Summary: God’s plan has never changed. He has commissioned the church to "…go into all the world & make disciples of all people, baptizing them in the name of the Father, & of the Son, & and the Holy Spirit."
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN CHURCH
ILL. Many of you grew up in a little town much like the one that I am going to describe to you now. It isn’t very different from many small towns even today. So travel back with me for a few moments to your Hometown, USA.
It was a quiet little farming community where everybody pretty much knew everybody else. It had definite, discernible cultural centers. I’m not sure that cultural is the right word, but they were definite places where people congregated to do special things.
The school was one such cultural center. Almost everything that happened was connected in one way or another to the school. It hosted basketball games, football games, band concerts. It was the community gathering place.
The church was another cultural center. Some would point out that there were more taverns than churches, but no one much dwelt on that.
It had a local newspaper that consisted of one sheet, printed front & back, & folded in the middle so that it consisted of 4 pages. It was delivered to your home for 25 cents a week, Monday through Friday, & you could catch up on all of the latest gossip.
Main Street was dotted with locally owned businesses. They had been in the family for years, from one generation to another. And they provided a fairly comfortable living for that family.
There was a local bank, owned by local people. The money on deposit was earned locally. When you borrowed from it, you borrowed from your neighbors. When you paid it back, your neighbors benefited from the interest.
Your little town was surrounded by farms, family owned, passed on from one generation to another. Mom & dad, sons & daughters, all worked to plant the crops, working together to make a living on the farm.
About this time of year the leaves would begin to turn. Around Nov. 1st it would start to snow, & about the last of May it would stop snowing. Which is one of the reasons why you no longer live in that little town.
It was a quiet little community where kids gathered underneath the street lights at night to play "Hide & go seek." In wintertime they would take their sleds to the park & slide down the hills & breathe unpolluted air. A quiet little community where mom & dad still lived only a few miles from the place where they were born, & their parents before them.
Yet, when your generation came of age, you left that community, & now your children know hardly anything about it other than what you have told them, & the few visits you have taken back there to see relatives. Sometimes you have reminisced about that quieter & simpler & less complicated life. That is all your children really know about your hometown.
SUM. That is the world into which you were born, & probably very similar to the world into which most of the rest of us were born.
I. OUR CONTEMPORARY WORLD
A. But today, our world has experienced sweeping, revolutionary changes. The school is now a consolidation, & children are bused in from miles around. Now pupils are reported as statistics to government agencies for the purpose of receiving tax moneys.