The Rev. Dr. Matthew A. Gorkos
has been the pastor of the Church of the Good Shepherd since September 2020.
He was ordained in 2013 and has been in pastoral ministry since 2012. A child of the Lehigh Valley area, he grew up under the guidance and nurture of Lower Saucon United Church of Christ in Hellertown, PA. He has a B.A. in Christian Ministries from Messiah College, an M.Div from Biblical Theological Seminary (now Missio Seminary in Philadelphia), and a D.Min in Transformational Leadership from Boston University. He is author of “The Storied Church: A Strategy for Congregational Renewal” (2021—from Fortress Press).
When he’s not at the church, you’re most likely to find him either having fun and hanging outdoors with his partner, his three children, and his two dogs, or perhaps lounging on the couch watching a movie or the Yankees game, or perhaps doing some creative writing. He’ll also never say “no” to good food, a good book, good music, or a good conversation with friends.
Matthew Gorkos begins The Storied Church with this compelling statement: "I believe in the church--in the power of faithful people serving a good and gracious God--and I believe in the power of a good story. Moreover, I believe, as this book will argue, that church and story--harnessed together--could be an even more powerful force for goodness in our world." Neuroscientists, anthropologists, archeologists, and psychologists all agree. Story is how our brains and our communities make sense of things. Storytelling helps us cope with change and loss. Storytelling helps us transmit lessons and life-skills to the next generation. As human beings, it seems we can't do without story.
This book--indeed, this whole idea of story-centered church renewal--was born of a suspicion that the restorative, transformative, life-giving function that stories have for us as individuals may serve communities of faithful people as well. If stories help us survive as human creatures, why can't they help churches survive? The problem that story-centered renewal seeks to remedy has only become more prevalent and urgent in the age of Covid-19. Our churches need hope now more than ever. Writing from a pastor's perspective, Gorkos hopes to encourage and empower other pastors and lay leaders with both the hope and the tools they need to effect revitalizing change in their faith communities. Each chapter includes questions for reflection to help readers listen to and tell the stories that will lead to renewal and transformation.