It does not take long to figure out that most people around here see themselves as part of a bigger region. Driving 30 miles is a normal part of most of our routines. We drive 30 miles to get to a doctor’s appointment. We drive 30 miles for lumber. We drive 30 miles for a mall. For some, a 30 mile drive is nothing for some good mexican food. 30 miles for a burrito? No problem!
Driving 30 miles is a normal part of our routine here in North Central Iowa and South Central Minnesota. We don’t just live in Forest City. We don’t just live in Lake Mills. We’re not just residents of towns like Garner, Britt, Mason City, Woden, Titonka or Clear Lake. We live in a bigger community. We’re connected to a bigger region.
“How many people live within a 30 mile radius of First Baptist Church in Forest City?”
This is an important question for us at First B. As leaders of this church we came together to play, pray, dream and talk about what the Lord is doing in our midst. So, we asked this question: “If we drew a circle with a 30 mile radius around our church, how many people would that include?” The answer is sobering.
At least that’s what the U.S. Census Bureau reports.
Here is a quick look at the population of the counties surrounding our church on highway 9:
30 miles reaches a lot of people!
Friends, we are not a rural church. We are not a Forest City church. We are a regional church with an eternal message of hope in Jesus Christ. We have an incredible, debt-free facility that sits on the intersection of two major highways. We have a great ministry team and godly leadership. We believe God has positioned us at this time and place to reach out and minister to those 124,224 people within 30 miles of our church.
Stats and trends suggest that nearly 25% of our community attended a church in this area last weekend. That would mean 75% of that 124,224 did not participate in worship last week. In other words, within a short drive from our church there are nearly 93,000 people not connected to a church family. We think 25% is a bit too generous. It is likely that there are nearly 100,000 people within a short drive of our church that need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ. Do we care? Are we going to do anything about it?
We believe we are called to be a regional church with a vision to reach our communities for Jesus Christ.
We can't wait to see what God has in store!