What are we doing here?
Coeur d’Alene Idaho is the largest city in the North Idaho Panhandle. Its cultural influence extends north into Canada, east into Montana, and south to Moscow and beyond. It is in some ways connected with Spokane, Washington, but maintains its own distinct culture and feeling of community.
Coeur d’Alene along with adjacent towns (Dalton Gardens, Hayden and Post Falls) has been a major population growth area. With this explosive growth there has also been some addition in the number and size of some churches. However, Southern Baptists are sparsely represented. There is one other SBC church in Coeur d’Alene and one in Post Falls. There are currently no Southern Baptist churches in Hayden where we are planning to build and relocate. The spiritual climate of the area is one that for many people may include some church attendance, but there is often a lack of commitment in the form of church membership, tithing, or serving in the church. Also, because of a mixture of many diverse beliefs among supposedly Christian churches, many of the people who consider themselves Christians are still very confused about the Gospel.
While an estimated 25% of the population was a member of some congregation, only 6.6% of the total population of Kootenai County were members of evangelical protestant congregations in 2009. The Roman Catholic population represents 5.9% but that is supposedly 7,941 people attending 8 catholic congregations! 7.9% of the population are members of congregations in the category “Other” which may include some non-denominational Christian churches, but may also include various cults and sects that do not teach orthodox Christianity. So even if we include mainline denominations (2.8%) and half of “Other”(4%) that leaves us with only about 13.4% of Kootenai as members of non-Catholic, Christian congregations.
Of course, statistics don’t tell the whole story. There are many Christians who may not technically be members of churches, but let’s be honest. Most churches tend to over report their membership or have members who are no longer attending. There could be members claimed by three or more churches!
What do all these numbers mean? 104,922 people in our county aren't claimed by any sort of religious body. Of the 32,553 who are, only about half of them are members of churches that teach the Gospel more or less as we understand it. That leaves us with about 122,000 friends and neighbors who are not part of a church where they will get to hear the true Gospel preached. Anecdotal evidence would suggest that even the 6.6% evangelical protestant population is full of people who are still in need of authentic Bible teaching.
The numbers mean that we do have something very great to share with those around us. Please pray for us as we try to obey our Lord and share God's plan for redemption with the world.
All statistics were collected from www.thearda.com.