The term Bible Belt is an informal term used to describe the Southeastern part of the United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism is a significant part of the culture and Christian church attendance is generally higher than the nation’s average. At least for the time being. We are living in a time where church attendance in the South is either plateaued or declining. What once used to be an important part of our culture is becoming more and more insignificant as a new generation finds church to be less essential to their lives.
In the South, there are many people in their 20s and 30s who have grown up in the church, went through both the children and youth ministries, turned 16, got a car, then a job, and went off to college leaving the church behind. It’s just not an important part of life anymore. They have been “de-churched”. This is particularly evident in the cities of Huntsville and Madison. There are literally thousands of people in our city that have grown up in the church, but are no longer a part of the church.
From the year 2000 to 2010, the city of Huntsville grew by 22,000 people, more than any other Alabama city. The city of Madison by itself grew 46% from 2000 to 2010. In Madison County there are 90,000 people between the ages of 17-35, many of whom have become disillusioned with the church. The zip code we will specifically be targeting is the 35824 or the Zierdt Road community. In 2000, the population was approximately 3,146 people. In 2010, the population grew to 6,040. The current population is now estimated to be almost 7,000 people. The projections are pointing to a continued increase in residents over the next several years as this area grows through job creation and a great community environment. 26% of the population is between the ages of 25 to 35 years of age. The population is 62% white or caucasian. The African American population in this area is 26%. This area has no Southern Baptist Churches within the immediate vicinity.
Also included in this age group we see much diversity, as jobs are a major driving factor behind North Alabama’s growth. Technology and manufacturing in Madison County is advancing and growing. People from all over the country are coming to the city.
With all of the excitement this is bringing to our community, we need new roads, new stores, new businesses, new homes, new schools, and also new churches. All around us we see many people who have never really had much interest in church, God, or spirituality, and others who have become disillusioned with the church. Our vision and desire is to see people hear the Good News about what Jesus has done that propels them into a life of worship as we glorify God together. We also see a need for community, and we believe God has created us in a way that He wants us to live life together, having each other’s backs and supporting one another through prayer and good works. We want to love one another in the church. And God has also sent us on mission, not just in Madison County, but also the country in which we live, and to the world. We want to serve the world. This vision comes straight from Acts 2:42-47, and this is our calling to “Plant the Gospel.”
U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, January 31). State & County Quickfacts: Madison County, AL Retrieved February 10, 2012, from http://quickfacts.census.gov.