Explore God’ discussion series in 140 area churches
9/30/2016, 7:48 p.m.
That’s the title of a discussion series currently engaging an array of churches and thousands of people in the Richmond area.
As many as 140 churches serving various racial, religious and ethnic groups are involved, ranging from the West End Assembly of God in Henrico County to Mount Olivet Church in the city’s East End to Mt. Gilead Full Gospel International Ministries in Chesterfield County.
And that doesn’t count up to 175 discussion groups that individuals have created to participate, meeting in a variety of venues, including churches, college campuses and homes.
The goal of the program is to explore ideas about God, life and purpose through sermons and discussions groups.
The focus is on seven questions: “Does life have a purpose?” “Is there a God?” “Why does God allow pain and suffering?” “Is Christianity too narrow?” “Is Jesus really God?” “Is the Bible reliable?” and “Can I know God personally?”
Begun in early September, area programs are scheduled to continue into October and are open to anyone interested.
The project is the brainchild of a former internet marketing entrepreneur, Dan Smith of Austin, Texas. He founded the CreditCards.com website and became a multimillionaire when he sold it in 2006.
In past interviews, he said the sale allowed him to create a nonprofit that would use media and technology to stimulate conversations about God.
Joined by a small team, he launched the nonprofit in 2012 and organized the first Explore God program in Austin a year later.
An internet search shows the 2013 program engaged more than 300 congregations from 12 denominations across the Austin area and attracted wide attention, allowing Mr. Smith and his team to spread the idea to other communities including Richmond.
Mr. Smith’s ExploreGod.com website serves as the main content platform and contains numerous films on faith developed by his team that are intended to educate and inspire conversations around the seven questions and others he believes deserve to be explored.
A complete list of the churches taking part and the discussion groups is available at ExploreGod.com, along with information on the dates, times and locations and how to join.