When we returned to Louisville, we began to fervently pray about where God wanted us to plant – and the Lord continually laid Wilmington on our hearts. After graduation from the Pastors College in the summer of 2017, we returned to Charlotte to do a church planter residency at Crossway Community Church. During the residency, we visited Wilmington every month to sit with pastors and anyone who would meet with us. Each visit left us yearning to return back – especially as we met the precious people here.
As the Holy Spirit began to burden our hearts for Wilmington, our research began to reveal several clear reasons why Wilmington is a strategic location for church planting:
- North Carolina has long been “home” for our families and has a lot to offer. From the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains in the west to its sandy Atlantic beaches in the east, North Carolina continues to be a top destination for families, singles, business people, and retirees.
- Situated on the southeastern tip of the state, Wilmington itself is a beautiful coastal city with a large historic district and a top-rated riverfront along the Cape Fear River. Boasting a busy tourism industry and a growing economy, the Port City’s 120,000 person population continues to grow every year.
- Wilmington is a top city for job growth and was recently listed 19 (out of 200) on Forbes’ Best Places for Business and Careers list.
- Wilmington is home to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a 16,500 student campus and the fastest growing in the UNC system. It was also ranked among the best in the nation on US News & World Report’s list of 2019 Best Graduate Schools.
- Wilmington’s population is expected to grow by 56% by the year 2040. That is an additional 54,000 people projected to move here over the next 20 years.
- Wilmington’s greatest job growth is happening in the finance, education, healthcare, and tourism industries. Six local companies were listed on Inc. Magazine’s Fastest Growing Private Companies list; experts in UNCW’s Cameron School of Business show that the region is experiencing steady economic growth at a rate that will soon outpace both the state and nation.
The above statistics show us that the city of Wilmington is fast becoming a popular place to live! And yet, as its population grows, so too does the number of people who do not know Jesus. Census data shows that a little over half of the city’s population claims no religion and about 45% are Christian (2010 census). We are encouraged by the pastors and churches that are already doing a great gospel work here and we can see that God is on the move in Wilmington! But we can also see that there are still many who have yet to hear the good news of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.
This is why we’ve come here. The river of the gospel is flowing through the Port City and we want to jump in and be a part of the work God is doing!
Do you want to be a part of what God is doing? Send us a message.
Grace City Church Wilmington
Winter Park Elementary School
204 MacMillan Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28403