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:
Declaring the Gospel
The idea of “preach the gospel, and use words if necessary” is certainly a sentiment I understand, but it misses the point of Scripture. Just read the book of Acts. A missional community understands and values the creative declaration of the gospel of Jesus, because that is both the foundation for our life together, and the fuel that sustains us in this life together!
We absolutely need to serve our neighbors, but the most loving thing we can possibly do is share the good news of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, that there is a hope for salvation for those who would believe, and that there is a great joy and freedom to be found in life with God!
Before we start talking about sharing the good news of the gospel with our neighbors though, I think it’s important to point out that the gospel must become good news to our community first. In my experience, most communities move very quickly away from talking about the person and work of Jesus. We talk about ourselves and our sin, or we talk about how great our community is, or we talk about what we need to do on mission, but it’s often awkward to just talk about how great Jesus really is.
The best practice for evangelism is regularly talking about the gospel story and its application to our lives together. This is why we work hard to embed gospel fluency in our Life Transformation Groups…we want to continue to enjoy the good news with one another!
We don’t just talk about Jesus with one another though. Part of being a community on mission is actually consistently, faithfully declaring the story of the gospel into the story of peoples individual lives together. In my missional community, my Christian friends know my neighbors well, and over time we are sharing different aspects of how the gospel and the word of God change us. My neighbors hear the gospel in different ways, applied in different stories, and they hear it over time from different people. That’s what declaring the gospel as a community is all about.
A missional community values declaring the gospel because it’s the best news in all of human history, and puts that value into practice by sharing it with anyone who will listen!