What is A Gospel-Centered Ministry

 In Jason Bunger

In Matthew 16 is when Jesus asked his disciples who He was.  After some other answers, Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.“

Jesus promised to build His church and this gives us great confidence.  However, he does not tell us how He will build it.  He simply says that it will be established and it will be built upon the fact that Jesus, the son of the living God, is the Christ.  The church is built upon the truth of message, not a particular program.  Therefore, it is the obligation of every church, in every generation to make sure that we have not drifted from this gospel.  In order to do that, we must always be doing two things.  First is continuing to examine the gospel.  Secondly, it is aligning our ministry to this gospel.   

Examining the Gospel:  Maintaining A Gospel-Centered Prospective

First of all, we need to have a clear definition of the gospel.  Keller describes the gospel as, “The person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowships with him, and the restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together and with him forever.” 

According to C.J. Mahoney, we should memorize the gospel, sing the gospel, pray the gospel and reflect on how the gospel has impacted our life and ministry.

We continue to reflect on the fact that that Christ has died and risen again to eternally rescue us from our sin. Furthermore, this salvation causes us to want to share this great news with others.  It should produce in us a humility that stems from our undeserved salvation and joy that this salvation is available to others.

Proclaiming the Gospel:  Aligning our Ministry with the Gospel

We define our worship gathering as reverent yet relevant. By reverent, we are unapologetically proclaimed that the object of worship is God.  Worship is not ourselves, our traditions or even our community. Therefore, when we sing, we sing to God and about God.  When we pray fervently, we pray to God by approaching Him with humility, faith and the “boldness” of a child.  Our preaching is expository (explaining passages of scripture) and Christ-centered (recognizing that each Biblical theme ultimately expresses our need for Christ, the promise of Christ, the person of Christ, or the work of Christ). Because we are to proclaim the gospel to others, we strive to be relevant as well. This means that we communicate in ways that people, who are not reconciled to Christ or unfamiliar with our community, can understand.   

Secondly, we live out our gospel-centered lives as in the midst of community. This is reflected in the way we treat one another. In their book entitled Gospel-Centered Church Timmis and Chester argue that we should view the local church as an extended family that lives out the gospel together, rather than simply a collection of individuals who gather at the same place for a worship service on Sunday. Furthermore, the gospel brings together vastly different people whom society says usually do not get along with one another. (For more on this, see my blog entailed “The Characteristics of A Multi-Ethnic Community.”)

Finally, the gospel impacts how we as Christians proclaim this ministry to others.  A  Gospel-Centered ministry is focused more on people than on programs. People invest their lives into others, both believers and unbelievers. Richard Coekin notes that according to Titus 2, the primary evangelistic strategy of God, in every setting, is the godliness of His people.   We should never rely on evangelistic programs to substitute for the daily ministry of God’s people.  Specifically a gospel-centered life should encourage us to lead and work with excellence and integrity in all disciples of life. The gospel affects how we do plumbing, run businesses, sweep floors, operate on patients, sell insurance, program computers, teach students and compose music. The gospel affects every trade and profession.     

Thus, the gospel has implications in every area of our lives and ministry.  We must always ensure that we don’t replace the gospel with business, hypocrisy, apathy, tradition or even the best of ministry intentions.


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