Results of the 2020 U.S. Religious Census were released a few days ago. There are 372 religious bodies in the United States. The only group that is more rural than the NAFWB is Amish Groups.
The locations of Free Will Baptist churches can be broken down as follows: Metro 5,000,000 or more–1%, Metro 1,000,000 to 4,999,999–16%, Metro 250,000 to 999,99–18%, Metro under 250,000–15%, Micropolitan Area–22%, and Outside CBSA–28%. Exactly 50% of all NAFWB churches are located in very rural areas.
The terms Micropolitan and CBSA are defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Micropolitan areas consist of a county or counties (or equivalent entities) associated with at least one urban cluster of at least 10,000 but less than 50,000 population, plus adjacent counties having a high degree of social and economic integration with the core as measured through commuting ties.
For perspective, 8% of the U.S. population lives in a Micropolitan Area, and only 5% of the U.S. population lives in an area Outside CBSA (Core Based Statistical Area). Put another way, 50% of NAFWB churches are located where only 13% of the U.S. population lives.
What are the implications? We must look at alternative models for pastors in the especially rural areas (see Creative Strategies): sharing pastors and church mergers. We will also need to look at funding models for churches that are unable to support pastors and pastoral ministry.
See the work on MINCE with Jay Moon. It is our hope that as we look at churches we will become skilled at assessing their financial liquidity and relationships with the unchurched.
We will have post a podcast with Dr. Jay Moon February 9 at Better Together Podcast. Let me know if you have any interest in learning more about this strategy.
The MINCE Approach:
- Monetize existing church resource
- Incubate new businesses
- Non-profits form mission arms of the church
- Co-vocational pastoring opens multiple income streams
- Entrepreneurial churches locate church inside the marketplace
Dr. Moody’s Article: “Are You Called to Bi-Vocational Ministry?”
View Dr. Eddie Moody’s presentation on MINCE below: