Good News Chapel
“Give me a J!” the pastor shouted.
“Give me an E!”
“E!” the crowd shouted back.
“Give me an S!”
“Give me a U!”
“Give me another S!”
“What’s that spell?” the pastor yelled.
“JESUS!!!” came the thunderous response .
This was a typical Friday night at Good News Chapel.
The hundred or so people stuffed into the small,
storefront coffeehouse shouted the “Jesus Cheer”
with enthusiasm matching a Super Bowl crowd.
The faces in the crowd were young, mostly between
15-25 years old. Some sat around tables. Actually,
they were large wooden spools the phone company
once used for wrapping massive cable lines. Others
sat shoulder to shoulder on the thinly carpeted floor
for this weekly night of celebration lasting two to four
Oriental paper shades dimmed the glare from the
bare light bulbs dangling from the ceiling. The year
was 1972. Young people hung out in places where
walls were plastered with psychedelic posters, and
rock and roll bands played until the wee hours of the
Good News Chapel was slightly different. The posters
told of the need to find God and the music’s central
message: experience a personal relationship with
Between songs, some raised their hands in the hope
of being asked to share what Christ had done for
them that week. Teens wept as they shared what it
was like to live a life blurred by alcohol and drug
The goal of each meeting was to present Jesus as the
only One to bring real peace to people who welcome
Him. The joy and excitement on each face infected
anyone who attended. At times, parents would even
come to declare the positive changes they saw in
Around 10 p.m., everyone would smell the aroma of
coffee wafting in from the next room. Closing the
meeting in prayer, the “Jesus people” filed out of the
main room, grabbed a coffee and free doughnut and
continued to share with the many guests who
assembled each night.
Sometimes the conversations lasted to midnight.
Often these guests would be seen bowing their heads
to receive Christ as their personal savior when one of
the “regulars” led them in prayer.
Good News Chapel became the envy of many of the
more established churches in the region. We were
effective in reaching people no one else wanted:
runaways, drug users, alcoholics, and the homeless.
Through Good News, young people found their way to
Over the next several years, Good News Chapel
tripled in size. Outreach centers opened in several
language of the day to become “new creatures in
Christ.” (II Corinthians 5:17)
We opened up live-in centers for men and women
and hosted seminars in hotels attended by large
crowds each month. In time, we rented enormous
civic center venues to feature national Christian
speakers. Good News Chapel began to have national
Today, the only remnants of this once great ministry
are a few horses eating grass on the grounds of what
once served as our headquarters. It lives only in the
memories of those who once attended.
Good News Chapel was my church. A newborn in
Christ when I first walked through the door, it became
the central focus of my time and energy for over
fifteen years. Good News was where I:
learned basic Christian doctrine.
trained towards leadership.
became ordained as a pastor.
met my wife.
dedicated my first born daughter.
I entered Good News Chapel as a seventeen year old
teenager. I left as thirty-two year old father of a
growing family. Good News was my life!
time. These first chapters tell the story of how that
happened and why.
My purpose in writing is to help you. Do you belong to
a problem church or merely a church with problems?
The difference is significant.
Every church has problems and challenges. Those
featured in the New Testament were no different. In
fact, the apostolic letters were written to address
these problems. We live in a fallen world populated by
In the church world, many Christians leave churches
every day for silly reasons like:
The church is too small.
The church is too large.
The preacher is not exciting enough.
The church lacks enough programs for children
There is no coffee hour.
They don’t like the music, wallpaper...etc.
If these are your struggles, this book probably won't
help you. Someone led you to believe false ideas
about the nature of true Christianity.
This book is designed for Christ followers who
genuinely love God and their church, but have
practices of their leaders. Problem churches, like the
one I will describe, have gotten so off track they are
no longer in sync with Christ’s mission. They cannot
be restored unless they are overhauled completely.
I also assume that you don’t intend to use this book
as a weapon to criticize a church where you have not
invested yourself. The aim here is to help Christians
who have given years of their blood, sweat, and tears
to a church but are devastated by behaviors that run
contrary to scripture.
My story is not an isolated one. Many churches
continue to be lured into the shipwreck of error by
losing their focus on the true Head of the Church.
There are a variety of churches (large and small)
throughout the world in decline because they violate
the same biblical principles we once did.
Some of you have left your church and now waste
time and emotional energy reliving bitter memories of
past hurts. You left, but never quite recovered.
I get it.
We’re going to talk about things most don’t want to
talk about. We will look at scripture to discern what
constitutes a church over which Christ is Lord. We will
ask some important questions designed to help you
biblical solutions to help you back to spiritual health.
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