The vigorous and strategic planting of new churches is the single most crucial strategy for reaching the next generation with the gospel of Christ. More than anything else, new churches reach new students, new couples, new families, new cultures, and new generations in the most life changing ways.
We are building a team of church launchers who will walk in audacious faith as they take risks to love people, influence culture, dream for cities, and believe God for the impossible.
There are many strategic communities throughout our district where launching churches that multiply themselves will have great impact in those regions and cultures. However, in order to be strategic, we have prioritized the following major urban areas in order to gain the needed momentum:
San Francisco was founded in 1846 as a military fort and today the nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area have a population nearing 8 million people. It is a beautiful, multi-ethnic, multi-lingual world class city with very little Christian presence. It is dominated by secular humanism of every stripe, and less than 5% of the population claims to be evangelical Christian. San Francisco is a city that is focused on serving the poor, a lesson we can learn as the Church. The challenges are significant, but the opportunities are limitless in his very influential California city.
In the 1800s Sacramento was a crossroads, settled as a port city because of the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers. Gold seekers arrived in San Francisco searching for their fortunes and headed west, stopping in Sacramento before heading into the hills. It was a mosaic of cultures and languages, and it is no different today. With a population of over 450,000, Sacramento is our second largest urban area in California, and only 7% are evangelical Christian. There is a lot of room for new churches.
Salt Lake City was founded in 1847 as a Mormon settlement, and today the County of Salt Lake has a population of 1.2 million people, 65% of which are Mormon. It is an incredibly beautiful city, surrounded by spectacular mountains full of ski resorts and great hiking and camping. The missionary focus of this city is powerful and is just asking to be redeemed. At 1.5% Christian, Utah is officially an unreached people group with incredible opportunities to launch churches.
Vegas, as it is known around the world, was founded in 1905 as a railroad town. It wasn’t until 1931 that gambling was legalized in Nevada, and the boom began in the 1940s. Despite the reputation of Las Vegas as “Sin City” the metro area of over 2 million people is reported to be around 9% Christian and has some of the largest evangelical churches in our region. Las Vegas also has one of the fastest growth rates in the country, so there is room for plenty more!
Honolulu was as founded in 1804 by King Kamehameha I. This city with a population of over 1 million is obviously one of the great resort cities of our country. Adjacent to Waikiki, it’s hard to begin to describe the beauty of this place, to say nothing of the climate and warm ocean waters. There is also no lack of things to do – especially if you like the ocean. But spiritually it is as dark a place as any of our cities. With a history of spiritism coupled with the leisure/tourism culture that pervades Hawaii today, receptivity to Christianity is low, with only 2% of the population claiming to be evangelical Christian.