Busic calls for church to be 'on offense’ against gates of hell
Sunday night's service at the 30th General Assembly focused on evangelism as General Superintendent David Busic charged the assembly to "shake the gates of hell."
General Superintendent Carla Sunberg welcomed the crowd of 6,500 people in attendance at the Indiana Convention Center. After a video telling the story of a man's transformed life, Eurasia Region Director Jim Ritchie led the congregation in a time of prayer.
Busic then took the stage to give a message inspired by Matthew 16:15-19, focusing on verse 18 where Jesus tells Peter, "…on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."
He opened by recalling the roots of the Church of the Nazarene and the inspiration for the denomination’s name. In biblical times, the village of Nazareth was a place no one wanted to be associated with, yet Jesus spent the majority of His time there ministering to the poor and oppressed.
“It was that vision that those early Nazarenes said, ‘That is the Church we want to be known as,’” Busic said.
He went on to explain the difference between offense and defense, saying, "gates are defensive; gates are closed."
"Jesus is giving us an image [in Matthew 16] of the church on offense, attacking hell, driving back its gates, and hell not surviving the assault," Busic said.
He then told the story of his father, Bobby, a "Nazareth man" who was wanted by nobody but welcomed by a Church of the Nazarene. That action changed Bobby’s life and ultimately Busic’s.
"Bobby was a Nazareth kid. He was as Nazareth as they come," Busic said. "And a Nazarene family said, ‘Give us your most lost, give us your most broken, give us the person who's the most desperate, and we're going to bring him into this family.’ And it changed the trajectory of our family forever."
He then charged the church to be on offense and reminded them that the gates of hell would not prevail.
"Jesus is Lord, and Jesus said, 'I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against us,'" Busic said. "We are on offense. Go in the power of the Spirit now. Be the sent ones, the filled ones. Be the ambassadors of Jesus."