Reaching our cities with the Gospel



I think most pastors would admit that our churches can improve when it comes to reaching our community. Some of the most community-centered and creative ideas I see originate from the Acts 29 Network. Here in my home city of Omaha, NE the Acts 29 network planted a church East of 108th street, where Gospel-centered churches are quite rare (Core Community Church). Core ministers to the unfortunate, homeless and those wanting to learn English. They are doing tremendous work in the Eastern half of Omaha often neglected.

Recently I came across another impressive Acts 29 church: Oikos Fellowship in Washington. The church is producing an excellent monthly magazine for the lost of their city. As you will see the magazine is a creative way to gauge the local thoughts about Christianity and communicate the message culture needs (like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God). The magazine also highlights local ministries. It appears all their writings, photos and graphics originated from their own people, too. You can download the August magazine here.

In a church culture often centered around programs for Christians, this ministry philosophy goes a long way, I think, in pressing the church from its comfortable weekly activities out and into the community.

Anyways, grace-centered props to Oikos Fellowship.

Humble orthodoxy in the visual age

This week I have been positing several pictures I created as a college ministry leader on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Omaha. These cards were printed as 4×6 photographs and created to introduce college students to writers of the past. From the response, they were well received.

The challenge in a visually based society is to present messages that include well-done visual elements. As you can see, being visually appealing does not mean compromise to the message of the Gospel and the urgent pleadings with sinners to be reconciled. Quite the opposite! Biblical churches would benefit from thinking of preaching and pastoral ministry within the visual framework.

And I’m not talking about merely running some general landscape nature pictures behind text. Think about what picture captures the message. Think visually. What can I show them that reinforces what I am trying to tell them?

And so to close out the week, here is a graphic design I created for a series on worldliness, sexual sin, intellectual pride and laziness. I called it Spiritual Biohazards of the College Life. It was created on PhotoShop Elements 2.0, an inexpensive graphic arts program, using three free images from the web.

Keep pressing on! – Tony