Saturday, December 9, 2023

We had questions about those ‘Explore God’ signs. Here’s what they are about

An Explore God sign near Veterans' Park in James City County (WYDaily photo)
An Explore God sign near Veterans’ Park in James City County (WYDaily/File photo)

“We all have questions.”

That message, in stark white lettering against a black background, adorns signs that have been popping up across the Historic Triangle over the past few weeks.

At the bottom of each sign is a web address:

So what is Explore God?

It’s a seven-week series beginning Sept. 16 at more than 20 Protestant and Catholic churches in Greater Williamsburg that will explore many of the universal questions many of us have had at one point in our lives:

  • Does life have purpose?
  • Is there a God?
  • Why does God allow pain and suffering?
  • Is Christianity too narrow?
  • Is Jesus really God?
  • Is the Bible reliable?
  • Can I know God personally?

Explore God is a Christian organization based in Austin, Texas, that helps churches provide a safe and creative space to discuss questions about God, faith and religion. It has brought churches together in cities in Texas, North Carolina and elsewhere.

The Historic Triangle’s Explore God initiative was the brainchild of Donna Via, a member of Grace Covenant Presbyterian Church, said the Rev. W. Dennis Griffith, pastor at the church. Via’s daughter is Jamie Radtke, a former candidate for U.S. Senate who is president of Explore God, so she was familiar with the group’s mission and offerings.

The initiative began in January when a small group of churches got together, Griffith said. That number has since grown to 23 churches in Williamsburg and James City, York and New Kent counties.

“These are the universal questions we’ve all asked and that we are all asked to address in one form or another,” Griffith said.

Explore God provides resources such as a curriculum and multimedia components to probe each question, but each church can tailor the message to suit their congregations, Griffith said.

“It allows each church to remain consistent with its own DNA ,” he said. “Nobody’s going to be conforming to somebody else’s script.”

In addition to church services, Explore God will also employ small discussion groups that will meet each week to talk about that coming Sunday’s topic. The groups, which will meet a places such as coffeehouses, will allow those who have questions but don’t necessarily want to attend church or are skeptical of religion to participate, Griffith said.

“We don’t want bait and switch,” Griffith said. “Those who show up for the groups aren’t going to be greeted by Christians who are zealous to save them. Explore God is intended to be a nonconfrontational way of having interlocking conversations about spiritual things.”

Interested in Explore God?

To learn more about Explore God in the Historic Triangle and for a list of participating churches, visit the initiative’s website.

Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher
Bryan DeVasher is the managing editor-digital of WYDaily. A resident of Hampton Roads for more than two decades, he has worked for news organizations in Virginia, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana. He most recently was a member of the public relations staff for Virginia State Police.

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