what we do
D. L. Moody Center echoes Dwight Moody’s call to challenge and convene God’s people so that the whole church proclaims the gospel in word and deed.
Dwight Moody is rightly known as the greatest evangelist of the 19th century. Conservative estimates suggest that he preached the gospel to 100,000,000+. Beyond his one personal work, D. L. Moody also inspired evangelists like Billy Graham, founders of other evengelistic ministries like Jesse Overholtzer, and missionary groups like the Student Volunteer Movement. Despite humble beginnings as a poor boy in Northfield, D. L. Moody spent his relatively short sixty-two years on this earth in fruitful service to God.
While his evangelistic work is impressive, D. L. Moody was more than an evangelist. Relatively early in his ministry, Moody recognized the need for God’s people as a whole to use their talents to advance the kingdom of Christ. In 1884, Moody notes,
“During the years that I have been privileged to labor for God…I have strongly and increasingly felt that the task of arousing Christians to a deeper sense of their responsibility is even a more important one than that of the simple evangelist.”D. L. Moody, To the Work! To the Work! Exhortations to Christians
Moody believed that the unified witness of God’s people was crucial to the proclamation of the gospel.
Moody would act on this feeling by hosting the General Conference of Christian Workers in Northfield. While often referred to as “Bible conferences,” the gatherings were intended to challenge God’s people to do the work of the gospel. As Moody’s initial letter of invitation notes, the purpose of the conferences was less about the study of the scriptures “as for solemn self-consecration, for pleading God’s promises, and waiting upon Him for a fresh anointment of power from on high.”
Open to Chrisitans across all denominations, the conferences sought to unify God’s people under the authority of Bible. As Moody once noted, “The central idea of the Northfield Conferences is Christian unity…but it is understood that along with the idea of Christian unity goes the Bible as it stands.” In his 1899 call to convene together in Northfield for a time of prayer, worship, study, and discerning the promptings of the Holy spirit, Moody invited “all of God’s people who are interested in the study of His Word, in the development of their own Christian lives, in a revival of the spiritual life of the Church, in the conversion of sinners, and in the evangelization of the world.”
The D. L. Moody Center exists to echo this call by challenging and convening God’s people to proclaim the gospel together in word and deed.
why we do it
A WORLD THAT NEEDS TO HEAR THE UNCOMPLICATED GOSPEL
We do what we do because the world is not as it should be. We live in a broken world that has lost its way. While the challenges and injustices of the world are painfully obvious, the root cause of those problems have been forgotten. There is no human solution to sin and death. Our limitations and misdirected desires will always result in cruelty, partiality, and disappointment.
The gospel message is uncomplicated, but the problems we face are not. While accepting Christ will not solve all the world’s problems, it is a necessary starting point because “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Prov 1:9). While we may leave this world more broken than we found it, we know that we convey God to the world by continuing to be faithful as we confront a world so broken only God can fix it. Yet, if we want to see a world in which people admit their faults, make restitution, offer forgiveness, and show love for their neighborr, we must first call off of humanity to obey the greatest commandment: “…love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (Matt 22:37).
We desire to see the world and the individuals within it transformed by the power of God’s word. We believe in the power of the gospel and trust that, as God’s people come together, the Spirit will bless our work. Our hope, along with Dwight Moody is to see “a wave surging from Maine to California sweeping thousands into the Kingdom of God.”
where we do it
First, as stewards of the historic grounds in Northfield, MA, we use our buildings and grounds for individual and small group retreats, as well as a self-guided prayer walk. D. L. Moody Center host 12-15k visitors each year.
We also continue to use the 2300 seat auditorium for preaching, prayer, and worship hosting nationally known musicians and speakers like Big Daddy Weave, Mac Powell, Zach Williams, Michael Youssef, Erwin Lutzer, and a variety of others.
D. L. Moody Center has a unique opportunity to share the gospel to those in New England. Every year more than 2.5 million travelers and tourists visit sites with historic and religious significance in Massachusetts. As such, D. L. Moody Center is in the process of creating the Gospel Experience, which will span our entire property conveying the message of the gospel through the life of D. L. Moody and the history of the United States and New England. Our desire is that as visitors come to Northfield that they will be confronted with the gospel and have a life-changing encounter with Jesus Christ.
Second, we utilize technology to challenge and convene God’s people for prayer, study, and the proclamation of the gospel through The Shine Bright Project. The Shine Bright Project is inspired by Dwight Moody and included the Go Dark, Shine Bright campaign and Shine Bright 365.
The Go Dark, Shine Bright campaign calls believers to take a 10-day fast from social media to study and pray. After completing their fast, they are challenged to share their faith on social media or with their in-person acquaintances.
Shine Bright 365 utilizes multi-day challenges designed to encourage God’s people to walk by faith, not by sight. Shine Bright 365 will provide God’s people with exercises designed to help them grow as disciples. You can preview Shine Bright 365 for free by downloading “Becoming Useful to God” an eight-lesson study based on Useful to God: Eight Lessons from the Life of D. L. Moody, the new book from D. L. Moody Center President James Spencer.
Taking a “faith as fitness” approach, Shine Bright 365 will utilize a modified fitness app to allow Christians to set goals and build accountability, as well as having access to coaching and a community of others working through the same materials.
Finally, we challenge God’s people to share the gospel by sharing it ourselves and offering resources to help others in evangelism.
how we do it
CHALLENGE. CONVENE. PROCLAIM.
Moody was the preeminent evangelist of his day, yet he also had a passions to see God’s people ready to do the work of the Kingdom together. Moody opened the Northfield Campus as a place to educate young men and women and to encourage pastors and Christian workers. He desired to see the whole church make much of Christ through his work on the Northfield campus. Today, DLMC carries on that work.
As D. L. Moody called God’s people together to pray, worship, hear the word preached, and discern the Holy Spirit, so D. L. Moody Center brings Christians together in Northfield and online in the hopes of brining about revival in the church. As Dwight Moody once noted, “The history of revivals proves that such a work must begin at the house of God.”
The D. L. Moody Center is not a school, yet we believe it is the responsibility of every Christian to teach others the wisdom of obedience. There is a difference between learning and learning to obey. We focus on the latter by challenging God’s people to take concrete steps of obedience in their daily lives.
D. L. Moody Center seeks to encourage the church to proclaim the gospel, as well as using the Northfield property to present the gospel to visitors who come to the Northfield Property because of a historical interest. Our goal is to create an experience in Northfield that makes it hard for our visitors to ignore the gospel.
MAKING MUCH OF GOD THROUGH THE LIFE AND MINISTRY OF DWIGHT L. MOODY
Dwight Moody is not the hero of the story. It is certainly safe to say that he is part of the “great cloud of witnesses” that “by faith” built schools, shared the gospel with multiple millions, cared for the poor and downtrodden, and inspired countless others to do the work of the Kingdom. But Moody would have been the first to point out that he did only accomplished what he did because God gave him the power to do so and guided his steps. If we look back at Dwight Moody and don’t see God, we are missing the only part of the story that really matters.
At the D. L. Moody Center, we believe that God is not done with D. L. Moody and he is not done with us either. He continues to use Moody’s life and thought to remind us that he works through ordinary people who are prepared to follow him. As Moody himself notes, “A great many people are afraid of the will of God, and yet I believe that one of the sweetest lessons that we can learn in the school of Christ is the surrender of oru wills to God, letting Him plan for us and rule our lives.”
So, who makes the D. L. Moody Center work?
We have a number of people to thank for what the D. L. Moody Center is today. We are truly grateful for the contributions of: