We praise God that the number of churches in Ohio is increasing. But we know that the number of people in Ohio who are not in any church remains significant. I once had someone comment to me, “Why do we need demographics? Throw a dart at the map (of Ohio) and you will have a place for a church.” While that may be true, a church in a strategic location is more likely to reach more people.
To help identify some strategic locations within the state, an Opportunity Scan from MissionInsite brings to the forefront multiple zip codes with substantial populations where a church could be planted. A list of zip codes in Ohio with no Southern Baptist church can be found in the attachment to this page. Those locations in red on the map have a population of over 20,000 in the zip code area. Those in blue have a population between 15,000 and 20,000. Those in green have a population of 10,000 to 15,000 and no SBC church. The yellow markers indicate under-churched areas with a population between 7,000 and 10,000. To begin to impact those areas with the gospel of Jesus Christ, we must begin with prayer. Select a specific zip code, possibly near your church, for which you will pray.
Pray. Pray for the those in the adopted area who do not know Jesus Christ as personal Lord and Savior. Pray for leaders to be raised up to take the gospel into that area. Give prayers of thanksgiving for the 16 new churches in 2020 and pray for additonal leaders to be raised up.
Develop Leaders. Pray for churches in Ohio to develop leaders to go to neighboring communities (Matthew 9:36-38). Develop leaders in your church (Use NAMB Pipeline or other tools.) who go as missionaries into your adopted zip code area.
Engage the Community. Send teams to engage the area with the gospel of Christ. Send leaders who will connect with community networks.
Plant a Church. Different areas and different people groups need churches that look different as they carry the great news of Jesus to people who need to know Him. Church is not a one-size-fits-all, but we do have one Savior who gave His life for all.
Pray as to what area God would have you and your church adopt. Then email your name, the name and city of your church, and the zip code you adopt to Charlotte Barbo.
Perhaps God wants you to adopt one of the areas that has a church but the population per SBC church is more than 20,000. Ohio has more than 70 of those zip code areas.
Perhaps God wants your church to adopt a zip code that is not on the list. Do it! As I attend various events and locations within the state, I am reminded that the world has come to Ohio. I frequently hear people speaking in languages that don’t sound like mine. Jesus loves those who speak different languages and come from different cultures just as much as He love me. They need to know that love of Christ, who gave His life for them also. Perhaps your church is situated in an area that another church within your facilities could reach a different section of people. Pray about what God would have your church do. Develop leaders from your church to engage the community. Open your doors for another church to begin.
Pray. Develop leaders. Engage. Plant a church.
You can learn more about the specific locations without Southern Baptist witness by researching on MissionInsite any of the zip codes listed. Information on how to register to use the demographic tool can be found at https://www.scbo.org/content/missioninsite-demographics