Our mission at Reach Church is simple yet profound…we live to reach all people with Nothing But Jesus. The reality is that many times in life, we are tempted to focus on everything BUT Jesus. Jesus is not only for those who are skeptical of Christianity, but for those who have been Christians for decades. When we are about Nothing But Jesus our lives begin to change.
We realize that this doesn’t impact most of you; however, we are pleased to share that Reach Church has given Tri-State Christian Academy (TSCA) to Crossroads Bible Church (the church where the school is located in Elkton, MD). We believe that localized leadership is best for the advancement of TSCA and that this change will allow us to narrow our focus to our local ministries. We are thankful for the way God used us at TSCA to help for a season. We continue to have a great relationship with the families of TSCA as well as with Crossroads Bible Church and wish them all the best.
This decision also allows us to bring some of our finest teachers, also Reach Church members, from TSCA to Red Lion. Mr. Turner Jones, the former principal of TSCA, will be our Bible Department Head, Denise Holt will be returning from TSCA to teach high school Science, Katie Frist will be transferring from TSCA to teach high school Math, Andy Hendry will be transferring from TSCA to teach Bible, and Noel Gasorek will continue her outstanding work at Journey Christian Academy, our school for students with special needs.
We are also pleased to announce that Mr. Kurt Sarac has been named our Dean of Administration at Red Lion. Many know of the Sarac’s long time support of our church and work in local ministries such as Door of Hope, but you may not be aware of his business acumen. Bill Becker, who has been serving as our Operations Manager at the church, was conducting an evaluation of Red Lion when he and Kurt, who has served as a teacher at the school, began interacting. Eventually, Kurt presented a business and ministry plan for Red Lion that is, by far, the most detailed and exciting plan that I have seen for Red Lion, since we began our work there. He and Bill have already begun actually getting things done from the plan. Please join me in praising God for bringing these two men to our staff! It is a breath of fresh air and incredibly encouraging to work with men with this kind of expertise, vision and work ethic.
As we see light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel, we are excited to see relaunch Reach Church with these changes in place.
Dear Reach Church,
This Sunday, we will continue our series in Philippians called “A New Level of Good”. Tune in at 10:00am to enjoy our worship team and to hear the message!
On Sunday evening, at 6:00pm, we will join together in person on the lawn area behind the church parking lot. We will worship and share in communion together.
Here is how it will work:
1. Bring a blanket and/or lawn chairs for seating.
2. Bring food and drink for your seating area only if you would like.
3. We will hand out disposable and sealed Communion elements as you arrive.
4. The back parking lot will be reserved for those who wish to stay in their cars during the service. Please do not approach those cars during our time together.
5. There will be socially distanced spots for each family or individual painted on the grass. When you arrive, you will be directed to those spots.
6. We want to love and include those among us who need to know ahead of time that others will respect their need for total separation. Therefore, we will also have a section for those who wish to practice extreme social distancing and do not wish for others to approach them.
7. Please wear a face mask when you are not able to socially distance (when walking from your car to your spot, when having conversations with others, when walking back to your car at the end of the night). We do not expect you to wear a mask while seated at your designated seating area since you may also be eating and drinking during the dinner hour.
We are looking forward to Sunday! Please continue to pray for our nation and continue to ask God to “break my heart for what breaks yours”. We believe that when our hearts are truly broken for the injustice and violence around us that we will be ready to share Jesus into the situation instead of our own politics or opinions.
In closing, while we realize this does not impact most of our church, we have had a major change at one of our schools. We are very pleased to announce that Reach Church has given Tri-State Christian Academy to Crossroads Bible Church (the church where the school meets in Elkton, MD). Please click here for more background on this new change that will allow us to narrow our focus to more local ministries and will allow Tri-State to be led by those closer to the school and the community there.
In Christ Alone,
As a white man, especially one who grew up in a non-diverse rural community, I feel incredibly ill-equipped to speak on these matters. But, as a Christian man, a father, and church leader, I cannot stay silent.
The George Floyd video is one that I’ll never fully be able to explain to my daughters. I’ll never be able to communicate how their friends of color experience things differently than they do, just because of the color of their skin. You can never really explain something like this if you’ve never experienced it.
However, just because I or my family can’t fully explain it doesn’t mean that I can deny it exists. I can’t sit by, nor will I raise my kids, explaining away the broken systems, injustice, and racism towards the black community in our society. Enough is enough.
Let’s stop denying, running towards every chance at explaining away situations like this one, and instead let’s stand boldly against it. Let’s not be quick to speaking against bizarre conspiracies, and let’s be very quick to speak out against blatant injustices. Let’s stop being defensive, and instead let’s refuse to make any part of racism acceptable.
Let’s stop just feeling bad, posting a status, and moving on to the next thing, and let’s, instead, somehow redeem this horrible situation by actually fighting against the systemic and racial prejudice our black brothers and sisters have felt for some time. Do it with one conversation at a time. Do it while you’re raising your kids. Do it when you decide what words will come out of your mouth next. And ultimately, let’s do it to reflect the God we serve, who created all of humanity in his image and is redeeming the beautiful and diverse world he has made.
The greatest sin and the most unjust crime in all of history was the nailing of Jesus, an innocent man, to the cross.
I wasn’t there.
You weren’t there.
Christians readily admit it was OUR sins he bore on the cross...but WE didn’t actually nail Jesus to the cross, right?
When Peter preached his first sermon in Acts 2, people who had come to Jerusalem from all over the world were miraculously able to hear Peter's words in their own language...even in their own dialect. What did Peter say to this diverse group and the locals who were also in the crowd in verse 36?
He said, Jesus whom YOU crucified...literally, whom YOU "pinned" to the cross...
And what was their response to this accusation of murdering an innocent man?
“I wasn’t even there!” No.
"I was there but there was nothing I could have done about it." No
“I have lots of friends like this guy you describe, Jesus.” No.
"I can't be held responsible for what others have done." No.
"How dare you accuse ME of murder." No.
"You have to understand the way I was raised." No.
"What you have to understand is BLAH BLAH BLAH." No.
“Those rotten Pharisees need to not only be fired but arrested for murdering Jesus!” No.
“Jesus’ life doesn’t just matter...ALL lives matter! Unborn children's lives matter. Blue lives matter! And why aren't you focusing on other crimes?” No.
What was their response?
They were “cut to the heart”. That means they were repentant for THEIR action of nailing Jesus to the cross, and asked Peter, “What must WE do?”
Behold I hear MY mocking voice among the scoffers.
It was MY sin that nailed him there.
We love to sing those statements. Most Christians are OK with those kinds of statements about Jesus dying for us and that we nailed Jesus to the cross. But we aren't good with this statement...
It was MY knee on the neck of George Floyd.
It was MY lack of courage to stop the murder of George Floyd.
It was MY lying frantic voice on the phone with 911 in Central Park falsely claiming that an African American man was threatening me and my dog.
The most basic and most settled doctrine of the Christian faith, outside of the deity of Christ, is perhaps the doctrine of Original Sin. Original Sin teaches us that not only are WE responsible for the sins of our fathers, but WE are responsible for the first sins of Adam and Eve. So why is it that we accept Original Sin and we accept the fact that WE nailed Jesus to the cross but this next part is totally foreign and jarring to us...
Just as WE nailed Jesus to the cross, it was OUR knee on the neck of a detained handcuffed man who was crying out for mercy over and over again.
It is OUR knee on the neck of George Floyd when the knee of Colin Kaepernick on our football turf during the playing of our national anthem made us angrier than the knee of a white police officer on the neck of George Floyd slowly sucking the life out of him.
It is OUR knee on the neck of George Floyd every time we qualify these murders, or change the subject, or say incredibly stupid uneducated racist things in the process.
But those specific "OUR KNEE" statements are easy for me to make because it isn't personal enough. I can stand outside of that stuff and judge...so let me get more personal...
MY knee was on the neck of George Floyd every time I have backed off on "going too far" when preaching about racial issues.
MY knee was on the neck of George Floyd when an African American professor sat in my office last year and challenged me in a kind and somewhat light-hearted manner to consider that even the paintings on my wall, one of which is the story of the Prodigal Son that depicts all the characters as white men, could be a small way of alienating African Americans. Even though I saw his point, I took no appreciable action.
Perhaps MY knee is on the neck of George Floyd right now when I delete a few more examples I had written because they would be far too controversial and shameful to state in ANY setting.
These are the times that "Nothing But Jesus" applied, drastically changes our responses. Because anything less than "It was MY knee on the neck of George Floyd" and "What must I now do?" isn't a Gospel response. Nothing But Jesus isn't the wide path...it's the narrow path.
Kenny Daughtry, an African American professor, wrote this to me in a public setting yesterday...
"Reach is a staple church in the De community and is positioned to lead with great influence for the sake of the gospel and representing God's justice for all people from the womb to the tomb; including the tough racism that Black people face in this country. It's a cross that comes with consequences, burdens and lots of pain, but we know that every cross we pick up for the sake of the gospel and justice is worth picking up. In love my sister and brothers."
Please pray for pastors, like me, whose hearts continue to be broken over these issues, to discern God's calling for what specifically to do next to "represent God's justice for all people...including the tough racism that Black people face..."
We are excited to announce our plans as we continue to navigate through the uncertain times brought on by the Coronavirus:
1) We will be continuing online Sunday morning services through the month of June. We are very excited about the response to our online presence! God continues to work mightily through Reach Church to bring our message of the hope we find in Nothing But Jesus to our community and the world! Keep tuning in, sharing, and commenting!
2) Starting on Sunday, June 7th, we will be hosting outdoor in-person worship services from 6-7pm! Your safety is our top priority, and we are able to provide an outdoor environment where ALL who come will feel safe, while being able to meet together to celebrate communion, pray, and worship together!