Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Churches in Northfield


One of the things I hear when I share with people in my community about the church I'm a part of, is the idea that Northfield already has a lot of churches and the question as to why would we need another one.  Northfield is not a very large town geographically, so I understand why it seems like there are lots of churches here, but what I like to do is actually run the numbers with people.

The population of Northfield is around 20,000 people, including about 5,500 students at the two colleges (Carleton and St. Olaf).  According to Google maps there are 22 churches in the Northfield/Dundas area.  However, this number casts a very wide net as to what exactly constitutes a church.  It of course includes the large national denominations such as Baptists, Lutherans, and Catholics, but it also includes groups such as the Universalists, Jehovah's Witnesses, and Mormons.

Now assuming that each of the 22 churches has 200 people attending regularly (a number that is vastly over-stated as most churches in Northfield have less than 75 in attendance each week), it would mean that the Northfield/Dundas area would have 4,400 people, or 22% of it's population, in church each week.

Looking at numbers like this makes it clear that there is plenty of room for another church in Northfield.  Even after massively inflating the numbers, there are still over 15,000 people who don't attend church on any kind of consistent basis.

In addition to the large number of non-church goers in Northfield/Dundas what is additionally troubling to me is that I can name five churches that as of right now have no Lead Pastor, either because they are in transition or because the size of the congregation cannot support one.  Main Street Moravian Church, St. Peter's Lutheran Church, City Light Church, and Northfield Evangelical Free Church are all without full time pastoral leadership.  Rejoice Lutheran is in the process of beginning the search for a new Lead Pastor.  That means that of the 22 churches in town almost 25% have no consistent pastoral leadership helping the congregation grow in Christ and expand their impact in the city.

If the local church is the hope of the world, and I believe it is, then there is plenty of room in Northfield for churches to plant and grow.  Please join with me in praying for the advancement of the Kingdom of God in my city.  If you live in Northfield be fervent in this prayer, asking Jesus to come and blow winds of change here.  The spiritual climate of Northfield doesn't appear ideal on the surface; it is difficult soil to plant and grow seed in.  However, God's Word promises that nothing is too hard for God, and that as His followers we can do all things through Christ strengthening us.

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