The Association of Religion Data Archives recently released US Congregational Membership reports using the 2010 Census Info. You can also use their reports and GIS maps to zoom in on specific regions, states and cities for highly detailed information. Given the information provided, 5.5% of Seattle is Evangelical Protestant. That number jumps to 11% as you include other groups, including Mainline Protestant, in King County as a whole. There is debate around what it means to be a Christian, but for the sake of argument lets average those numbers in order to broaden the circle to include some slightly outside Evangelicalism, while tightening the circle of the Mainline. That leaves us with: 8.25%.
The population of Seattle, per the 2010 US Census, was 608,660. If 8.25% of Seattle is Christian, that would be 50,214. Let’s assume church growth of existing churches is only off-setting current church decline in the area (even that is generous). To double the number of Christians in Seattle, we would need an additional 25 mega churches (defined as 2,000+) or 251 churches with 200 people - that’s just within Seattle city limits. Clearly there is no room for territorialism among existing churches.
At times I’m asked, “Why would you plant a church downtown?” How could we not? Look at these numbers. Others have commented, “Well, it seems that ______ church has it pretty well covered.” Look at the graph above. This report says there are 1,204,580 people in King County that claimed no religious affiliation. That’s over 1 million people. Most of them are closest to the City Center. There is not merely “room” for more churches. There is a real, vital, critical need for church revitalization and new church planting in our city and region. If you’re interested in planting in Seattle, give me a shout.