- Jim Townsley
- Nov 20, 2013
The need for church planting in the United States is great. Cities and regions all over the country need churches including in the South but what area is the neediest? Wherever God leads you to start a church, in a sense, is the neediest place but there are many ways to measure the need for churches. One way to measure the need is by the number of churches per capita. A higher population and fewer churches indicates this is a good place to start. Another measure is an area that is remote and has no gospel influence in the region. Another measure might be a place to which people are moving or cities whose population is growing. Some areas have many churches and people have many options to choose a church while other cities may need a good church. Considering all of these measures I have constructed a list of my top ten areas to start churches. Hopefully this will awaken young preachers to the need of church planting.
Long Island, New York - Long Island consists of two large boroughs, Queens and Brooklyn, that are considered part of the five New York City boroughs. Each have almost two and one half million residents. The remainder of Long Island has more than three million residents. The three million residents have only enough fundamental churches to count on one hand. The ethnic mix is international with Caucasian being the largest followed by African American, Hispanic, Asian and several others. Long Island is an expensive place to live, but millions of people live there. The dense population of this region may have the least gospel influence per capita of any place in America.
Boston, Massachusetts - Boston has a different culture from Long Island, but the need for churches is equal. Boston has a population of five hundred thousand in the city while the greater area boasts five million residents. The towns and cities around Boston range from exclusive suburban neighborhoods to old mill towns that that seem tired and depressed. There are a handful of churches doing a good job reaching this area, but too many communities have no gospel witness. The area is mainly Catholic and humanistic or atheistic. Boston was once the hub of revival, but for many years it has been devoid of good churches.
Los Angeles, California - There are some good churches in California, however, The greater Los Angeles area has very few churches preaching the gospel. Many large and small cities do not have a single fundamental church. The area has an international influence of Hispanic and Asian along with many other nationalities. Some of the communities are heavily influenced with the entertainment industry and a Sunday can seem eerie with no presence of God.
Northern cities of New Jersey - The northeast section of New Jersey is basically part of the greater New York City metropolitan area. Northern New Jersey is very blue collar and hard working. It is primarily Catholic and Jewish depending on the specific city. A few good churches are trying to make a difference as they reach this area. It is a daunting task and many more churches need to be established.
Fairfield county Connecticut - From Bridgeport Connecticut to New York City there are only a few fundamental churches trying to reach this area. Fairfield county is one of the wealthiest counties in the United States. Perhaps for this reason it has the fewest number of fundamental churches in the state. Many corporate executives, hedge fund managers, and celebrities live in this area. It is an expensive area to live and many people are self-sufficient and do not need God. The cities in New York state are blue collar and yet fundamental churches do not exist in the area. Rye, Port Chester, Harrison, and Mamaroneck New York are a few of the large cities in need of churches.
Western states rural areas - The northwest United States has a large land mass and a sparse population. Most major cities have at least one fundamental church, but the ranches and rural communities are in great need of the gospel. The old Circuit Riding Preacher may be the answer for some of these remote areas. Perhaps a preacher could pastor two or three small churches in order to reach these small communities.
Washington DC - Several churches have tried to get started within the city limits, but even if they are successful they seem to move to the suburbs outside the city limits. Government subsidies have led to high crime and a lack of initiative. Few have a father living with the family. Getting a church started in this city is daunting but certainly needed.
Philadelphia, PA - The city of Philadelphia has some of the highest crime rates and lowest high school graduation rates in the country. Yet, there are some amazing works going on within the city. Any church started within the city limits will truly be an inner city church. Still the need is daunting to reach this city. Many more churches are needed. The surrounding suburbs still need more churches.
Phoenix, Arizona - The greater Phoenix area is a large land mass made up of several cities. The entire area has over four million people. Although there are some good churches, their number has not kept up with the rapidly increasing population. There are many areas in great need of a church in Phoenix.
Seattle, Washington - The greater Seattle area has a large population of urban and suburban communities. The state of Washington has the largest number of unchurched people in the United States. There are some good churches in the area, but not nearly enough.
The Golden Horseshoe of Canada - Honorable mention is just over our northern border into Ontario Canada. The area around the great Lakes, Erie and Ontario has many cities of over one hundred thousand with no fundamental church. There are some good men in Canada with a great love for their country, but there are too few to reach this needy area.
This list of top ten needy cities does not suggest these are the only places to start churches. Every major city in American has an inner city with almost no fundamental churches. Up and down the Mississippi river many communities are in great need. Florida has many growing communities without a fundamental church. Some Western cities are controlled by the influence of Mormons or other religions and are in need of fundamental churches. Cities that once had several fundamental churches are experiencing a need for gospel preaching churches as a result of the compromises of the day.
Wherever God leads you to start a church is a good place to start. Just keep in mind the need in many areas of the country is great. My prayer is that God will burden many young men to consider one of these needy fields.