WARNER ROBINS -- Bishop Marshall Graham, pastor of Greater New Hope Ministries-Church of Christ Written in Heaven, said Greater New Hope was founded out of a passion for helping people in the most need of help.
We reach out to people who feel nobody else cares for them, Graham said. My greatest love is helping people who others have rejected. Id have to say Greater New Hope is about loving and helping people whove had struggles in life, whove had a lot of things affect their self-esteem.
As a result, Graham said the church has developed a clothing ministry, drug and alcohol recovery ministries and ministries related to HIV and AIDS.
We receive LGBT-type personalities openly and in love without judging, Graham said. We stick with what Gods Word says, but we emphasize the love of Christ and dont browbeat people. We love them like Jesus did. We dont look at their sins as any greater than an adulterer or alcoholic. We minister out of love.
Graham said for years the church has conducted regular AIDS awareness symposiums, often featuring such notables as Dr. Mike Smith, director of AIDS Education and Research and professor of medical education at the Mercer University School of Medicine.
Graham said he himself is on the board and partners with Miamis To Cure Is To Care program.
People have gone to churches who were HIV or AIDS positive, and no one wanted to show them love, Graham said. We constantly try to make people aware that these folks are worthy of the love of God just like everyone else.
Along with a love for people and a desire to help, Graham said Greater New Hope is a church focused on God.
Were a high praising church, theres no doubt about that, he said. We love to thank the Lord. I try to move the focus off myself and be humble as a pastor, so my people will be humble. I try to cooperate with all people--and you have to be pretty humble to do that. Jesus showed love and humility, and were to follow. You cant argue a person into being a Christian. I came up in the church when it was all fire and brimstone and people were just scared to go to hell, but really you have to show the love and compassion of Christ because all have sinned and come short of Gods glory. Your shortcomings may not be the same as mine, but we all have them and need to receive Gods grace and to show it to others.
Graham said for Greater New Hope, and for other Christians who will receive it, 2014 will be a unique time of Gods favor.
God started placing that in my spirit at the end of October, he said. We need to be in position to receive it. Favor is that little extra umph from God that helps us in our own lives and character and in our circumstances. Its a time of getting only what God can give. Like with Job, he may have suffered a lot, but in the end, God gave him double what he had before. Its not just in money or things but in our relationships, situations and spiritual life. God is good. His favor is the cutting edge for our success.
Graham founded Greater New Hope in 1994 and has seen it grow to a church of more than 250 members and 30 different auxiliaries and ministries, including crisis, evangelism and ministry. He said the church is dependent on its prayer ministry and has frequent prayer meetings at noon.
Graham serves the church bi-vocationally and without salary and is a captain with the Macon-Bibb County Fire Department.
He is a superintendent with the Church of Christ Written in Heaven and oversees numerous churches in Georgia.
His wife, Sondra, also serves in various roles in ministry at Great New Hope and with Church of Christ Written in Heaven.
We depend on the Holy Spirit, Graham said. I have to say too we are a church of miracles. We believe in Gods power.
Contact Michael W. Pannell at firstname.lastname@example.org.