If you’ve been a part of the Georgia Baptist Convention for any length of time, you’ve probably heard that our state is changing both demographically and culturally. For example, the metropolitan Atlanta area is on the fast track for being a majority-minority region. As believers of the Gospel, we’ve been called to embrace the changing demographics culture and seek ways to reach the growing and changing population make-up for Christ. Acts 17:26-27 is clear that as believers we have been called to reach all people.
Last month journalist Maina Mwaura sat down with a diverse group of ministry leaders at First Baptist Church of Duluth. Their agenda was to discuss what they’re seeing on the horizon and what God has not only taught them about the changing culture around them, but also what He has allowed them to experience. During this multicultural, roundtable discussion, group members reviewed the highs and lows of reaching a diverse population, explaining why they believe that Georgia Baptists should want to eagerly learn and live out what it means to see here what we will one day see in heaven.
Just like our state, the diverse group of panel members each conveyed their unique understanding of the issue. At the same time, they admitted that, as believers, if we don’t embrace the changing population, we face the risk of dying. Throughout the conversation one thing became very clear. Each one member was passionate and thankful that God called them to be a part of His church for such a time as this.
The roundtable included: Pastor Mark Hearn and Youth Pastor Todd Jones of First Baptist, Duluth; Howard Koepka, associational missions strategist, Noonday Baptist Association; Pam Hardy, whose husband, Dexter, is pastor of LifePoint Church in Marietta; and Tray Burch, youth pastor at Berean Christian Church, a conservative, non-GBC church in Gwinnett County.