Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Evangelical Church in Vermont is Booming!!!!

I do not think it is news to anyone to say that the evangelical church around the nation is struggling. Many congregations are getting just a little older and just a little smaller each year. Though some individual churches are the exceptions, in general this struggle is happening across denominational lines and even in areas that have been traditionally seen as the “Bible belt.”

This past week I spent two days at a conference for church planters. We learned methods that will enable us to increase our capacity for starting new churches in the hopes of reversing this decline. During one session a chart was handed out that had been put together by researcher David Olsen. The chart showed how the evangelical church was shrinking in the majority of states around the nation.
However, all the news is not bad, because in some states, the evangelical church is actually growing. Interestingly, the places with growth were all OUTSIDE the traditional Bible belt. As a matter of fact, the Northeast, which has not been known for its strength in evangelicalism, showed more growth than any other region of the nation.

You may be wondering which state in the Northeast had the most growth in its evangelical population. I am pleased to announce that during the period of 2000-2007 (the latest statistics that David Olsen could gather) the evangelical church grew in Vermont by 17.9%!!!! Can we get a shout of praise to God for what He is doing to draw people to Himself in Vermont?
Vermont may be the least churched state in the nation and we may have one of the highest number “nones” (people who profess no religious affiliation at all), but when Vermonters come to Jesus, they take their faith seriously! They are sharing their faith with their friends and family. Evangelical churches in Vermont may be small in number, but they are mighty in Spirit. They are praying fervently and working hard in collaborative ways to share the Gospel across the mountains and valleys of Vermont. Lives are being transformed and churches are growing. Though there is much still to be done in Vermont, it is a bright light on the Gospel landscape.

To all my brothers and sisters who are laboring in Vermont, I say look up, for your Redeemer has heard your prayers and He draws ever closer to our little state.
To all our partners who are helping us in Vermont, I say, do not grow weary in well doing, for we are about to reap the harvest.

To God be the glory for the great things He has done!

9 comments:

  1. We praise God for this great news. You are identifying new possibilities for church plants all the time while we are fighting existing, declining churches in NC that will not allow a church plant on their "turf". We are praying to "break out" of the doldrums. Praise God.

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  2. Terry,
    What fantastic results! I know you are pleased that all your hard work is paying off. I bet that now Vermont is not the least churched state in the United States, either. I am pleased that we are able to help you a little.
    Keep up the wonderful work!
    Hugs,
    Karen

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  3. Terry, thank you for all you do in the Green Mountain State. May God continue to bless you and the people of Vermont. He is still on the throne.
    Dewey

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  4. Hi. Praise God from whom all blessings flow!!!!! Amen
    Love HB and JO

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  5. WOW!! PTL!!!!!!!!!!!

    I needed this, thanks for sending it out.

    David Lee

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  6. And AMEN to that!!! May it be so all across our nation!!!

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  7. I am happy to hear this news. I have done several outreaches in Burlington and even one in Rutland. From first hand experience, I have seen how hard a mission field your state is, but like you said, when someone in Vermont receives Christ, they take their faith seriously.

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  8. William D. Jones, pastor, Whiting Community ChurchFebruary 7, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    The attendance of Whiting Community Church increased by 33% in 2011.

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  9. Praise God Pastory Billy, keep up the great work.

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