However, we did not undertake this process alone. Bishop Iker have been very supportive and involved as well. In fact, the diocese has helped invest the vast majority of the funding needed to enter into this consultation. They see value in this opportunity to discover what is needful to better be positioned to fulfill our mission to be disciples who make disciples of Jesus Christ.
As you may know, we are in one of the fastest growing areas of the DFW metroplex. In a meeting I attended on demographics not too long ago I learned that our region is projected to grow by 20-33% between 2012-2017. That is in comparison to the national growth average of 3.9%. Out of those families moving to our region, research also shows that between 28-33% have no faith affiliation. Think about that for a moment. When asked on a census to check a box on their religious preferences, those individuals specifically choose to indicate no faith background. And the majority of those in our surrounding zip codes are in their 30s.
We certainly have our work cut out for us! There are so many around Saint Barnabas who are disconnected from God and His Church. And reaching them is not about the numbers, but about the Gospel. Shaping our Future Together will allow us time to ponder, pray, and begin to plan how to better reach these individuals and families. It will also afford us a chance to discern and hear how to better meet the needs of existing members as they grow in their walk with the Lord.
We could embark upon this process on a leadership level. However, we value what you have to contribute to the conversation. We want to hear your needs, expectations, and desires for Saint Barnabas. As we enter the final week of preparation, I hope you will make time to be a part of this important moment in the life of our church.