Bringing good, not bad, news to folks
July 6 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Bringing good, not bad, news to folks | Friday, July 6, 2001

Friday, July 6, 2001

Bringing good, not bad, news to folks

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor ATLANTA - Churches locked into 20th Century thinking have until about 2007 to unlock themselves to the future and reach 21st Century post-modern people, according to a consultant for congregational leadership. "Time is running out," said Tom Bandy of Easum, Bandy and Associates. "(Churches) have five to seven years to be welcome relief rather than bad news. In five to seven years, (post-moderns will) give up."

Bandy made his comments to about 220 people attending the Leadership Institute held in connection with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship's 10th annual General Assembly in Atlanta June 28-30.

"This is the mission field of the 21st century," Bandy said about the United States, noting that more missionaries are sent to America than any other country except Brazil.

"Most people in America don't see Christians as being bearers of good news," he said. Bad news churches are ideological, dogmatic, think they have the right to evaluate someone's life, think the denomination knows best, allow the spirit of God only to be "measured out in safe doses," and want all people to be the same, he said.

Good news churches help people understand the transforming power of Jesus Christ, provide welcome relief, help a person fulfill their destiny, and love the nuances of being cross cultural.

People in the 20th century asked the following church-related questions: Will my life be stable? Will my faith be correct? And, will my attitude be dutiful to my heritage?

The questions people have in the 21st century are these: Will my life be healthier? Will it be portable (can it be taken with them when they are transferred)? And, will my faith formation be more hopeful?

"Healthy, thriving churches are all about changing individuals and society, and the clergy leaders are intent on reaching the lost," Bandy wrote in a packet given to attendees.

He told a story about a man in an economically depressed area of Canada to illustrate a five-step process of a thriving church helping people - changed, gifted, called, equipped and sent. The man, who wore rummage clothes and missed his front teeth, had experienced a spiritual change in his life and told the local pastor how God had liberated him from alcohol and enabled him to discern his gift of being able to talk to anybody. The man said he was called to play his accordion and engage passersby in conversation.

The pastor's first instinct was to think that her denomination doesn't send accordion-playing missionaries. Then she thought how that type of ministry wasn't included in the church's mission plan. In addition, she didn't like accordion music.

But the man's call wasn't contrary to the church's core values and mission and so the church decided to equip him by paying for accordion lessons and having a social service representative inform him about services available in the city. Then they sent him out.

"Just get out there and do what you're called to do," the pastor said.

The man now plays on street corners during the summers and directs people to various services, ranging from Alcoholic Anonymous meetings at the church to the mental health clinic.

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7/6/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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