A Gospel Community is a family of servant missionaries living life on life, life in community, and life on mission in order to make disciples who make disciples.
Together, we learn how to worship and submit to Jesus in all of life by loving one another as family, worshipping Jesus as servants who serve others, and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ as his sent missionaries.
Gospel communities gather at different times throughout the week to fulfill Jesus' mission of being disciples who make disciples. More than an event, we are a family learning to believe the gospel and obey Jesus in every area of our lives. And, as a community, we move toward others in gospel love, giving a clear and compelling witness to the real Jesus.
We are who we are because of who God is and what He has done. In His Great Commission, Jesus commanded His followers to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” In Triune baptism, believers gain three distinct identities.
BECAUSE OF THE FATHER,
WE ARE FAMILY
God has always desired a people - an earthly family - who would live in such a way that the world would know what he is like. Jesus said that those who live in his ways and obey his Father are truly his family. Through Jesus we believe we are adopted children of God and brothers and sisters with each other. Because we are baptized in the name of the Father, we share a family identity as children of God. “Family” is a common metaphor for the church throughout the New Testament. We want to function as a healthy family in the midst of a lost world.
BECAUSE OF THE SON,
WE ARE SERVANTS
Jesus is our Lord and we are His servants. We see the identity of Jesus as a servant in His incarnation, and as His followers we share that identity. Jesus said “I was among you as one who serves.” Jesus took the posture of a servant. He gave his life for our salvation, our peace, our restoration. We are called to serve like Jesus. This means a willingness to serve whoever Jesus brings us. We are motivated by the one who gave His life for us to serve as a tangible witness in a way that requires a gospel explanation.
BECAUSE OF THE SPIRIT,
WE ARE MISSIONARIES
We are sent out by Jesus in the power of the Spirit. Being baptized into the Spirit means that we have been delivered by God from our slavery to sin and are now empowered to serve Him by the Spirit’s power. The Spirit points us towards Jesus and enables us to die to our old way of self-involvement and join God in His mission of redemption. This means we live a life of mission together as part of God’s missionary family. God is a missionary God and our life is now shaped by the mission of God to make disciples of all nations.
Although every gospel community is unique, there are certain shared values that must be fully embraced
by everyone in the community.
The gospel is our oxygen: we die without it, we love to breathe it in, and we long for others to help us in our pursuit of it. The gospel holds out untold vistas of goodness, beauty, power, and truth for every reality in our lives. And so, gospel communities are not self-help gatherings, or shallow times of general encouragement, or academic chats on the latest theological fads. They are holy communities where we love, listen to, and lead each other to Jesus and His gospel grace.
HONESTY & SAFETY
The Spirit promised us that “if we walk in the light as He is in light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Gospel community is an exercise of walking in the light with each other. This means unquestioned confidentiality as we share our sins, fears, hopes, and dreams together. It means a willingness to be vulnerable so that we might be healed. It means room to ask questions, make mistakes, connect dots, and be respected in the process. It means zero tolerance for finger-pointing, embarrassment, or manipulation. It means sticking with each other and giving space for real gospel change to happen in our lives.
WORD & PRAYER
In His grace, the Lord has spoken in Scripture all that we need for life and godliness. We humbly and consistently come to the words of God for the first and final voice on all matters of believing and living. We do this with a spirit of dependent prayer, asking the Spirit to illuminate truth and move us toward glad obedience to it.
FREQUENCY & PROXIMITY
In order for any gospel community to actually become a gospel-formed family, there is a certain necessary threshold of proximity of life and frequency of time together. This does not mean that all gospel community members need to live two doors down from each other and be together six nights a week. Nor does it mean that “missing” a gospel community event comes with strict reprimands. It just means that in order to create space for the volume of interactions and depth of relationships that true discipleship requires, we need to see each other often enough and be able to get together easily enough.
Our life together as Jesus’ blood-bought people is a powerful apologetic for the gospel. “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Sometimes we prefer to only “do mission” individually, with our “small group” providing relational support. But Scripture is clear that mission happens best when done together. The strongest way for people to understand the gospel is to both hear it articulated AND see its implications enfleshed in a living, breathing community of changed people. By embracing missional living together, we get to promote the beauty of the gospel in diverse and living color.