You can’t miss it these days. The residential, commercial, and road construction is happening all around us. It’s obvious that significant, ongoing demographic changes are taking place in our community. And with those changes come big opportunities for our church. Our prayer is that Faith Community Church will be well-situated in our new location to minister to the people the Lord is bringing our direction.
When the Lord planted FCC in March 1997, the population of the substantially more rural Cherokee county was 124,413. In 2017, it has now doubled to 247,400. Cherokee county is now the fastest growing county in the Atlanta metro area. It’s especially appealing to younger people looking for affordable housing and a place to raise a family. By 2020, the Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce estimates the population will be 309,150, and by 2025, a staggering 360,734.
Along with this numerical increase is an increased spiritual need. Across the U.S., the number of people who now identify themselves as “nones,” or religiously unaffiliated, is at 23% (up from 16% in 2007). In the Atlanta area, the number is only slightly less, at 20%. Many of these are younger people who have left church-attending backgrounds in favor of a secular life and worldview. Most have never been church-goers.
Cherokee County Population Growth
It’s also a reality that in Georgia, 79% of the population identify as Christians, but only 39% attend church regularly.
Another growing change in Cherokee county is that Hispanics now make up 10% of the total population. Recent research has shown that within Hispanic communities in the U.S., a significant movement away from Catholicism and toward reformation Christianity is underway. Yet there’s a shortage of both churches and biblically-qualified leaders to meet the growing need. We would love to continue to develop ministries to equip and reach Hispanics with God’s truth.
These various circumstances present our church with tremendous opportunities for ministry in a strategic, central location along 575. We know that a new location will not automatically bring about the salvation of the lost or foster spiritual growth in the church – we aren’t adopting a “build it and they will come” mentality. Spiritual transformation and the growth of the body don’t result from a building or a location, they are the products of God’s sovereignty and the faithful work of His people as they minister His Word to the lost and to one another in the power of the Holy Spirit. Those commitments will continue to guide our ministry first and foremost.
At the same time, we hope and trust that the Lord will use our new location to allow us to continue to do His work in His way, but in a more central, visible, and accessible place.