Urban Missions and Service Experiences for Youth, Adult, and Family Groups

Cities » Nashville


Facts and Figures

Nashville has grown over 18% during the last six years and is the largest metropolitan area in the central South.

Over 600,000 people live in the Nashville and Davidson county area, which encompasses 526 square miles. The Nashville Economic Market encompasses 10 surrounding counties with a population of more than 1.5 million.

Nashville’s population is 60% Anglo-American, 28% African-American, and 10% Hispanic, and other races (including Asian and Middle Eastern) make up the remaining nearly 3%. Nashville has the largest Kurdish community in the United States, numbering approximately 11,000.

Did You Know That…

Although Nashville is renowned as music recording center and tourist destination, its largest industry is actually health care. Nashville is home to more than 300 health care companies including Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private operator of hospitals in the world. As of 2012, it is estimated that the health care industry contributes $30 billion per year and 200,000 jobs to the Nashville area economy.

Over the last 4 decades, Nashville has been the second biggest music production center (after New York) in the U.S. As of 2006, Nashville’s music industry is estimated to have a total economic impact of $6.4 billion per year and to contribute 19,000 jobs to the Nashville area.

With 111,379 college students in 18 colleges and universities, Nashville is the third largest college town in America.

Nashville has over 700 churches, and is the home to many of the denominational headquarters and publishing companies. It is considered “The Buckle of the Bible Belt.”

There are 30,000 acres of lakes in the Nashville area.

People, Problems, Issues

A little over 122,000 people in Nashville live below the poverty line, which means they make a combined salary of $22,000 a year for a family of 4.

In Nashville, more than 10,000 families have an annual income of less than $10,000. Families with children account for 34% of the homeless population and are the fastest growing segment of the homeless community.

In January 2013, the city counted 2,335 homeless people sleeping on the streets.

Insights on the City

by Jes Williams (Former City Director)

Whether it’s the creativity from the music industry, or the constant research, studying, and discussions from the numerous colleges, hospitals, and healthcare corporations, Nashville is filled with energy and life. Having been voted No. 1 City in America for Business Relocations and Expansions by Expansion Management Magazine two years in a row, this city is booming with economic and industrial growth. And yet, with its southern hospitality, people still feel like they are visiting or moving to a small town.

With all the “success”, sometimes it is difficult to remember the contrasting side of Nashville. There are folks living off minimum wage in a city requiring twice that income to survive. We have a public school system trying to overcome its 40% drop-out rate. The chronic homelessness statistics are 20-30% higher than the national average. People are struggling, and not just to “make it big.”

Statistically, Nashville’s problems aren’t as extreme as some larger cities, but they are still a testimony to a number of people hurting. Jesus called us to be the hands and feet of Christ. Thankfully, there are a number of churches and non-profit organizations here in Nashville heeding that call. They have committed to serving those who are economically, physically, mentally, and/or spiritually poor and it is a privilege for our groups to be a small part of the ministry being done through them.

CSM Ministry Site Sampler

Fifty Forward serves seniors that in many cases live with family members that work during the day and it is unsafe for them to be on their own throughout the day. Many of the participants have mild forms of Alzheimer's and dementia. CSM groups help with crafts, playing bingo, but primarily, just provide conversations. They love interacting with our groups because they do not get to spend time with young people on a regular basis.

The Salvation Army provides breakfast to many homeless in conjunction with East Nashville Co-op. The Army takes a large bus that is actually a “kitchen on wheels” and serves a warm breakfast to those who are hungry. CSM groups assist by helping prepare the meal, serving the food, and fellowshipping with the guests.

Campus for Human Development is one of the two homeless day shelters in Nashville. They offer a number of services to the homeless population including job training, art classes, GED classes, and mailboxes (because you can’t get a job if you don’t have an address). They are very focused on hospitality and respect. As soon as we enter the door, we are to call the homeless “guests” here.

Nashville CARES offers the community a variety of services focusing on issues surrounding HIV. Their programs include: Food pantry – distributes food to persons with HIV that has progressed to a point that they aren’t able to do the grocery shopping for themselves. Hot Meals – are distributed to persons that are unable to prepare the food themselves. HIV Education Program – is probably the most important thing CARES does. They have several people in this program whose job it is to lead educational training sessions on the disease. The education class is required by Nashville CARES for anyone who volunteers to work with their organization. They speak in schools, churches, community centers, business offices, pretty much wherever they are allowed the opportunity to educate people. Heartline – is a 24 hour telephone counseling program that is offered to the community. CSM groups have done a variety of tasks for Nashville Cares including stuff envelopes, working in the food pantry, and cleaning houses/apartments of their clients.

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