Have you ever thought, "My identity rests in the success of my church."? Or have you ever asked any of these hard life questions:
· Do people like me for who I am or for what I have?
· Will I find love in this life?
· How can I protect myself from pain or rejection?
· Why do I fail at everything I try to do?
· Am I beautiful?
· Do I have what it takes?
· How can I make my future secure?
· How can I be useful in life? Is this job all I have?
· How can I make my life make a real difference in the world?
· Is there a God and is He safe?
· Does God approve of me? Does he like me?
· How can I find peace?
I am certain you have asked or still ask one or more of those. These questions are examples of how we view our lives relationally, personally, missionally, and spiritually. Which bring us to the concept of Gospelling.
“Most people think of the Gospel as a noun. It is a thing. You hear about it. You receive it. You believe it. You share it. The Gospel is something you can hold on to, put in your pocket for another day, or give away... But in 1 Corinthians 15:1 Paul makes a very interesting statement. In our English translations it doesn’t seem so interesting. The NIV translation simply says, ‘I want to remind you of the Gospel I preached to you…’ Nothing interesting there, but the Greek is quite different. The literal Greek translation of this phrase is, ‘I want to remind you of the Gospel I Gospelled.’… ‘Gospel’, in this case, is both a noun and a verb. Not only is it a thing, but it is also something you do. Something you live. Something you embody. You Gospel” (Nate Pyle, Blog, 1/6/13).
Gospelling is the present participle of the word Gospel. It means that the Gospel is active now, presently in life, not simply something that occurred in the past. It is the process of how the Gospel ignites the relational, personal, missional, and spiritual life of the disciple actively and presently. We have been called to enjoy life with God and others. That is the ultimate end of life together.
When we learn about Gospelling Life Together, we learn to have friendship of trialoging about our profound life questions. We can take a journey of laughing and lamenting with other disciples. We learn to live with and for one another; to listen and learn one another’s life story, enjoying their company and friendship and progressing forward in the mission God has for each.
We learn that disciple-making relationships aren't about our own personal success, but how we should encourage one another back to the Gospel Story of Rescue and Renewal.
Briefly re-visit your disciple-journey. Where did it begin and when did you first sense you were on a new journey? Who discipled you and what did discipleship look like in your life? How has it helped you? What would you go back and do differently? Who will you invite to gospel life together?
Dr. Tom Wood
I've been in the Church Planting business my entire career. I want you to know, you don't have to plant a church alone!