Friday, December 12, 2008

The Gospel and the Local Congregation

After the Christmas and New Year's holidays I plan on preaching a series of messages concerning the centrality of the Gospel in the life of the church. I was challenged, therefore, when I read the following post from Ligon Duncan.

One of the things I had the pleasure of chatting with Al Mohler about when I was in Louisville Friday last week was the evangel, the Gospel itself. I think that all the particpants in T4G share a passion that local congregations of Christians would be characterized by a Gospel culture, a Gospel-sharing culture, a culture of evangelism.

By that I mean: [1] that your whole congregation would be able to articulate the Gospel, personally, in a compelling and understandable way; [2] that your whole congregation would understand the importance and necessity of their lives, their prayers and their participation in Gospel witness; [3] that your whole congregation would deeply care about conversions (and I would lay stress here, that we are talking about real conversions, not numbers; disciples, not decisions; changed lives, not merely prayed prayers); [4] that your whole congregation would earnestly and regularly pray for conversions, talks about their own conversions and the conversions of others, and put a priority on people coming to know God; and [5] that your whole congregation would be excited about the Gospel itself, and not simply about a method of sharing the Gospel, or a training program.

To this end in my own congregation, it was my joy this last autumn to spend thirteen weeks of Wednesday nights, meeting with about 115 of our members, in what we called "The Gospel Course." The aim of our study in the Gospel Course was (among other things), to provide participants with: (1) a fuller understanding of the Gospel; (2) an opportunity to hone and articulate their Christian testimony; (3) an opportunity to be instructed in, observe and engage in Gospel conversations; (4) a simple, biblical, outline of the Gospel; (5) encouragements and helps to share (or more effectively share) the Gospel; (6) an opportunity to help better the evangelism equipping of our congregation; (7) the opportunity to see how all pastors of the church are involved in gospel witness; and (8) encouragement and instruction on how to engage others in the church in this Gospel culture.

1 comment:

rmc said...

Sounds good. I hope it will be much more than how to share the gospel with the lost, but how the same gospel that inititially saves us also grows us. Because the reality is, if we are experiencing the power of the gospel to significantly grow us, after 10, 20, 30 years of being Christians, it shouldn't be that hard to share or be excited about. How about gospel centered discipleship in small groups, how can that happen? Not only that, but there are Christians in 3rd world countries who are so desperate for God that they are willing to recognize that the cross is the one great divider and uniter of people and that it takes the whole body of Christ to change the spiritual climate over a city or region so that significant numbers of people are open to the gospel. This is even being demonstrated in the USA for example in Elk River, MN, with a transformational movement that began with one conservative evangelical pastor and one charismatic pastor meeting in a library for prayer and recognizing their oneness in Christ. Let's go for it all the way, the power of the gospel to transform believers all the days of our lives and the power of the gospel to unite believers in prayer, acts of mercy, and evangelism so that our entire region can be being transformed by the cross, all for the glory of God.