"In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it."
One of the most unique aspects of living in Utah is that, unlike most of the United States, Utah has never had a Christian footprint. So those that live here are a part of the dichotomy of a pre-Christian and post-Christian culture and environment...it is fascinating.
While the majority of the state is overwhelmingly Mormon (at least culturally), there are a few pockets that are robustly agnostic. But no matter where you live in Utah, if you are a Christian, you are a minority. And when you stop to really look at the numbers, it can be quite shocking.
Salt Lake City is the most diverse area in Utah. Within Salt Lake County there is a split of 45% LDS (Latter Day Saints/Mormon) and 40% agnostic/unreligious. Of the remaining 15%, just over 2.5% is Protestant Christian. As you get into the city center, similar to outdoor hubs across the state like Moab, Park City and Cedar City, the percentage of agnostics sky rockets. A large peice of this is a contribution by millenials that have distanced themselves from religion...or as I like to call them, Wandering Mosaics.
Just south of Salt Lake is Utah County, which hosts Provo and Brigham Young University. Within Utah County's population, 91% identify themselves as LDS. 91%! of the remaining 9%, Protestant Christians make up .3%. Yes, .3%. That is 3 out of 1000 people.
This is why we continually share with others that Utah is a place of GREAT NEED and great opportunity. You'll be hard-pressed to find another place in the U.S. with as great a need for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus and the grace and redemption He brings. Utah is a land of incredible beauty; both it's natural landmarks and urban centers are gorgeous and pristine. But there is a darkness here that is in need of the one true LIGHT of the WORLD.
As we end our first semester as a Fellows program, our greatest need remains the same: We need people who believe in the good news of the Gospel to come and move to Salt Lake City, join our community and live as SALT and LIGHT in this place. Whether you are a college student looking into the Fellows Program, or you believe God has called you into missions, or you are looking to engage with a new culture and new place...would you consider joining us in Salt Lake City?
(It is a bold question, we know...but we serve a bold God; so we will continue to ask and pray for more believers to join us in this place!)
Secondly, we continue to ask for FUNDING. We do not have the financial resources many churches in the U.S. are accostomed to, which means we get creative here. But we have big dreams and passions for what God is doing and will do in this city and our church and ministry through the Salt Lake Fellows and we are always in need of financial partnership. To get specific, in the next 3 months we are needing to raise $5000 for the remainder of the 16-17 Fellows year. (I had sent out the need of $6000 in our latest prayer email and already $1000 has come in, praise God!)
If you would like to make an end of the year donation (or any time of the year for that matter!) you can click on this button which will take you to our PayPal page hosted by Mission Studio. All donations are tax-exempt:
This advent season, I have been daily meditating on John 1:5 "...the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it." If you believe in Jesus, our Emmanuel, this is your only HOPE, just as this is my only HOPE. The One True Light shines in the darkness and the darkness CANNOT overcome the Light. And Christ's light is shining here in Salt Lake, though it may be dim, though we may feel alone, the darkness has not overcome the Light of Christ.
So, let this be your joy this season...no matter what areas of your life are overwhelmed by darkness, brokenness and chaos today, the True Light brings hope and healing and joy. He comes in to dwell with us, share life with us and enable us to love one another. So we get to magnify this light with the world...and it starts in our homes, with our families; in our communities with our neighbors; at our workplaces, with our colleagues.
"This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine."