Small Church, Big Kingdom Work

Written by Gina Sue Rogers Bradley.

New Life Baptist Church partners with Good News in Action

“He then said, ‘I will rob you, kill you, and cut you into tiny pieces and no one will care. No one will know. The police won’t care, and no one will know what happened to you.’ And then I turned to watch my interpreter sprint far the other direction!” recounts New Life Baptist Church of Carthage’s Pastor John Ulrich of his latest mission trip in Bogotá, Columbia.  Thankfully, the angry would-be-murderer eventually sprinted away himself without following through on his threats, but it left Brother John with a desire to reach even more Columbians with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  “They are angry and bitter.  They have been lied to.  They need Jesus.”

The small body of New Life Baptist Church in Carthage has been partnering with Good News in Action since 2009, but Brother John has been sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with them for 20 years.  Good News in Action’s Mission Statement proclaims existence “to glorify God being used by Him to expand His Kingdom through evangelism, church planting, the sustaining of those churches, and leadership training” in Central and South America; and the fruit is evident from their market-place, in-the-street evangelism because Good News in Action has helped birth 60+ churches, seen over 332,000 decisions for Christ, and supports 33 pastors, churches, and missionaries in El Salvador and Latin America.

Being familiar with the passion and success of Good News in Action to find and reach the lost, New Life Baptist Church sends 25% of their tithes and offerings in support every month as well as supports their pastor’s mission trips there when Good News in Action calls and asks Brother John to come. (The Good News in Action church plants are also New Life Baptist Churches – but you would visit a Vida Nueva body in Central and South America.)  Steve Kern, the Good News in Action Director says, “We are amazed at the support sent from New Life Baptist Church in Carthage, Texas!  In a time when people have to reconfigure their giving and finances, the Lord uses our New Life Baptist Church family in Carthage to always come through for us in a huge way.  We could not do what we do without them.  We really couldn’t.”  Kern, who comes to Carthage when he can to visit his New Life family, has been the Good News in Action Director since 2006 in San Salvador where he also pastors, preaches multiple services a week, teaches in the seminary, mentors many men who feel called into the ministry, disciples, and gives leadership to all aspects of Metro America.  It is definitely a far cry from his earlier path in life of being a chemical engineer in California!

“Every time I get to go on mission to Managua or San Salvador, and especially this first recent trip into Bogotá, I leave a piece of my heart there.” says, Pastor Ulrich.  “David and Alex (the Vida Nueva pastor and leader in Bogotá) have a huge mission field before them, and we all yearn to reach every single one of those 10 million individuals…yes, even the would-be murder ones!” Brother John kind of laughs at that, which is easy to do once you are back home safe and sound, but he is a happy guy anyway. 

Brother John met Jesus and was saved later in life, but since that day his young daughter Melissa actually led him to Christ, he has been sold out 100% for Jesus Christ and desperate to share that hope and truth and saving grace with others.  “The Lord put me in the path of great leaders and teachers of the Word of God when I got saved who helped me learn the mind of Christ.  I am so fortunate to have met those men and be taught by so many wise leaders and teachers and preachers who also eventually introduced me to on-the-street evangelism.  Sharing the gospel with people on the street in a place where there is a wide-open door is an unexplainable experience of joy and fulfillment; but when people come together with one purpose and one heart prepared, even not speaking the language and not even knowing each other’s names…well, God is not burdened by my little brain.  When we are prepared with one heart and one purpose, amazing things can happen.”  Of course, Brother John is passionate about sharing the gospel at home, too.  “Amazing things can happen here too, even where the door is not so open.  My mentor, Leo, would be at the gas station and ask me with a grin if I thought the stranger next to us should go to hell or if we should share the gospel with him in case he hasn’t heard it.  I choose to share the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

The Good News in Action founder, Leo, always shared the dream of having an “unexplainable church, only explained by the power of God.” Director Kern recounted recently to his congregation in San Salvador how “God has taken us from 12 people meeting in a living room to close to 2,000 people meeting in four campuses with missions in four other countries.  It’s unexplainable how God has used us to help start over 60 churches and see over 320,000 professions of faith through Good News in Action.  It’s especially unexplainable if you really know us because we have nothing to offer God.  Yet, He has done unexplainable things.”

Pastor Ulrich and the New Life Baptist Church body of Carthage also know they have nothing to offer God but find great joy in getting to be a small part of building His big, unexplainable kingdom.  Kern says, “I am always surprised to be reminded of the small physical size of New Life Baptist Church in Carthage, because they give so big.”

Read more about Steve Kern and Good News in Action at http://www.goodnewsinaction.org/