Why Plant? Why St. Charles?
A couple weeks ago, I was craving some homemade salsa. So my wife, Amanda, went out to a local fresh produce market and bought some tomatoes, onions, green peppers, and cilantro. She came right home and began blending them all together for a wonderful flavor. Now if I would have had enough vision 3 months ago, I could have grown all that produce myself if I would have had the right seeds, soil, water, and sunlight. I am discovering that part of planting a church is sharing not only that you are planting but also sharing about what soil you are planting in (the where) and what you are hoping to obtain by planting (the why...or Salsa!). Below I will try to walk you through the reasoning behind our plant and also why we chose the soil of St. Charles.
Why Plant? You can drive around almost every town in the United States and see at least 2 churches in every community. In theory, you could say that just one church per community would be and should be enough. However, I believe that you would agree with me that you could drive through any community in the United States and find dark places where the church is needed. As long as there are people who do not know Christ as there personal Lord and Savior, there is a need for a church. The Church in the United States is in crises. Churches are closing at an unprecedented rate and the population of the United States continues to increase. It is estimated, that in order to keep up with the decline of the local church and to compensate for the increase in U.S. population, we need to plant around 6,000 churches every year. There are currently only about 2,400 church plants that open every year. We are just one...for now. Our salsa, or ultimate plan, is to create communities that expand The Kingdom through radical compassion. We absolutely love the Acts 2 model of the early church and believe that we can use those ingredients to bring the light of Jesus Christ to those in the dark in St. Charles.
Why St. Charles? As we were exploring communities to plant in, we wanted to set our roots in a community that is growing. St. Charles County is currently the fastest growing community in Missouri with a growth of about 26% from the 2000 census to the 2010 census. We also didn't want to step on anyone's toes when we set our roots. The Table is a part of a network of churches called "The Church of God' whose general offices are located in Anderson, IN. There are currently 2 other churches in our network in St. Charles County but none in St. Charles. In St. Charles County there is a population of 360,000 people. According to this article, only 51% of the population is involved in a religious congregation. This would mean that around 183,600 attend a local congregation. Of those 183,600 people, around 99,000 people attend a Catholic church leaving just 84,456 people that attend a protestant church. These numbers would indicate that 49% of the population is unchurched, which means, we have some work to do here. As a fellow pastor mentioned to me a few weeks back, the St. Louis area has a ton of great churches, but it also still has a ton of tremendous sinners. We have discovered that both of his observations are true.
Jesus was pretty clear about our job as Christ followers, to seek and save those who are lost. We believe that our team has been called here for that purpose. We have been amazed at watching God as he prepares us for each step of this journey. We continue to value each prayer that is lifted up on our behalf. We are so thankful for each word of encouragement and each dollar given. We know that this plant will never be everything God has called her to be without the support of our friends, family, and fellow Christ followers. We are honored that you have chosen to follow us on our journey. And someday, I hope that we can snack on some chips and salsa together around The Table.
Lead Pastor at The Table