That’s the question I asked a couple of years ago when approached by some friends about the possibility of planting a church in the capital of the New South. My initial perception was that Atlanta was a city with a church on every corner in the heart of the Bible belt, but after a little digging I learned that my perspective was not entirely accurate. Yes, Atlanta does have its share of churches; some are even vibrant and growing. But as the city’s population has exploded in the last two decades, not only has the growth of the church failed to keep pace; church attendance has been steadily declining. This has left some portions of metro Atlanta with little to no clear gospel witness. This is certainly the case with the southern part of Dekalb County, a community on the eastside of the city.
Like many metro areas, South Dekalb is marked by a number of significant social issues. The crime rate is high, the school system is underperforming, abortion is systemic, and fatherlessness is epidemic. To complicate the situation, this relatively affluent, predominantly African-American area has become a destination for prosperity gospel teachers, who end up increasing rather than lifting the community’s burdens. In spite of its wealth and in spite of its religiousness, South Dekalb is experiencing a good deal of brokenness.
I believe this clearly demonstrates that the solution to the heartaches of our world is not simply more money or man-made religion, but rather the life-transforming message of the gospel.
As I look at our neighborhood and observe the hurt, my heart is burdened to see both individual lives and the community as a whole transformed. No mere human message or tactics has the power to bring about this type of change. For this reason, it is our hope that God would use our growing team of ministry partners to plant a gospel-centered church in a part of Atlanta where the good news of Jesus is often assumed, sidelined, or even altogether denied.
We pray that God would use this church not only to reach our immediate community, but to raise up a generation of future leaders who would be instruments of change in their homes and in their neighborhoods, both in Atlanta and beyond.
If you feel God calling you to lay down your life, to leverage your talents and occupation to represent Christ in a community where the true gospel has been tragically obscured, we would love to pray with you about joining our team. If you would like to hear more about our vision and burden for our city, click HERE.