We had the good fortune of connecting with Lucas Bitter and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Lucas, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Intown Lutheran Church exists, first and foremost, to serve people’s spiritual needs with deep, clear teaching from the Bible. Our experience shows that many people in Intown Atlanta have some sort of religious background, but it has often been muddled by negative experiences with churches or individual Christians. This leaves people feeling “dechurched but unsettled” – they have never really nailed down what they believe or whether they want to be religious at all. We offer Bible Basics Classes which offer a free, no-strings attached dive into the teachings of the Bible. There is no expectation that people have to join our church or do anything at the end of the class – the goal is to simply give them a clear presentation of the Bible’s teachings. Once people see that the Bible is all about the grace of Jesus, they are often deeply comforted and inspired to show love and grace to others. Our church also seeks to demonstrate this love and grace through acts of community service, partnering with non-profits, etc.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a “mission pastor” or “church planter,” which means my job is to start a new church from scratch. It’s not easy but it’s a lot of fun. Planting a church combines theological work (like helping people to grow in their faith and see how much God has done for them) with practical work (like making personal connections, roles for volunteers, and building a high-trust environment.) The lessons I have learned along the way are that despite all the important organizational work, ministry is first and foremost about people. If you are helping individual people see how much God loves them, and helping them build relationships with others, then the big organizational things tend to fall into place over time. What I would want the world to know is, simply, the God of the Bible is a God of love and grace who sent his own Son to die for us. Don’t let the challenges of your church background separate you from the God of the Bible who loves you desperately and wants you to learn about that love in his Word.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow, this is a tough question because there are so many amazing spots in Atlanta. While the easiest answer would be the Eastside Beltine trail with its many amenities (Ponce City Market, Krog St. Market, etc.) I am also always tempted to take people to authentic local places that have been around for a long time. Homegrown and Daddy D’z on Memorial. Hodgepodge Coffeehouse on Moreland. Walking around Grant Park. I would focus on spending as much outside time as possible and also walking as much as possible to enjoy the beautiful weather. Probably my favorite activity in SE Atlanta is the many neighborhood festivals. They are a great opportunity to experience the incredible diversity of Intown Atlanta as well as the weather and the beautiful historic neighborhoods. Hopefully this pandemic is over soon and neighborhood festivals can make a comeback! Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Hope Lutheran Church in Toronto, Canada is the place where I first gained a deep passion for urban ministry during my 1-year internship there. Never before had I seen such a diverse church community with such a clear and vibrant love for their community. My experiences at Hope continue to inspire my city ministry to this day.
Hannah Wade Photography