Over a year ago, I felt that God was leading me to find out more about the community in which my wife and I live. Our community, Navarre, Ohio is a part of a school district, Fairless Local Schools, which is made up of three small towns: Navarre, Beach City and Brewster. In an effort to understand what God was already up to in the churches in the community, I set out in attempting to get in touch with each of the approximately 25 churches in the community. I asked them for a few small bits of information based on their congregations and asked if I could meet up with the pastor. I was able to meet up with quite a few of the pastors in the community and also received responses from several other churches with the information I requested. There were a few churches that I never heard back from, but I was able to get some basic info about those churches from speaking with others and from their websites or Facebook pages (if they had one or either).
The approximate total population of the school district is 5,100. Of that population, 22% or approximately 1,129 people attend church at churches within the district. I felt that was rather alarming. Of course, you may be asking, where does the rest of the population attend church? I wish I had the time, resources and manpower to find that information, because I am sure that there are other churches outside the district that people attend. However, I am fairly positive that, that would not bring the percentage of church attendance much higher. I am familiar with some of the larger churches outside of the district and know that there are not many people from my school district that attend those churches, but of course I do not have hard data. For those of you that love data and love for it to be precise, just to let you know the 1,129 represents regular attenders as was reported by the pastors of the churches. The few churches that did not respond to me are fairly small congregations and I was able to estimate their average attendance with the help of others familiar with those churches.
I have quite a bit more data that I collected that I will share, but at first glance what does this 22% mean? I feel that it means there is a need and that need is more churches that can help reach the people of my community. This is weighing heavy on my spirit. What is God up to?