Conventional wisdom usually advocates for church-planting efforts to be focused on large cities and college towns – the places where it is apparent that our nation’s culture is forged. As a rural community in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, Ellijay and surrounding Gilmer County appear to be anything but “strategic” locations for a church-planting movement to begin. But consider the following:
- The community is lost. Estimates indicate that fewer than 1 in 5 residents of Gilmer County (17.1% of the population) attends a Christian church on any given weekend.
- The community is growing. As metro-Atlanta continues to sprawl northward, population projections predict 40% growth in the population of Gilmer County between the 2010 and 2020 Censuses (from 28,292 to 39,743).
- The community is in a unique cultural moment. Gilmer County has the fifth-highest concentration of same-sex couples in Georgia: the top 2% of such densities in the state, and the top 10% of such populations in the nation.
In short, Gilmer County, GA is a uniquely strategic location in which to begin a gospel-centered church-planting movement.