On October 31, 1517, Martin Luther launched the Protestant Reformation with his 95 Theses. Last October 31, Highland Christian Church shared its own radical message with the community of Asheville, North Carolina.
“Much of the next generation walked away from church and has never returned,” says Sherri McCready, creative arts director. “Today less than half of 1 percent of people ages 18 to 25 in this country understand the Bible. We have failed to present the gospel in a way that connects with our culture.”
Inspired by 2 Chronicles 7:14, McCready and the HCC team began considering the role of humility and repentance in bringing healing to a nation.
“Two years ago my husband, Shannon, our lead pastor, began compiling reasons the church needs to ask forgiveness,” she says.
When the anniversary of Luther’s declaration fell on a Sunday, the McCreadys decided this was the year to “nail it to the door” by filming and sharing a video of repentance.
“Ninety-five reasons isn’t a protest,” the video begins. “It’s not about being angry.” Instead, it says, the focus is on sorrow for not being the church Jesus intended. The rest of the video consists of HCC leaders and members apologizing for 95 mistakes the church has made through the ages.
“So far the response has been beautiful,” Sherri says. “When we showed it in services, we facilitated a time for people to respond. One visiting college student came forward to admit his rebelliousness against his parents and other authority. The video stimulated an environment of repentance. We didn’t expect that, but we’re thankful.”
Other community members and church leaders have also shown the video.
“It’s a hard thing, but it’s the right thing,” she says. “I’m glad we could share this message.”
Watch the video at http://vimeo.com/16416649.
Jennifer Taylor, one of Christian Standard’s contributing editors, lives in Nashville, Tennessee. Read her blog at www. christianstandard.com.
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