While on our vision tour, we fell in love with one place in particular - both with the city and the people that we met while we visited. With a love for a city and a desire to reach a city and college students in that city, we knew in April of 2020 that God was calling us to move and plant a church in Lebanon, IL. This is the place where my (Jacob) first conversation with a resident ended with them saying to me "we need you here."
We praise God for giving us clarity in our calling and the place and people He was calling us to. We are so confident that the Lord can change the world through His work in our city. At this time, we have so many feelings: fear, confidence, hope, doubt, and an undeniable yearning to reach Lebanon and reach the world for the glory of God. We can't wait to see what God continues to do in us and through Rooted Community Church!
God was gracious to allow us (Jacob & Makenzie) to grow up in a small town. We feel that our upbringings prepared us to know and love the people in Lebanon. We already feel like we are home when we are in Lebanon.
Located in St. Claire County, Lebanon is a growing city with a population of around 4,500 as of 2019.
A very significant aspect of this area is the religious climate. In 2010, data collected in St. Claire County tells us that 49% of county residents claim no religious affiliation. This means that nearly half of the residents made it public knowledge that they have no affiliation with a church of any kind. We feel that the fields are ready for harvest and the Lord has prepared Lebanon for a new church!
The city of Lebanon hosts many community events throughout the year. We have observed from afar the desire of the residents of the city to experience community and belonging. As they seek this, we cannot wait to show our city the belonging that is provided in the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Lebanon is also home to McKendree University. McKendree is Illinois' oldest university, founded in 1828.
Current enrollment is 2,500 students. Among those students, 41 states in the United States are represented. McKendree is also home to many international students, representing 38 different countries.
God has also given us a passion and desire to reach college students. We are excited and confident that we have the opportunity to reach this campus for the sake of the gospel. As we understand more about the campus and the students that make up the student body, we see that the Lord has brought the nations to Lebanon and can see the opportunity to send students out from Lebanon to the nations! We truly believe that God desires to use this campus to reach Lebanon and the world!