New owners of old Central Bible College holding first activities this week
After being dormant for six years the old Central Bible College, formerly owned and sold by the Assemblies of God, is now bustling with activity as its new owner, the Good News Mission, is holding its world convention this week with over a thousand missionaries, pastors, and leaders on campus.
This is the 30th anniversary of the organization's overseas ministries and it's the first time all the pastors and leaders have been together in one place.
The religious organization started after the Korean War in the 1960's as American missionaries spread the gospel in what was then mostly Buddhist South Korea. Now 60 percent in that country identify with Christianity.
"Korea is now a place where we're sending out missionaries to re-connect people in the United States to God so this is a very exciting time to us," said Terry Henderson, a Good News Mission pastor.
The Good News Mission has now spread to 95 countries, and most (976) of its 1,156 churches are outside Korea (180).
"We're not here to only preach to Koreans, Asians, or one ethnicity," Henderson said. "So yes, please do not feel different or uncomfortable. It's open to anybody and everybody."
So what type of doctrine does the Good News Mission follow?
"Our church is registered as an independent Baptist church," Henderson explained. "We believe that the Bible is the true word of God, Jesus was the son of God, and he washed our sins upon the cross," Henderson said.
But over the years the Good News Mission has created a Christian Leaders Fellowship, reaching out to sign agreements with over 115,000 pastors from 62 different denominations in 18 countries to band together in missionary work.
"Maybe we grew up hearing different things from different angles but we want to go beyond denomination and beyond doctrinal differences," Henderson said. "So we've had really good reactions from churches from all denominations."
As for their move to Springfield, the Huntington, New York based organization basically wants to do the same thing with the former CBC that the Assemblies of God did, and what the Baptist denomination does with Baptist Bible College located just down the street on Kearney.
"This is where we want to have the center of our pastoral training," Henderson explained. "Having the number of dorm rooms here was very convenient for us so what we see going forward is to create a degree-granting school for music and theology. We envision this place becoming a very important center of the gospel being spread all over the world."
There are several more youth- oriented events slated for this summer at the campus and the Good News Mission hopes to become fully- integrated into the Springfield community, having already met with many local pastors.