Amidst the chaotic times in which we live, churches, including St. John in Athens, have been forced to cultivate new and innovative ways to reach out with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Technology has become an essential mode of communication for ministry. As professional church workers, we have had to embrace, learn, and develop technology within our congregations at a rapid pace. If it is online worship, zoom, social media, YouTube, congregational websites, email, etc. The church is navigating the necessity technology in proclaiming the Gospel.
Across our cultural landscape in the United States, issues of race, socio-economic divides, quarantine, depression, abuse, and the like, drive questions of morality, conscience, social justice. We as a church must proactively be the voice of Christ. Boldly we must bring the Gospel not just from our Sunday pulpits but also through honest loving relationships in our local communities. Through these new means of technology, we must bring the Gospel to secular popular discourse. Cultural relevance is essential.
St. John in Athens sees this opportunity. Through prayer, congregational support, and loan rebate funding from Texas CEF, our congregation has renovated an old storage room in our office facility into a podcast audio/visual center. A weekly podcast titled “The Gamut” is being developed to cover the entire “Gamut” of issues we individually, congregationally, and within our community face. It opens the door for unique honest, loving conversations beyond Sunday mornings. We as a congregation are building relationships which cover the entire “Gamut” of our community. We will be inviting guests in from civic leaders, to other denominational leaders, to community members to address their experiences across racial, socio-economic, political, denominational, and personal lives.
Too often we fall into the trap of preaching at our community instead of listening to those who walk different paths than we do individually and corporately. As James writes, “Be slow to speak and quick to listen.” Only by listening can conversations happen to bring reconciliation through Christ.
Pastor Seth Davidson