Community change starts with pancakes

Meredith Flynn —  January 28, 2013

HEARTLAND (From Baptist Press) | Murders had become too frequent in the south St. Louis neighborhood where August Gate church meets.

Neighbors were fed up – including a few August Gate members who were leading a small group in the church’s Tower Grove East neighborhood. When they called to ask the three-year-old Southern Baptist church plant for help, August Gate community pastor Todd Genteman urged the young adults to get involved.

“You’re the Gospel Community in the neighborhood,” Genteman said, referencing the name by which the small group is known. “You should do something.”

So they did. The Gospel Community group organized a pancake breakfast at the church, bringing in community leaders, business leaders and residents to start a conversation about change. Organizers thought 10 to 20 people might show up, but more than 100 did.

The outreach echoed what the church plant’s lead pastor, Noah Oldham, has been teaching to the church which draws its name, figuratively meaning “harvest the city,” from the 10th chapter of the Gospel of Luke. For August Gate members, Gospel Community groups play a critical role in living out the teaching that every member is a missionary. These neighborhood-based small groups commit to learning the Bible, being a family and living on mission together.

“We want the vast majority of our congregation to be living on mission,” said Oldham, who also serves as the North American Mission Board city coordinator for Send North America: St. Louis. “God calls us to be missionaries in particular places.”

Click on the video below for more about August Gate, or go to for the full story.

<p><a href=”″>Noah Oldham: Empty on the Inside</a> from <a href=””>North American Mission Board</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.