For years, church conference leaders would scream, “Vision Leaks.” I still think that’s true. But after reading “Creature Of The Word,” I’m inclined to believe the gospel leaks. Charles Spurgeon once said, “The most important daily habit we can possess is to remind ourselves of the gospel.”
In leadership circles, vision is king. This is true even in church world… probably to the neglect of the gospel. Many would believe a vision of a particular church will inform how the gospel is used. Chandler, Patterson, and Geiger — authors of “Creature of the Word (The Jesus-Centered Church) would argue the gospel is what SHOULD inform and shape our vision. Martin Luther wrote often about how the Church did not form the gospel, but was formed BY the gospel. And… the gospel leaks.
Why is that? Why would the incredible good news of the gospel leak? Apathy? Indifference? Could Christians actually be apathetic and indifferent towards sin, the brokenness of our world, and the great news of Jesus’ rescue?
I have watched people deal with trash during my early morning beach routine. People are noticeably bothered by the carelessness of others. I am too. One guy told me it was, “…all the Cubans who just don’t give a damn.” Many people step over the trash. A few look the other way. It was probably THEIR red Solo cup from last night’s party! I saw a person pick up a discarded water bottle. A few others would throw schhtuff beyond the water line and into the sand. I assume they were hoping someone else will actually pick up the nasty diaper and throw it away. Not me! Then there was this one guy. He was walking very laboriously all over the beach. Up and down and back and forth — carrying a pregnant trash bag. He was bothered, motivated, and doing something about the problem. The levels of involvement were quite intriguing. Most were apathetic and indifferent. I suppose a environmental documentary would be a good reminder for most. Or… maybe the gospel. (I can fit the problem of trash into the gospel: creation & fall)
A couple years back, we started talking a lot about the four components of the gospel: creation, fall, redemption, restoration. This is the story of God. This is what Jesus’ vision and mission was all about. The gospel, in fact, IS Jesus. I have felt like perhaps people tire of hearing the story — God’s story — over and over again. Now I’m inclined to believe we need to hear it over and over again… and drive it down from our corporate gatherings into our community groups, families, work places, and neighborhoods.
God has guided CCC to the gospel… an EPIC gospel bigger than just getting to heaven someday, somehow, someway up there. As Brad House writes, “We did not run in one direction and then stop and run in another. Rather, God added layers upon previous layers, which allowed us to have a foundation of Biblical knowledge and dependence. A true understanding of the revelation of Scripture should lead to love for God and for one another. And this love is intended to manifest in the mission of God.” The task now is to make sure our programming, ministries, facilities, community groups, and teaching (at all levels) is all about the gospel. We must double back, always, to the gospel. Jesus. His story not ours. If we don’t, the trash of sin or prideful church growth efforts will overtake us. Gospel leaks. Apathy and indifference push us to fill every bucket and effort with the power of the gospel.
“Creature Of The Word” is an excellent read. There will be much to evaluate and work on as a result. I will begin Jonathan Merritt’s “Jesus Is Better Than You Imagined” tomorrow morning.