This series will explore the values that shape missional communities at The Austin Stone. These values are rooted in the gospel and driven by our motivations to love God and love people. In this series, I will explore:
- Why Values?
- The Word
- Demonstrating the Kingdom
- Declaring the Gospel
Most evangelical churches value the centrality of God’s word, so it seems like this ought to be something that goes unspoken. Like anything though, if you begin to assume it, you’re only a few short steps from it being forgotten. We make this value explicit therefore in our Roadmap:
This explicit value flows from our motivation to love God. The Word is where we learn about God – His character and His purposes. You cannot love someone without a commitment to know their character and purposes. Growing in our affections for God requires that we know him more!
To be a word centered church doesn’t just mean that you have expositional preaching though. Because the church is a group of people, to be a Word-centered church means to be a Word-centered people. Practically speaking, we want every person in our church community to be engaging the Word of God on a daily basis. We want to cultivate self-feeders, not consumers.
Our basic discipline of Scripture reading is our REAP method, and the tool for accountability is the Life Transformation Group. Rather than have a menu of bible studies that missional communities use, we try to reinforce this way of engaging the Scriptures together, and expecting people to contribute to the life of a community from their own time in God’s word.
In order to reinforce gospel-centrality in our study of God’s Word, we study the Word through the lens of the Gospel:
- What do I learn about God?
- What do I learn about humanity or myself?
- How would this passage point to Jesus?
- How do I respond in repentance and faith?
Lastly, I think it is critical in becoming a Word-centered people to reinforce that the Scriptures are not just to be studied, but they are to be obeyed. Proper bible study culminates in repentance and faith that brings about action! We therefore want to hold ourselves accountable as disciples to put into practice what we have learned in the Scriptures.
I’ll focus on our next value, Prayer, in the next post. What have you found helpful in cultivating a value for God’s Word in your communities?