To find out what America likes, just visit Columbus, Ohio. Fast food companies have known this for years. Since the city is closer to overall U.S. demographics on race and income than most urban areas in the United States, Columbus has been called an ideal test market for decades.
This quintessential Midwestern city may be the biggest city you rarely think of. It's the most populous city in Ohio* and the 15th most populous in the country.
It's also a college town and home of the second largest university campus enrollment in the United States. The Ohio State Buckeyes rule the city on Saturdays in fall. It's also much, much more than a college town. Home to five Fortune 500 companies and the intersection of two major interstate highways (I-70 and I-71), Columbus's influence can be felt far beyond central Ohio.
And God has been at work in Columbus in recent years. The number of SBC churches grew by more than 60 percent from 2005 to 2012. New churches have started that are engaging sections of the community that had yet to be reached.
Yet work remains. Despite its image as a quintessentially Midwestern city, the home of the Buckeyes is also in need of the gospel. Only 12.1 percent of the population is affiliated with an evangelical church. There is also only one Southern Baptist church for every 16,021 people.
Opportunities abound in Columbus for Southern Baptists who want to work together to push back lostness in an urban area. No matter what demographic you feel most equipped to reach, you will likely find it in Columbus: rich, poor, middle-class; young, old and in-between. Its uniqueness as a college town makes it an ideal location from which to reach the world. In 2010-11 Ohio State welcomed 6,082 international students to its Columbus campus, the seventh highest total in the country.
How can God use you and your church to help to push back lostness in Columbus? To find out, visit namb.net and click "Send Me."
*Based on the size of the city, not the metro area.