Regional Focus: West

Drop 29.68 north, 179.47 west into your GPS. Survey your new surroundings. You are halfway between the Aleutian, Hawaiian and Samoan island chains and a long way from Guam or Okinawa. Liquid vastness far greater than the open plains of the American West engulfs you, and you are alone. You are almost literally in the middle of nowhere. Now put yourself there for eternity.

While difficult to imagine, that absolute lostness is comparable to the spiritual lostness found in the West. Whether you're talking about Jackpot, Nev., Nothing, Ariz.., Hungry Horse, Mont.—or Hollywood, San Francisco or Seattle. The American West is home to both some of the most sparsely and densely populated areas of North America—as well as some of the continent's most lost.

The vast spiritual lostness describes just about the whole region. Almost nine out of 10 residents in the West have no relationship with Christ. That's 62 million people—87 percent of the population—who are lost. And there are very few people in the region to tell them about Jesus—just one church for every 16,000 people.

So the next time you find yourself in Lost Nation, Nev., or Seattle, Wash.—remember that the people around you may well be lost and have no real hope.

Meet the West

Population: 74,254,423
SBC Congregations: 4,568 
Population Per Congregation: 16,255
Ethnic Diversity: 
White: 52% African American: 5% Hispanic: 29% Asians: 11% Native American 3%
Number of Lost: 63 million 
Percentage of the Population Lost: 86 percent 
Population unaffiliated with any religious body: 57%
Population affiliaited with an evangelical church: 10.1%
Based on 2012 statistics.

"Most people in San Francisco don't go to church and don't think there's any reason to go to church. You have to be able to speak into the world they operate in. We are actively involved in "being Jesus" to our city." —Ben Pilgreen, church planter, Mission District, San Francisco

A new house went up every 20 minutes during the 2004 building boom that seized Las Vegas and its sprawling suburbs. Las Vegas has a population of 567,641 and only 88 Southern Baptist churches.

West Region City Missionaries >>