Gospel Gothic, a Sunday-morning radio show hosted by Jake Hall, pastor of Highland Hills Baptist Church in Macon, G.A., features candid conversation about faith in the Christ-haunted South interlaced with celebrated roots music.
Together, Jake Hall with Brad Evans and Wes Griffith, owners of 100.9 FM The Creek, unpacks scars and scripture, theology and thoughtful critique in search of redemption, all with soulful help from Jason Isbell, Mavis Staples, Bob Dylan, Lucinda Williams and more. Weekly they demonstrate how Americana music is holy and a forthright discussion of religion has become a healing centerpiece.
This series in the “Signature Ministries” project is part of the BNG Storytelling Projects Initiative. By studying ministers or churches who practice “Signature Ministries,” we learn from communities who respond to the needs around them, engaging and energizing members in specific ministries that turn them outward on the world. We will specifically profile ministers who lead through their passion and zeal for an interest or a skill that connects with their community outside of the role they would normally play as pastor, leading their congregants to see Christ in others and reaching the needs of the world around them.
This series is written by Blake Tommey. Photos and video are by Jenna Eason.
In this series, we’ll learn a pastor’s journey toward real life, real sin and real redemption. “Experiencing transcendence is sometimes rare in seasons of pastoral life.” By sharing level ground and being open to people’s doubts, skepticism or hostility toward the church, Jake Hall effectively became a pastor for those who were decidedly not looking for a pastor.
Additionally, the Christ-haunted hosts of Gospel Gothic are the unlikely trio who unpacks O’Connor’s chilling assessment of Southern Christianity in search of redemption. They primarily produce Gospel Gothic for the countless Christ-haunted among the Macon community and beyond — those who, for whatever reason, cannot participate in organized religion.
Finally, for the Macon, Ga., community, Americana music is holy liturgy. “All music is sacred if you let it be.” When you look at a Gospel Gothic setlist and consider the conversations they have, it feels like a holy and secular, profound and profane liturgy. Despite being inspired by the church lectionary and centuries of Christian theology, they are ultimately speaking Macon’s first language in music.
Watch the videos of the hosts as well as the photo gallery to see for yourself. Listen to Gospel Gothic archives or explore their site.
Seed money to launch our Storytelling Projects initiative and our initial series of projects has been provided through generous grants from the Christ Is Our Salvation Foundation and the Eula Mae and John Baugh Foundation. For information about underwriting opportunities for Storytelling Projects, contact David Wilkinson, BNG’s executive director and publisher, at [email protected] or 336.865.2688.