I was doing some research for a newsletter article on the need for starting new churches in Chicagoland and was amazed at the numbers I encountered. We normally use a multiplier when determining the “churchedness” of an area. The multiplier looks like this: Population of city minus the number of churches in the city multiplied by 250. The sum of that equation helps us see how “churched” an area is. Here were some of the numbers around O’Hare Airport:
Arlington Heights: 75,101 – 10,500 (42 churches x 250) = 64,601
Des Plaines: 58,617 – 14,000 (56 churches x 250) = 44,617
Elk Grove Village: 33,127 – 4,750 (19 churches) = 28,377
Niles: 29,931 – 4500 (18 churches) = 25,431
I used the multiplier on the seven cities around O’Hare which yielded a population of about 300,000. (This is 3% of the population of Chicagoland.) The result: Even if every church was filled to capacity twice (the average attendance for a Protestant Church in America is 124), there would not be room in the existing churches for over 80% of the population. The area is vastly underchurched!!
This was just one area of Chicagoland! The numbers were overwhelming and energizing at the same time. Overwhelming, because the need is so huge! Energizing because God has given Ignite a calling to start churches that reach people with the life-changing message of Jesus. I know that every church we start “chips away” at the kingdom of our enemy. This is why we do what we do.
In closing, I am reminded of one of my favorite verses, “To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.” (Colossians 1: 29)