Location 3 Launch: Getting to Know Williamson County

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We held the first-ever official gathering of our third location on July 22, on the campus of the Central location. It was so fun seeing the room fill with people who will come to know one another as part of the same congregation over the coming months and years. I was humbled by the potential and enthusiasm I felt in the room. 

To kick things off, we spent our first meeting talking about the part of town where our congregation will be located once we find a worship location—the Cool Springs area of Williamson County.

The 2017 Trends Report from the Williamson County Chamber of Commerce reveals some fascinating insight into what lies ahead for this area south of Nashville.

 

Population Growth and Makeup:

Williamson County is the fastest growing county in Tennessee, at a rate of 153% by 2040. (Rutherford County, just to the east, is next, at 99%.)

  • As of 2017, the population of Williamson County was sitting at 216,717
  • Between 2010 and 2040, Williamson County is expected to grow by 153%
  • Before the end of this decade, the population will top a quarter million
  • Over the next two decades, it will grow to over a half million
  • The median age of the Williamson County resident is 38.9
  • Williamson County is 49% male, 51% female
  • 60% of Williamson County residents were born in a different state. As this number goes up dramatically over the next two decades, it will be because of people relocating.

 

Job Market:

2017 saw four consecutive quarters as the fastest growing job market in the nation.

  • 1/3 of the fastest growing corporations in Tennessee are in Williamson County
  • The number of jobs grew by 29% from 2010-2015
  • Over half of the businesses in Williamson County (3324) employ 1-4 people. We live in a very entrepreneurial city, and in a very entrepreneurial part of town
  • 34,595 Williamson County residents work in surrounding counties
  • 49,443 people from surrounding counties work in Williamson
  • 148,699 people drive through Cool Springs on I-65 every day

 

Growing a Church in a City Full of Churches

The entire area south of Nashville is exploding and will continue to boom for the next quarter century, barring the unexpected. Where are these people coming from? From all over the world, but according to the 2017 Chamber of Commerce Trends Report, most are coming from areas with higher costs of living—LA, New York, Las Vegas, Chicago, etc. The Nashville metro area is quickly living up to the name “Third Coast,” attracting east coast and west coast people and businesses looking for less expensive, slower paced, roomier places to set up life and work.

This leads to the very valid question of why we are establishing another site, and hope to continue establishing more. Nashville is a city with many great churches. Why establish another congregation in Williamson County? Because we don’t have nearly enough churches.

Studies of the church culture in Nashville reveal that 3 out of 4 people in Nashville don’t go to church. Pay attention as you drive through your neighborhood on your way to church some Sunday and see if this holds up. What are your neighbors doing? The truth is, without another single new resident moving into the Nashville area, we are already way behind. We already need many more outward-facing, inviting congregations to engage friends and neighbors with the offer of a hospitable faith community.  

When we understand this, we realize that we are not competing with any other church in town. Rather, we are on the same team. We need each other. I pray that there would be many thriving, Christ-centered, gospel-preaching, Biblically grounded churches close to us—congregations we can befriend, help, encourage, and serve alongside. 

The rapid population growth in Nashville, and in Williamson County, in particular, is a result of people moving here—new residents. As we launch our new site with Christ Pres, this is our target: people who are new to town and people without a church home. We will not poach congregants from other churches. I ask anyone I talk to who is interested in our new site to join me in that commitment. Trading church members aren’t evangelism or outreach. It's self-serving, near-sighted, and detrimental to the overall goal we all share to see the Gospel reach our city. If you are part of a Christ-centered, gospel-believing, scripture preaching church, stay there. Invest. Serve, They need you. You need them. And we all need as many thriving churches in this city as we can possibly have. 

I love this city. I love the local church. I see our area of town, and I see a field ripe for harvest. I see lots of material wealth and with that a tremendous amount of spiritual poverty. I see immigrant communities. I see people moving to this city in the hopes of finding out who they are, and no matter where they look for those answers, there is only one place they will find them—in Christ. 

May our reputation as a church be that we are people who love others to life because of and through our love for Christ and this city.