From Here to Eternity – An Interview with Eliezer Gonzalez, CEO of Good News Unlimited
Jun 17, 2016 1151
It’s been a while since you were interviewed for the magazine. Why now?
Good News Unlimited’s supporters should know where their ministry is up to. GNU’s work is a work of the Body of Christ, we should share our achievements and challenges, our joys and burdens with one another. In this way we are faithful to our Lord, and to each other.
Let’s start on a high note with GNU’s achievements.
Our small Gospel ministry has been able to establish networks and relationships across several continents, both on Christian media and on the ground, largely through faithful volunteers. We are now reaching millions of people with the Good News of Jesus Christ and we have reason to believe that many thousands of people have accepted salvation through Christ as a result of our ministry.
We thank God for such wonderful achievements. What about the challenges? What are the financial challenges and how will they be overcome?
I should preface my comments by saying that GNU is very prudent in its use of funds; we keep low overheads, focusing our financial resources on spreading the Good News. We have been able to meet all our financial commitments, and expect to do so into the future.
We face a good challenge: not so much a shortage of financial resources, but an abundance of ministry needs.
GNU has largely funded its ability to spread the Word Fast until now through the sale of a property a few years ago. We follow Jesus’ instruction not to store up our treasure, but to invest it in the Gospel. GNU has worked hard to increase its revenue through financial gifts for the spread of the Good News.
However, the capital is almost gone now, and our donation income is still not sufficient to fund all of our current activities. That is why we are having a special “Faith-Gap” Appeal during May and June. We want to see the gap in people’s hearts filled with faith in Jesus Christ. We also believe that any gap in our ability to continue sharing the Good News as we have been doing will be filled through faith.
Dr Desmond Ford founded GNU, and for years people who loved him and his clear presentation of the Gospel supported it. Des does not seem to be so visible any more. Does GNU still honour Des’ ministry?
Absolutely! GNU adheres closely to the vision Des has articulated for his legacy. He loves the Gospel, and wants as many people as possible to hear it and to be in the Kingdom! And the Gospel that Des taught for so many years is in the very DNA of GNU! This gives our ministry its power.
Des is in remarkable health for an 87 year-old, although recently has faced, and overcome, some serious health challenges. He’s currently taking a break from preaching, but by the grace of God we hope to have him back soon. I meet regularly with him to report GNU’s progress and seek his counsel.
What will GNU do if something were to happen to Des?
Des wants his legacy to be a vibrant and successful GNU. The Lord has blessed us with Des and his ministry for a good long time. The challenge is that most Christian ministries do not survive the passing of their founders, so GNU has been working hard to make sure that its ministry is not about Desmond Ford and his message, but about Jesus Christ and his message – the essentials of the Gospel.
I believe this is approach honours Des, but most importantly, honours the Lord God.
With the changes that GNU has undergone, we occasionally receive feedback from some of our long-time supporters that they miss the deep theological articles in the magazine. Where have they gone?
We try to include some good solid spiritual food in every communication that we sent out, but we have new challenges as well. Previously GNU’s ministry invested mainly in encouraging Christians in the Gospel. More recently, that focus has changed to those who have not yet accepted it. Our magazines and newsletters reflect that.
Our support base is also changing. Previously, GNU’s financial support base consisted mainly of people who had enjoyed Des’ ministry in earlier years. But as those wonderful, faithful people aged, GNU’s board was obliged to consider whether GNU should be closed.
The challenge the board gave me was to engage new supporters from many demographics and a wide variety of Christian backgrounds. Our challenge has been to meet the needs of our traditional supporters as well as our newer supporters.
We also use the magazine and newsletter to share the wonderful news of how the Word is spreading fast under God’s leading. We believe all our supporters are encouraged by this.
So how is the acquisition of new supporters going?
GNU is being greatly blessed by the Lord in so many ways! Supporters and donors are joining GNU by the many hundreds every year.
The challenge is to attract people to our mission quickly while still maintaining the support of our existing supporters. To do this we must make sure that we all understand the importance of GNU’s mission in light of the Gospel and the soon-coming of our Lord. We are blessed with supporters, both old and new, who love Christ above all, and who put the sharing of the Gospel first.
How has GNU changed in its use of media?
Dr Desmond Ford has used radio in Australia and the USA for decades, and is still heard in some parts of the United States. The key change can be summarised in one word – digital!
GNU’s traditional print, TV and radio ministry has evolved to include digital media. This means that the message of the Gospel is able to spread to millions more people for a fraction of the cost. Online helps GNU to fulfil its mission of spreading the Word fast, through our website, and various social media platforms, which support our active on-the-ground ministry.
As a result, GNU now publishes more Gospel material in a single month that it did over many months. This
includes online articles, blogs, and daily devotionals, where we are experiencing the most rapid growth.
Why does GNU invest so heavily in the spread of the Gospel overseas? Isn’t there enough work to be done in Australia?
There sure is! However our Lord’s great commission doesn’t allow us to restrict our spreading of the Word to our own back yard. We must share the Gospel where there is the most need.
Of course, our ministry reaches many people in our own country as well, and I regularly receive messages from Australians who have either been converted or blessed through the ministry of GNU.
Can you tell us about the challenges of operating GNU’s cross-cultural ministry?
We have language challenges; for example, editing and rewriting testimonies and stories into standard English! In some areas, people are not comfortable sharing their stories, either because of their oral, non-literate culture or because of a repressive background, and we must encourage them gently to do so for the glory of God.
Sometimes the attitude towards financial administration and gospel stewardship is very different to ours. We must be very careful with whom we partner, and how gospel funds are expended. We are always mindful that every cent donated belongs to the Lord God Almighty, and must be wisely invested to share the Gospel.
What do you see ahead for GNU?
I can’t answer that question precisely, because God’s plans are always so much bigger than we can imagine. I can tell you that we are committed to being a truly transdenominational ministry, working with all Christians in the great endeavour for the Kingdom of God.
In the short term, the Lord will provide the means for us to continue to fund our existing Gospel projects. And from the strong base that GNU has developed in recent years, we will then say to God, “Here I am, send me.” I don’t believe that’s an offer God has ever refused.
My dream is that heaven will be filled with people who heard and accepted the Word of salvation through the ministry of Good News Unlimited. Des shares that fervent prayer.