Utah County, Utah
Inside look at the specifics & dynamics

Utah county sits in a valley surrounded by majestic mountains that proclaim the majesty of the Creator. In the valley of Utah county there almost 700,000 people of which 95% are Mormons and only 1% are Evangelical Christians making it the least reached Metro area in the U.S. Not only is Utah county unreached, they are incredibly religious and have their own unique culture that has formed around their Mormon religion and beliefs. 

One of the challenges is that though Utah county is in the U.S. it is a unique mission field. In order to reach Mormons with the Gospel it requires a missionary approach of understanding their culture and worldview. So in order to effectively plant a church and reach people with the Gospel, one must have a missionary approach. 

The Mormon culture is a place that takes pride in its aesthetics both in their communities but also in their families. There is great importance in presentation because one’s worth is derived from one’s performance in the Mormon culture and religion. Mormon culture and Utah county are beautiful on the outside, yet they are living under the oppressive and crushing weight of legalism. 

Some statistics reveal the underlying spiritual need. Utah county leads the nation in online pornography sales, anti-depressant usage, and prescription drug abuse. The teen suicide rate is double the national average. These are people who have been deceived and lied to thinking that they know Jesus, yet are living under the crushing weight of sin, guilt, and shame. 

Mormon culture is a place that is incredibly hard to plant churches because when a Mormon puts their faith in Christ they risk losing their jobs, families, and friends. Mormonism is more than a religion, it is a culture and way of life. 

Many church planters in Utah say that it takes 5-7 years for a Mormon to come to Christ from when they first begin questioning their religion and hearing the true Gospel of Jesus. In order to reach Mormons it takes patience and kindness to be friends and give them time and space to explore and learn about the Gospel of Jesus. 

The internet and readily available information has caused a lot of Mormon’s to question their belief’s and are hungry for the truth. Creating space for people to wrestle, ask questions, learn, and belong before believing are vital. The culture also places an incredible value on children and the family, which creates unique opportunities to reach families as a whole. 

One of the unique challenges of planting a church in Utah county is the availability of meeting spaces and resistance to ‘evangelical Christian churches’. Finding a public space to rent or purchasing property is not only expensive but sometimes difficult when they know it is for a Christian church. 

This along with the reluctance of former Mormons who trust in Jesus to give to the church, due to being deceived into tithing to the Mormon church, create a challenge to fund both pastoral staff and to afford a church building. This creates opportunities to see ministries done in smaller, more authentic, relational, and reproducible ways. 

While there are incredible challenges and obstacles to church planting in Utah county. The obstacles also present opportunities to pivot and adjust to focus on the mission of making fully committed disciples and planting churches in a healthy, effective, and reproducible way. The opportunities are abundant, but the opportunities require a culturally sensitive and missional church planting effort.