Shades Blog Our Blog


Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Tommy DeRamus  |  Posted on Thu Jan 16, 2020


Earlier this month, we started a new ministry opportunity called PowerBreakfast. PowerBreakfast is a spinoff from PowerLunch, designed to help us reach business people who work in the downtown Birmingham area.

Through PowerLunch, God brings men and women in the business community to our campus who have little or no connection to Shades. But as we've continued to ask ourselves how God is calling us to Live Sent, PowerBreakfast seemed like a natural next step in this ministry. The generosity of the team at the Harbert Center provides space for us to bring gospel-centered leadership to those who work downtown.

A number of companies were well represented at PowerBreakfast, including The Southern Company, Samford University, the Burr-Forman law firm, The Alabama Baptist, Milo’s Tea and BBVA Compass. God has given our faith family a unique sphere of influence through a number of different companies, so we'd encourage you to invite a colleague for breakfast and a talk on leadership.

We also would love for you to serve by checking our guests in or greeting them and showing them to the ballroom in which we meet.

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Christmas at Shades 2019

Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Thu Dec 12, 2019

Christmas at Shades 2019

Christmas at Shades was a memorable one, not solely because it was the first one in our newly remodeled and repurposed Worship Center and Lobby. But because we met with God.

One of our favorite aspects of the night is the multigenerational display you see on stage. Our Worship Arts team creates space for the next generation to lead in our church family in worship.

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Pastors' Conference 2019

Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Danny Wood  |  Posted on Wed Jun 19, 2019

Pastors' Conference 2019

As I reflect on the Pastors’ Conference, I have never been prouder of our church and especially our staff. I am proud, grateful and humbled to be your pastor and to have the privilege to serve alongside of you. What Shades did was epic! 

Three strengths that made this "epic." The worship team was incredible. This was a CBC, GIC, and big Sunday all in one! One pastor commented they had never seen a freedom of worship at a PC like this ever before ... and he is right. Talent, love for Jesus, love to worship -- all of this was evident. At times I was smiling, singing, and crying at the same time both because of the message of the song and the joy on the faces of those leading. 

The tech team and creative team. Wow, what can you say? Off the charts! I don’t know if any attendee can even fathom the number of painstaking hours that were involved in the making and editing of the videos and the book that was distributed. It is mind boggling, but all the effort was worth it and was of a quality not just in production value but in messaging that has never been seen before at a PC.

And our volunteer spirit. Over 500 volunteers giving of their time and loving it! EVERY speaker, EVERY program personality, EVERY representative from all the other organizations that we worked with went out of their way to tell me how outstanding our volunteers were. I never had to fish for a compliment because they sought me out and bragged on our staff and our lay volunteers. This is who we are; this is Shades.

Bottom line is that all the work of the Pastors’ Conference was outstanding ... but not unexpected. And that is the greatest compliment of all. What our staff and our volunteers did was a reflection of the quality of work I see every week. I am just glad that the rest of the convention was able to benefit from your immense talents, infectious spirit, and deep love for our Lord Jesus Christ. 

Again, thank you church for giving of your time to make the Pastors’ Conference special and meaningful for so many pastors and their wives. I love you and am blessed to be your pastor!

If you want to watch any of the sermons and/or the video trailers, click here!

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Antioch Community Church | An Update

Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Wed May 22, 2019

Antioch Community Church | An Update

“Plant a church at UAB.”

Those were not words I ever expected to hear from God.

Yet here we are four months in to watching God do something amazing. The call came in March 2018 followed by months of prayerful consideration and assessment. In October 2018 we shared publicly with the Shades family the vision and invited you to pray about joining us. And on January 20, 2019 we held our first Core Team Gathering. 

What We've Been Up To

Over these past few months God has assembled a Core Team of 41 adults and 10 children. All life stages are represented in this team which was a major answer to prayer. Our desire is to be a multi-generational church focused on reaching the next generation. 

Continuing to meet every Sunday afternoon for worship and missional training we moved into our initial outreach phase in March. We launched Antioch Families. These are our vehicle for missional engagement. One of the convictions God has given us is the importance of attractional communities not simply attractional events. Jesus said, “ By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35) So, we want to give those far from God the opportunity to see the gospel through the body of Christ in a non-threatening atmosphere.

An Antioch Family is a co-ed group of 10-20 people that meets in a home and includes two things: dinner and conversation. It provides a welcoming atmosphere for those far from God to belong and it provides an easy ask for us with our lost friends: “Want to come to a dinner party?” 

As people are invited to belong we invite them to believe through reading the Bible together and hearing the gospel.

Since we launched our first three Antioch Families in March we have seen 20 unchurched or de-churched people visit a Family. Of those 20 people include students from India, Nepal, and Taiwan. By God’s grace we are even beginning to see lost people bring other lost people. And God has led one lost student to begin reading the Bible with one of our students. 

God is also beginning to answer our prayer for a cultural diverse church. We recently just had a student from Ghana join our church! 

How to Get Involved

  • Join our Prayer Team. There are 60+ people praying for Antioch everyday.  We know that church planting and making disciples is not suited for human wisdom. We need God’s presence, leadership, and wisdom. Would you consider praying for us on a daily basis?
  • Volunteer. Throughout the year there will be opportunities to serve with us through set up and tear down as well as helping with events. 

Let us know here if you are interested in supporting us in either of these ways. 

How to Pray

  • Meeting space. We are on the hunt for God’s place for us to gather for worship this fall. Pray for God to provide the right place. 
  • Relationships with the lost. Pray for God to continue grow our heart for the lost. Pray for opportunities to build new friendships and deepen current ones. Pray that we’d see many students far from Jesus come to know and love him. 

Shades Family, thank you for your prayer, encouragement, and support. I am grateful for you.



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NEXT | The Time is Now: A Construction Update

Posted in Worship  |  By Jordan Cox  |  Posted on Wed Mar 13, 2019

NEXT | The Time is Now: A Construction Update

We're four weeks into the remodeling of our Worship Center and the repurposing of the Lobby. Take a look at this update video from Pastor Danny.

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The NEXT Initiative | Vote Passes

Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Tom Boston  |  Posted on Thu Dec 20, 2018

The NEXT Initiative | Vote Passes

At a special called business meeting on Wednesday evening, December 12, 2018, Pastor Danny, Scott Gurosky (President of MG&A), and Randy Pittman (church treasurer and longtime Shades member) spoke and answered questions about the project’s scope, cost, and financing. Mr. Pittman submitted a motion on behalf of the Finance Committee and Deacons unanimously recommending that we move forward with the NEXT initiative by using a combination of pledged funds and the necessary debt to complete the project with a maximum investment not to exceed $11.8 million. The church body then voted to move forward with the NEXT Initiative! Construction will begin Monday, February 11, 2019, following our Global Impact Celebration.

For more information on NEXT, click here.

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Christmas Wishlist

Posted in Caring  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Wed Nov 21, 2018

Christmas Wishlist

Editor's Note: There are currently 1,067 foster children in Jefferson County and more than 1,100 throughout the state of Alabama. Birmingham is one of the five most churched cities in the nation. If one family from a third of the churches in our city would engage in foster care, there would be no more foster children in Jefferson County.

We're in the midst of Shades' Orphan Care Ministry's annual Backpack and Christmas Wishlist drive supporting the foster care systems in Jefferson and Shelby Counties. This is a guest post by Shades members, Eric and Monica Moses, who write about their interaction with orphan care.

Fostering and possibly adopting has been something that Monica and I have always had an open dialog about and something we have both considered.  We just feel like there was no greater representation of the gospel in our own lives than taking care of “the least of these.”

I guess our first exposure to the foster system was through Monica’s work. She was an attorney in private practice and was involved a lot in the juvenile court system.  Advocating for these children was the thing she enjoyed the most. She wanted to be the one to fight for them when no one else would. About a year-and-a-half ago she was presented with an opportunity to practice with DHR for the state of Alabama.  This new opportunity would afford her the opportunity to advocate these children on a daily basis and fight for what is best for them.

Things really started hitting close to home last year when Shades did the Christmas wishlist for the Orphan Care Ministry. We always loved doing the backpack drive for DHR so we decided that we would participate in the Christmas wishlist drive last year.

As the service ended, we made our way out to the Christmas tree in the lobby where the names were. We finally made it up to the tree and when we got there, it was empty. As we walked away slightly disappointed, another couple offered us one of the tags that they had gotten. As we were walking away, Monica looked at the name and stopped right where she was. This person had given us the name of a child that Monica was in court for just the week before. What are the chances? 100%!

We viewed this as God opening the door for us to take advantage of this situation and possibly move forward in our journey. We are not sure where this road may take us, especially with the role that Monica plays in DHR, but we are excited to see where God will show up and guide us as to what he wants from us.

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Christmas by Candlelight

Posted in Uncategorized  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Sun Nov 4, 2018

Christmas by Candlelight

Come and Worship: Christmas by Candlelight 2018 is approaching. We're thrilled to be joined by special guests Act of Congress this year. Be sure to mark Sunday, Dec. 2 on your calendar; we have shows at 2 and 6 p.m. Admission is free, and seats are first-come, first-serve.

 In anticipation of this cherished Shades tradition, we wanted to take a look back at some highlights from recent years.

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Posted in Adults  |  By Bradley Patton  |  Posted on Mon Oct 29, 2018


I’d like to consider with you our calling. And I’d like to do so through the lens of 1 Corinthians 1. Paul gets at a few things in the text; what does it mean to be a church member? Who do we follow? What do we preach and proclaim as believers? And how does this message we proclaim and the savior we follow align with our various places in society? 

The ancient city of Corinth sat at the crossroads of the ancient Roman world. Commerce played a key role in Corinth’s social, political, and cultural environment. Aided by a favorable economic climate, Corinth emerged as a thriving metropolis by the time of Paul and the apostles. One commentator noted, “Perhaps no city in the Empire offered so congenial an atmosphere for individual and corporate advancement.” The potential for advancement brought various groups of people to the city seeking to take advantage of Corinth’s commerce for personal gain. The value of trade, business, and pragmatism in the pursuit of success fed the zeal to attain public status, promote one’s own honor, and secure power.

This passage is in the middle of Paul’s argument about the centrality and foolishness of the cross. It’s a scandal to Jews and folly to Gentiles. Paul turns his focus to the Corinthian believers themselves to illustrate his claim. He first reminds them that not many of them were wise, powerful, or of noble birth. He’s flattening their attempts at self-exaltation and demolishing their boasts in human accomplishments. Their calling actually has the same design as the cross—their salvation shames and nullifies the values in which their society boasts. Therefore, Paul says, no human being can boast in the presence of God except as they boast in the Lord Jesus Christ who died on the cross. All people are on equal footing when they stand in the shadow of the cross because only weak and foolish people would respond to Paul’s preaching – which was not in wise and persuasive words. 

So, first question: 

As we deal with others, how often do we show weakness? And I’m not talking about false weakness. I mean true weakness. The insecurities. The stresses. The unrecognized competence and know-how. The fights with your spouse. If you don’t show your weakness, then you’re actually living by worldly standards. You’re really believing or trusting in what the world says of you and not what Christ says of you.

The Corinthians had apparently forgotten their humble estate and, given their culture, they probably didn’t want to remember their weakness. But I think Paul was convinced of this and I’m convinced of this, too: If we forget our brokenness and weakness and neediness, we’ll never respond to the scandal of the cross. We’ll never be truly Christ-like. The Christian life is not about getting education or status, but with marveling at Jesus Christ. One of my professors summarized Paul’s point well, “When they look back on God’s grace, the Corinthians should see an implausible message brought by an unimpressive messenger to a group of unlikely candidates for membership in God’s people.” The Corinthians, though surrounded by a culture riddled with self-glorification, should be characterized by self-sacrifice. 

Second question: 

As we deal with others, how do we challenge them? Do we challenge them to be better and try harder or do we challenge them to marvel at Jesus? Power over pornography isn’t rooted in challenge. Authority over anger isn’t found in avoiding difficulty. Command of courage isn’t found in motivation. These things are rooted in our identity and our inheritance in Christ. In him we have wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 

Paul roots the life of the Christian outside of himself declaring, “because of [God] you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption…” (1 Cor. 1:30). James K.A. Smith states, “Discipleship is less about erecting an edifice of Christian knowledge than it is a matter of developing a Christian know-how that intuitively ‘understands’ the world in the light of the fullness of the gospel.” The thought of the Corinthians’ boasting in anything but God and God’s work is inappropriate. Salvation came to them because of God’s grace and only his grace.

Third question:

As we deal with others, what are we encouraging them to boast about? Bible studies, attendance? Good things, no doubt, but if our boast isn’t in the Lord, then we’re missing it. Performing for our identity and inheritance leads not to holiness but to exhaustion, bitterness, and death.

Let’s call each other to a more compelling vision of the Christian life. Let’s call one another to the way of weakness. Let’s all challenge to marvel at Jesus. Let’s boast in the Lord and in his kindness to us. For it is God’s kindness, not God’s challenge that leads us to repentance.

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How to Live Sent this Halloween

Posted in Community Engagement  |  By Shades Staff  |  Posted on Mon Oct 22, 2018

How to Live Sent this Halloween

Whether you are a fan of Halloween or not, it provides an opportunity unlike any other to reach out to your neighbors. What other day of the year do people come in groups to your front door?

Here are some practical ways to live sent this Halloween:

  • Pray: Prayer-walk the neighborhood before Halloween. Pray that you will meet people with whom you can share your story and God’s story.  
  • Answer the door:  Don’t be the house that turns out the lights and shuts the window blinds. Greet children and their parents warmly. 
  • Visit as many homes as you can: Visit every home that has a light on. Again, be warm and try to learn something about each one of your neighbors. 
  • Go trick-or-treating with other neighbors: Reach out to the parents in your neighborhood and ask if they would like to go as a group.
  • Give out the best: Be known as the house that goes above and beyond, giving out the best candy.
  • Do a reverse trick-or-treat: Go door-to-door and offer baked-goods with a note that says something like, It’s no trick! We are your neighbors, and we would love to get to know you! Include any contact information you would like to leave with them. 
  • Learn names: Write down names as you meet people. Remembering names will make it much easier to begin a conversation the next time you see them.
  • Serve the parents: Brainstorm creative ways to serve the parents. For instance, set up a hot chocolate and coffee station or give out bottles of water. 


Adapted from, “7 Ways to be Missional this Halloween.” by Todd Gattis published by

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