Good News

As 2016 begins, Good News is entering its 21st year in publication. Editor Elijah Raines has been on an interesting journey with this periodical founded in 1995 by his father, Jim Raines. As Elijah entered the working world in ‘97 his dad said “you can come and work for me any time”.
He waited to take his dad’s offer, feeling called to be a part of Set Free, a street ministry in downtown Coeur d’Alene that he had been involved in for 2 years prior. Set Free was a ministry that did a lot of outreach from concerts, passing out tracts and finding any creative way to tell people about Jesus. He would spend his time praying for and talking with people about Jesus at coffee shops or at the park. He found a job at a local restaurant and found that even a restaurant would be a place that he could witness and pray for people.
After a year of restaurant work he felt the need for a new start as it seemed that doors were closing. He began to feel trapped in his job and like nothing was going right, remembering his dad’s offer he quit his job and went to work with the Good News. He sees that his approach to ministry was shaped in those years at Set Free, wanting to connect with people and build relationship while spreading the gospel.
A few years later, his father followed God’s call to relocate to Houston and started a Good News publication in Texas. He left Elijah to run the Eastern Washington/Northern Idaho edition solo. This allowed Elijah to see the ministry potential of moving forward here while his father expanded the ministry in Houston. Possibilities for ministry began to grow within Elijah.
As he started addressing advertising, cold calls seemed to be the way to make new contacts, taking a stack of the Good News business to business up and down the street with the purpose to spread the gospel and hoping to sell some ads at the same time. This reminded him of passing out tracts with Set Free. As he worked he began to fill advertising space as he received on the job training for ad sales.
For example, “Sam” was a customer who bought an advertisement. When Elijah visited Sam’s office, he saw several examples of ungodly things in the office. Over time, Elijah prayed for him and watched a transformation in Sam. He turned away from things that didn’t please God. While other factors were involved, Good News was a part of his transformation.
Elijah believes making cold calls and working with potential advertisers connect him with people he might not meet otherwise. He sees his role as “letting the Lord’s light shine” on anyone who may not have made a commitment to Christ. The Good News has had many advertisers over the years and while some see it as only as advertising, others see the purpose to spread the gospel.
Good News focuses their articles on the local scene because their service niche is to help people in the area learn about ministries and local life transformations. Most articles either highlight a local ministry or share a testimony or both. Elijah believes that by printing articles by ministries, some in the community will want to become part of the ministry in a way that will supply needs for the ministry. He finds the testimony articles to be helpful with those going through hard times or who don’t have a relationship with Christ. These first person stories help readers learn how Christ has impacted others. Elijah hopes they will influence readers to take a step of faith.
The paper is available in many places around town in local businesses like grocery stores and restaurants. While he doesn’t know how many readers have committed their lives to Christ, studies from Christian radio demonstrate that 30% of listeners don’t have a personal relationship with the Lord. My perspective is that these statistics may apply to readers of Good News. Good News’ purpose as a christian newspaper is to reach people where they are with the gospel through a real life story that people can connect with.
As Scripture teaches us when it says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11, NIV)
Another unlikely place for ministry impact is in the local jail. Prison chaplains ask for a few copies to take into the jail as part of an effort to reach the incarcerated. He discovered that about four or five inmates read each copy since they have plenty of time and not a lot to do. The chaplains have said that the testimonies are impactful to reach the prisoners. For some, landing in jail is a low point in their life, a place where the hope of Christ can penetrate.
In the 21 years that Good News has published, many readers have discovered the Good News of the Gospel whether business owner, jail inmate or a casual reader picking up the paper while waiting for a lunch companion to arrive. At the same time businesses are able to effectively reach potential customers in a different way while assisting an excellent ministry platform. Readers enjoy the articles and are exposed to advertisers with whom they may want do business.
Whether in street ministry, at the workplace or working with Good News; Elijah echoes Isaiah’s words written long ago, “He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.” (Isaiah 61:1b, NIV)
In the end, like everything else, it’s not the everyday news that is the most important. It is choosing to use the printed word to transform lives; this is Good News.

Find Peace of mind, hope and satisfaction in doing business God’s way at: