United Van Lines, the moving company, just released it’s 38th annual domestic migration study (how many people move in and out of each state).
The map shows the states where people are moving to and from.
The old church growth theory goes that churches grow fastest in places that are growing fastest. On paper, since some percentage of new residents are looking for a church, if you’re church is there and welcoming, it will grow just because of the influx.
If you’re a church planter or pastor in those blues states, more people are moving to your state than out, so it would be wise to creatively welcome new residents. Some potential ways to do that:
- Send new residents a welcome packet in the mail.
- Provide lots of user-friendly entry points into the church, especially for people who are looking for new friends.
- Provide groups for all ladies and moms.
- Don’t shut down your church ministries in the summer (that’s when many people move).
- Create fellowship activities.
- Offer a sermon series on adjusting to new circumstances (stepping out on faith, seeing opportunities, adjusting to sudden change, making new friends, etc.)
Obviously, churches reach people all over the country by loving people in a way that is relevant to their ministry context. And, of course, new residents move into every state, so there are always new people arriving in your area. Showing hospitality is a biblical value.
Church planters, however, should be aware of growth trends for the simple fact that more churches will be needed in the growing states just to keep up with the growth.