Huntsville is a unique city. On one hand, it is a burgeoning hub of science and technology that continues to bring in jobs by the thousands, despite a slow national economic climate. It is a melting pot of people from not only all over the country, but all over the world. Each of them have their own story and their own background, with different personalities, interests, and skills that come together to truly make Huntsville a very modern and diverse place. There are engineers and artists, teachers and students, people that are young, old, rich, poor, and everything in between.
On the other hand, Huntsville is a Southern city that is located in the heart of the Bible Belt. This region has a tradition of being predominantly socially conservative, with high evangelical church attendance. This heritage is evident with the sheer number of church buildings that are scattered throughout the area, sometimes even next door to one another.
But things are changing.
We are living in a time where church attendance in the South is either plateaued or declining. What once used to be an important part of our culture is becoming more and more insignificant, as a new generation finds church to be less essential to their lives.
From the year 2000 to 2010, Huntsville grew by 22,000 people, more than any other city in Alabama. One of the areas of greatest growth has been in the southwestern corner of the city, off of Zeirdt Road. In 2000, the population of this community was approximately 3,146 people. By 2010, it had ballooned to 6,040. The current population is now estimated to be almost 7,000 people. These projections are pointing to a continued increase in residents over the next several years, as this area is located adjacent to Redstone Arsenal and within minutes of Cummings Research Park and Bridgestreet Towne Center.
With all of the excitement this growth is bringing to our community come several new needs. We need new roads, new stores, new businesses, new homes, new schools, and also new local churches. All around us we see many people who have never really had much interest in God, spirituality, or belonging to a church, and others who have, for one reason or another, become disillusioned with the Church. Our goal is to do our part in fulfilling the Great Commission that Jesus gives us in Matthew 28:19-20:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
U.S. Census Bureau. (2012, January 31). State & County Quickfacts: Madison County, AL Retrieved February 10, 2012, from http://quickfacts.census.gov.