40 Under 40: Jonathan Williams

07_40_Williams6-mhJONATHAN WILLIAMS
Forefront Christian Church,
Brooklyn, New York

Jonathan Williams is a captivating storyteller. He finds joy in people, in learning their histories, and in laughing at human foibles, including his own. This ability to delight in others and laugh at himself draws people to him. It reflects the way Jesus often taught. The disciples would ask Jesus a question, and Jesus would answer with a story.

For several years after college, Jonathan taught at an inner-city school in Philadelphia. If you asked Jonathan about that experience, his stories would make you burst with laughter one moment, and break your heart the next. Perhaps it also made Jonathan more sensitive to people who have been pushed to the margins of society.

Jonathan is passionate about extending the kingdom of God to all people. The new church he leads in Brooklyn reaches artists and professionals alike. It also welcomes the homeless and people who often feel uncomfortable in church. The way Jonathan and his wife, Jubi, model hospitality makes Forefront Church open to a wide variety of people.

Jonathan reaches out to people to understand their stories; he makes room for them in the church and points them to the Savior who invites all to be welcome at his table. His leadership will be influential as the church becomes more and more diverse in the future.

Rhesa Storms, communications, the Orchard Group

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