“And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.” Matthew 9:35
Two-thirds of Grand Rapids is not a part of any worshiping community. This means that, at best, there are people who believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ but are not a part of a community of people who live this out. Or at worst, they do not know Jesus at all. The whole point of planting another church in Grand Rapids is because we want this number to get to zero. Zero percent. Not because we want to force our ideals and beliefs on another person but because we believe that a real person, in a real point in history, lived, died, and then rose again from the grave for the forgiveness of all. And this truth has changed our lives for the better, and we want everyone to know this reality.
We believe that this truth (which we call the gospel or “good news”) has an impact on our lives today. It’s not merely a get out of hell free card, save you in the afterlife, go to heaven when you die, reality. This would make Jesus, as Brian Zahnd says, “simply the one who saves us from the world, not the saviour of the world.” Because, as you read and learn about Jesus you see that he cared a lot about what was going on right now, and not just about the future. Yes, it impacts us after we die, but salvation is available to us now. This is what we see Jesus doing all throughout scripture. He would go into an area and proclaim the gospel and take care of the needs of the people there. He cares for people (all people) now. Jesus’ teachings are still radical, even 2000 some years later.
And that’s the whole point: To reach as many people as possible with the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to see the city of Grand Rapids changed for the better. Today. Not only for some future day, when we die, but starting today.
“Behold, now is the favorable time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”
2 Corinthians 6:2b
Sources: US Census Bureau, Synergos Technologies Inc., Experian, DecisionInsite/MissionInsite, http://download.redeemer.com/pdf/learn/resources/Why_Plant_Churches-Keller.pdf