Alumnus Transforms Senior Capstone Project Into Published Book

‘More Than Clay’ Battles Shame and Doubt in Christian Life

By Megan Perkins ’18
6/28/2018 4:47:45 PM

Greg McKinney headshotGreg McKinney, 2014 JBU graduate and current student pastor at Community Christian Fellowship in Siloam Springs, recently published his first book, “More Than Clay: Living Life Unashamed.” Released Feb. 2, McKinney’s book seeks to encourage doubtful Christians to silence the countless lies the world deceives them with daily, and instead confidently accept the identity they possess in Christ.

“I want people to be proud of who they are in Christ,” said McKinney.

Designed for individual use or small group discussions, the goal of McKinney’s book is to combat the paralyzing effects of shame caused by past mistakes. McKinney defines shame as the negative view held by many Christians, that they are worthless and undeserving, which hinders both the understanding of others and the self.

Directed toward a target audience of young Christians between the ages of 15 and 35, “More Than Clay” focuses on reversing the impacts of shame in identity and relationship development. “In that age group particularly, there is a longing for connection with people and a longing for an understanding of who they are,” said McKinney. McKinney’s hope for his book is that it will inspire the establishment of an identity based on the truths of scripture rather than the lies Satan would have Christians believe.

McKinney said he frequently witnesses and addresses the results of shame in his ministry with students at CCF. “A lot of my students have this small view of who they are as believers,” said McKinney. McKinney believes that this insecurity translates into ineffectual ministry.

“When we doubt ourselves there is no impact in the Gospel,” said McKinney.

McKinney chose the title “More Than Clay” to encourage American Christians to look past culture’s emphasis on the physical imagery of themselves as plain jars of clay, and instead recognize that God’s glory is displayed through their mistakes and tainted nature. “American Christians focus a lot on the physical, on the world and how we view it, when everything about faith demands us to see the unseen,” said McKinney.

Greg McKinney signs copies of More Than Clay at a book release partyThe vision for McKinney’s project originated from his senior capstone assignment for former JBU professor Dr. Nick Ogle, who then pushed him to create a full-length chapter book—an endeavor never before attempted by a youth ministry student. Ogle also penned the forward for “More Than Clay.”

Ogle, as well as Dr. Melissa Hall, JBU family and human services department head, provided the encouragement and guidance essential for McKinney’s success. “They helped me to discover my own voice and encouraged me that I could do it,” said McKinney.

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