WHY GOOD NEWS GATHERING? CLASS 101 Day 1
Good News Gathering held its first worship service on April 12, 1998, with sixty people in attendance. However, the Biblical, societal and religious factors that created GNG existed long before that first Sunday.
- Biblical Factors
The Bible makes it very clear that lost people matter to God. He sent His Son, Jesus, for one purpose - to seek and to save the lost. (Luke 19:10). At the end of His ministry, Jesus commanded His followers to do likewise. "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ... and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded ...." (Matthew 28:19-20).
Why was this so important to Jesus? Why did His followers spread His message with such a sense of urgency? In part because each person’s decision about Christ has eternal consequences.
2. Societal Factors
This is not the America of the 1950s. That culture, which was so influenced by Christian values, no longer exists. It has been replaced by something much more complex, secular, politically correct and sexually oriented. American culture is, at best, post-Christian, and at worst, anti-Christian.
Today's culture, even here in Highland County, is far more challenging for the The church is no longer an accepted institution of influence. Thus, ministry is harder to do. The standards are more exacting and less forgiving. America, in general, and Highland County, in particular, are mission fields.
For example, though there are over seventy Christian churches in Highland County, demographic studies based on the 2010 Census indicate that there are 13,272 people within a fifteen mile radius of downtown Hillsboro who have no involvement in their faith. The population of Hillsboro is currently estimated at about 7,000. Thus, there are nearly twice as many lost people within fifteen miles as the current population of Hillsboro.
3. Religious Factors
How has the church as a whole, responded to our changing culture? Lyle Schaller, a church growth consultant, says that most churches have great ministries "for the 1950s". In large part the church has failed to change and thus, nationwide, Christian churches have not experienced significant growth in the past thirty years. Current statistics indicate that American churches average one baptism per church per year. This is simply But why is this happening?
There are at least three reasons:
- The church is no longer convinced that Jesus Christ is the hope of the world.Jesus described Himself as "the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6). But the typical American Christian views Jesus as just one of many different pathways to God. Thus, Christianity is becoming increasingly irrelevant to Christians and non-Christians alike.
- The church has failed to adapt its methods, strategies and programs to our changing culture. Obviously, the message, substance and purpose of the church never change. But the methods, strategies and programs for communicating the Good News must change as our culture changes. Someone said, "We sing sixteenth century lyrics to seventeenth century music while sitting in eighteenth century pews. And we wonder why people think we're out of touch."
- Quite often the church has adopted a fortress mentality. God's people have allowed their faith to become a personal thing that is seldom communicated and is only acted upon in private or within the four walls of the church building. Thus, the church has become a fortress by which its members escape from the community instead of becoming a force for Jesus in the community.
Christ compares the church to a "city on a hill" whose light could be seen for miles around. (Matthew 5:14). But too often the church has kept the light to itself. The withdrawal of the church from our culture has had a tragic impact on America. We must never forget that we have the hope of the world - Jesus Christ.
Things To Consider:
- If you have not yet accepted Christ, read pages 2-6 in your CLASS 101 booklet. Do you have additional questions about what it means to be a follower of Christ? If so, will you talk to a Christian friend or contact the Church Office (937)393-5383 for answers to your questions?
- If you are a Christian, reread paragraph 1 above. Are you convinced that Jesus Christ is the hope of the world? If so, how does that impact how you relate to people who are far from God?