Good News to the Community (GNTC) is the work we do at Hope Church to reach out and bring hope to those who live in open despair. We see GNTC as a doorway into church for those in our society who may otherwise never walk into a church building. It encompasses the work that we do alongside those in our community and it incorporates areas like Open House and the 4pm service; where we seek to welcome, befriend and share the gospel with those from our local community.
The Bible is very clear about God’s heart of compassion and mercy for those in need, for example, Matthew 25:31-46
The Sheep and the Goats
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I’d like to leave you with some provocative thoughts from the book ‘The Myth of the Undeserving Poor’ by Natalie Anderson and Martin Charlesworth
“Jesus came to bring good news to the poor. He wasn’t ashamed to associate with people who were in desperate need; in fact, those on the margins of society – shunned beggars, ‘unclean’ lepers, shamed prostitutes and despised tax collectors – seemed to be attracted by him and comfortable around him. Jesus valued everyone he met, regardless of their status, wealth, health or faith.
He saw beyond reputations and stigma, recognising in every human life the image of God. Jesus called (and still calls) his disciples to do likewise, but how much are Christians shaped by political narratives rather than God’s narrative over a person? Is our behaviour towards particular groups of people influenced more by our culture or by our God? Are our attitudes shaped by the headlines we read in our newspapers or the verses we read in the Bible?”