the call should be. And maybe it is not anywhere out here, but dang, after what I just wrote, how can this region not be a place that needs the Lord like NO PLACE in the country?
Labels: church planting journey