By JR Valrey
The Covid pandemic era has been one of the most interesting epochs of modern history that many of us have lived through, considering this is the first time in recent memory, where the world has been locked down, to reportedly fight a virus. Every segment of society was greatly affected by this sudden halt to normal life: including businesses and schools shutting down, the government implementing mass vaccination programs, a record number of people throughout the nation becoming unemployed, as well as homelessness is on the rise. During this time, Pastor Leon Scoggins of Stockton’s Life City Church, who is in his mid-20’s, has released his new book entitled, “The Digital Pastor”, to address the gap between the digital world that we were thrusted into, and the leadership of the Black Church’s inability to utilize technology to reach its believers, until now. The future is here, and check out the leader of Life City Church as he talks about his new book, in his own words.
JR Valrey: What is the Digital Pastor book about? What inspired you to write it?
Pastor Leon: So as we know, the world is changing faster than we can comprehend. The 2020 COVID-19 Pandemic forced us to take advantage of technology on a new level and it affected everyone; from government, to education, to businesses large or small and of course the church. Every industry was forced to go digital, if they wanted to remain relevant during the COVID-19 lock-down. I saw many who worked in ministry trying to find their way; some succeeded but many were having difficulties understanding how to work their calling as a spiritual leader. So I wrote “The Digital Pastor”. This is a book to guide ministry leaders on how to find their identity and succeed, in the digital world. This is key because the digital world is here to stay.
JR Valrey: How did Covid affect most churches versus how did it affect your congregation spiritually?
Pastor Leon: For most churches it was a huge struggle to remain relevant. The sad reality is that the world is five times ahead of the church (not every single church but the universal church). This means in the tech world any new technology that the world takes advantage of; the church finally embraces it many years later. So when COVID hit, the world jumped straight into things digitally with no questions; whereas many churches had to now learn how to catch up with the world, in order to reach the people they were accustomed to seeing in-person weekly. For my church (Life City Church) it wasn’t a big transition from an operational perspective because we’ve always loved taking advantage of technology. We were meeting more often, thanks to the live stream. We were able to draw new members and believers to Christ, due to embracing the digital world. I honestly believe the pandemic knitted our church closer to God, and that’s all thanks to us embracing the times and not being afraid to pivot.
JR Valrey: How did publishing this book feel different from publishing your first book?
Pastor Leon: Wow, publishing this book was very special. My first book “The Power Of A Choice” was a self help book for teens. But this book was my first ministry book. This one hit different because I’ve been preaching for 19 years, and in August 2021 it will be 6 years, of me pastoring my church. It was very important to me, that I add my voice as a spiritual leader to our current history. God has blessed me to influence thousands around the world in my generation, and I don’t take that lightly. I had to write this book.
JR Valrey: Can you talk about your new church building? And where are you at in the fundraising campaign?
Pastor Leon: Yes! Ironically during the lock-down God allowed our church to secure our very own space for the first time, in 6 years. In the past we’ve always rented out shared spaces, so to have a space to call our own means the world. As the world is slowly opening back up, I felt that it was proper to build our church so we could do the work we desire to do in Stockton, CA. Currently with us literally starting from scratch we’ve been able to raise a little over $20,000 in one month. People from around the world, pitched in to help our church make this happen. We were able to get new equipment, chairs, and renovate our worship space. We are still not done though! We have about $20,000 more to go, as we move to the next phase in renovating our back area to create youth classrooms and office spaces.
JR Valrey: How has getting married affected your ministry and message?
Pastor Leon: Getting married was definitely life changing for me and of course my ministry. It has always been my dream and desire to have a ministry that values God, marriage and family. I knew in order for that culture to be a part of my church, it had to first start with me. God allowed my wife to come all the way from New Jersey to California to make that happen. My wife takes really good care of me, which of course helps the church out in a major way! I want my life to be a reflection to everyone watching, especially those in my generation and the generations that follow that are starting a family. God’s way is the best way.
JR Valrey: How has having a daughter affected your mind state?
Pastor Leon: My daughter is literally the cherry on top, to everything that’s happening in my life. That little girl is my twin! Having her has pushed me to grind on a level I didn’t even know existed. Every move I make today I have her in mind. I want her to look over my life when she’s older and be like, “wow my dad is amazing”. Seeing her shows me how faithful God is, to add little additions to your life, that’ll ultimately push you towards your destiny.
JR Valrey: When are your services?
Pastor Leon: Our Sunday worship service is weekly at 3pm PST. Our address is 4545 Georgetown Place Stockton, CA 95207. People around the world, who are not local, can also view us at the same time weekly on Facebook and YouTube, under the name Life City Church. Every Tuesday at 7pm PST, we have our online reCharge Bible Study which is FIRE!
JR Valrey: How do people keep online with you?
Pastor Leon: You can keep up with me on my website WWW.LEONSCOGGINS.COM which is where you can also buy my new book, “The Digital Pastor: How Ministry Leaders Thrive After A Pandemic”. Also keep up with me and Life City Church on ANY social media platform.
Facebook: Leon Scoggins
Life City Church:
Facebook: Life City Church
YouTube: Life City Church