AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Church leaders want to do more than preach the word. They want to also put some action behind it too.
A network of pastors are leading the way by working with city leaders to transform Augusta.
It’s called the gospel movement. Kevin Palau, an evangelist who is the son of Luis Palau, describes it as a united, sustainable effort by churches and cultural leaders to transform their city by meeting critical needs and sharing the love and message of Jesus Christ. Palau, whose father worked closely with Billy Graham to help him tap into his Spanish-speaking population, has launched the gospel movement in various cities.
Augusta is now a gospel movement city. Several leaders watched how it works Thursday. Put every church, government and business leader in a room and tell them it’s their job to help pull the city together and give them a date to do it. Under the direction of a program called Cityserve, two seemingly separate entities have been called to one table.
“Know that there is a line there, but in a sense try to come as close to the line without crossing it,” Palau said to the group that met for lunch at Murphy Hall on the campus of First Presbyterian Church of Augusta.
Separation of church and state might be the foundation of the land, but tell that to a room full of pastors and elected officials now charged with working together.
“Recognize we’re all part of the same community. The challenging social issues are complicated and I think it takes every part of the community,” he emphasized.
Palau explained how Augusta’s gospel movement would work. His talk basically stated how churches and city officials must roll up their sleeves and address critical needs in communities.
First Presbyterian Church of Augusta Pastor George Robertson identified Olde Town for his church’s focus and he’s calling on people call that neighborhood their new home.
“Either building a house on a piece of property that’s abandoned or renovating a home that other people don’t see the potential of. We call it reneighboring the city,” Pastor Robertson said.
He added he’ll need builders to meet that need. He also identified the need for addiction counseling, human trafficking, foster care and churches partnering with schools.
“There is little way for us to give real credence to the good news of reconciliation with God if we’re not demonstrating that we can be reconciled with one another,” Palau said.
Neighborhoods already identified include the Sand Hills community, Harrisburg and Alleluia community.
Palau, whose father Luis worked closely with Billy Graham, said conversations such as school principals talking with churches to fill family voids when school is not in session can help change Augusta.
“It’s going to take this entire village that we call Augusta in order to make this a successful effort and I think we will have that great success,” said Mayor Hardie Davis.
CityServe identified April 29th as Day of Service. You don’t have to be part of the faith community to help. Click here to connect.