On May 5th, 2010, the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal published a story about the activities of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The story's primary focus was on the growth of the Church in the Lubbock area. Understandable, since the Lubbock Stake, which had 2,381 members in 2002, now records 3,125 members, an increase of 31 percent in just eight years. This exceeds the overall growth rate of the Church. The city's overall population is 220,483 as of July 2008.
As a result of the membership surge, the original five wards, parceled out amongst two separate chapels, have now been expanded to seven, with two new wards being created just this month. One of the chapels is designated as the stake center, and is immediately adjacent to the temple. To help accommodate the new wards, a third chapel is being constructed at 114 Street and Milwaukee Avenue, and is expected to be completed within the next 18 months. Junius Merrill, Lubbock Stake public affairs director, said that the ideal ward size is 200 to 250 members, but because of the sudden increase in members, some of the wards had grown to 400 members, which becomes unwieldy and inhibits personal ministry.
Personal ministry is one of the main reasons the church is expanding. Kimberly Simon, a 28-year-old who recently joined the church, said she immediately felt welcome at Sunday services. “I really enjoyed the big family atmosphere. I didn’t feel like a stranger,” Simon said. “That feeling made me want to know more about the spiritual doctrine of the church.” She began meeting with missionaries to learn more about the church in October 2009. About six weeks later she became a baptized member, thanks to the efforts of two of the 122 full-time missionaries serving in West Texas. Find out HERE what to expect when LDS missionaries knock on your door.
Another possible reason for the Church's strong growth in Lubbock is the presence of a temple, which was dedicated in 2002. The Lubbock Temple is the fourth temple in Texas, in addition to those in Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. View this map to see the distribution of temples in the South Central U.S. Find out more about the purposes of temples HERE.
Another well-written, factual article about Latter-day Saints by a local media outlet.