Reach is a people in process. Since the fall of 2019 we have been doubling down on our commitment to be a gospel-centered, anti-racist church that is growing in diversity. We have a long way to go, but we are on our way. Catch up on our story and find resources for your own journey below.
Way back in 2017, during a years-long study of the story of God in all of the Bible, we studied God's desire for his church to be a people of all nations, for all nations, united in their worship of Jesus. Realizations happened. Commitments were made. We declared our intent to take meaningful steps forward.
We chose Ephesians as the next book of the Bible to study in-depth together, largely so we could focus on God's passion for unity — with him, and with one another.
In April 2019, our friend, Pastor Eugene Cho clarified how there is zero tension between the Great Commission to make disciples and the Greatest Commandment to love your neighbor. He also prophetically encouraged us to not give up when being a justice-oriented church gets hard...because it will.
A few months later we dug deeper into God's foundational commitment to righteousness and justice throughout all of scripture, and continued to fully take on His passion for these things as our own.
In November, we officially began Reach United, our commitment to pursue true unity by talking about things that too-often divide us. Our first act was to agree that acknowledging all people as being made in the Image of God (imago dei) changes everything.
In January of 2020 we began The Gospel & Race, part one of Reach United. Pastor Eugene Cho called us to walk through Samaria, that is, to intentionally seek out those pushed to the margins, affirm their value, and invite them to come near...like Jesus.
Next, Pastor Brian went first sharing his story as it pertains to race, and declared that although progress as been made, Dr. Martin Luther King would still have a dream.
To conclude this first installment of The Gospel & Race, we clarified several reasons why we will continue to talk about race as a church moving forward.
Just a few months later, our conversation on race came to the forefront once again in the wake of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Megan Johnson bravely led us in time of reflection and repentance in regard to racism.
Then Pastor Brian declared how only God can bring us true peace (shalom), and help us to see and share the suffering of others — the same way Jesus did for us. This call to empathy and compassion was an important moment for us.
As we approached Juneteenth, we celebrated the resiliency of black joy, and reflected on God's call to walk in true freedom...together.
In the wake of George Floyd’s death and the international outcry that followed, Pastor Brian McCormack and Dr. Thomas Beavers (The Star Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama) were interviewed by Pastor Scot Pollok on the Forefront Podcast. Together they discussed racial reconciliation, protests, privilege, and the Church's role in reconciliation.
United Conversations are candid and compelling expansions on important topics introduced in our 2020 series, Reach United. This series began with four interviews surrounding The Gospel & Race. Listen in as everyday folks from Reach share their perspective and their story in regard to race as they follow Jesus.
Women from Reach began an ongoing conversation about the Gospel and race, inviting women of color talk about racism in our day.
Here's our list of recommended readings. We do not fully endorse all the ideas put forward by this list of authors. We encourage you to read with discernment, and to let us know if you need help knowing where to start or processing what you are learning.