Next for America, Next for BCBC


Well, here we are - finally - in post-2016 election America.

Certainly every election cycle brings out the best and the worst in various people - this particular one seemed to trend toward the latter. We all learned some important lessons (I hope) and we all will now rise to the occasion history has granted us (I pray).

Whether you personally count November 8, 2016 as a victory or a defeat I suppose depends upon your political bent, and a whole range of factors that have made you who you are today, with whatever values you hold. Many people saw it as "landslide" in their favor, others saw it as precisely the opposite. We've all read the rancor in both traditional and social media, which goes something like: "I'm celebrating!" vs. "You're not being sensitive to people who are hurting!" "We're finally safe!" vs. "I have friends who are scared!" "America has lost its way!" vs. America is the right track!"

As Christians, six things are true for us on this, the week after the election:

1. We're called to make disciples.
2. We're called to love everyone, everywhere.
3. We're called to pray for our government leaders.
4. We're called to be salt and light in our nation.
5. We're called to focus on eternity more than on this world.
6. We're called to live at peace as far as it depends on us.

Of course, these six things have been true all along - before the election, before America was even a nation, before Columbus sailed... in fact it was 2,000 years ago that our calling was established, in the rural villages of an obscure province of the then-mighty Roman Empire. It was then and there that "the Word (Jesus) became flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14).

Nothing about following Jesus changed last Tuesday night, other than the context into which we must live out our call.

What's Next for BCBC?

As a church, we’ve set forth three Great Commission goals, and we'd be pursuing those regardless of who won the election or which way cultural winds happen to blow. These are things that transcend politics, and are global in scope:

1. Make room for more disciple-making.
2. Reach every household in our region with the gospel.
3. Aggressively aim to plant new churches.

The strategy behind our three goals looks something like this: every church should take responsibility for reaching its own community with the gospel in a robust way (outreach). Then, every church should be involved in helping new churches get started, who will then take responsibility for reaching their communities with the gospel (missions). Repeating that process year after year ultimately means that the whole world gets reached.

In 2017, we are initiating a plan to creatively introduce every household in our region to the Bible’s life-changing truth. The outreach we have in mind is one that I am so excited about - knowing how many people will, perhaps for the first time, really hear the gospel.

There are around 14,000 households in the areas that directly surround the church (Berrien Springs, Dowagiac, Eau Claire, Sodus, and Berrien Center). If we look out at a broader region, which would include a few more surrounding cities (like Niles, Buchanan, and St. Joseph) we see that number rise to more than 40,000 households. In a literal sense, this is what we mean when we discuss "reaching our community" for Christ- the whole region where we live, shop, go to school, and go to work. There may even be a few more communities beyond what I've referenced that are involved in our "region." We can talk about that in the days ahead.

"Dan, that's all sounds great! What are we actually going to do?

For that answer, show up on Sunday.

See you then.

Dan Jarvis
Teaching Pastor