Population projections suggest that by 2050 over 81.7 million people who do not know Jesus will live in the South. This will affect the social, spiritual, economic and political climate of this region and consume even the nominal Christian influence that exists inside the Bible Belt. Jesus says new wine requires fresh wineskins (Mark 2:22), and therefore a new generation of churches is needed to serve a new era in the South. In fact, it is estimated that 1400 new churches will need to be planted every year simply in order to keep pace with the population growth.
Auburn and Opelika (both of which are among the fastest growing cities in Alabama) are in a unique position to accomplish three strategic objectives toward advancing the Kingdom in the midst of this changing context:
- The local racial diversity provides a platform for a multiethnic church to be a prominent, counter-cultural alternative in a region where racial segregation remains a major social issue.
- Auburn graduates statistically move to Birmingham, Nashville, Atlanta and Houston. Equipping these students for ministry during their college days, will position them for critical impact in these regional culture-making centers.
- Auburn University attracts thousands of international students every year. There is the potential for global impact through the discipleship of these students, particularly those from restricted-access countries where it is illegal for missionaries to receive visas.