October has come and gone and I do not know where time has gone. For this past month we were asked to read “Gospel Fluency” by Jeff Vanderstelt. A wonderful read on what it practically looks like to articulate the Gospel to different people groups based upon their context, both believers and non-believers alike.
The Gospel for me
Tim Keller is known for saying “The Gospel is not the ABC’s of Christianity, but rather the A to Z of Christianity.” As a Christian I am in desperate need on a daily basis of speaking the Gospel into my own heart. Being fluent in the Gospel means you have the skill to KNOW, APPLY, and SPEAK the Gospel to yourself. Jeff Vanderstelt does an incredible job of calling leaders to begin to apply the rich truth of Jesus to their own life, long before they ever start challenging others.
Vanderstelt challenges christians to begin the process of taking every thought captive and to lead out of humility by actually treasuring the Gospel in all areas of their own life. This was a helpful reminder for me as an individual who desires to lead people. If I am not fighting against every sin and speaking the truth of Jesus to myself over and over, and actually growing in grace how could I ever expect to lead others? The reality is…you can not! Until you become fluent at speaking the Gospel to yourself, you will never be fluent at speaking it to others.
This is not just for the “big” sins, but the deepest sins of the heart that others can not see from the outside looking in. This is taking your heart before the Lord, expressing the wickedness of your heart, and begging Him to make you more like His Son, Jesus.
The Gospel for your community
Vanderstelt then makes a move toward learning to be a community that is fluent in speaking the Gospel to each other. This is played out in three key aspects: rehearsing the Gospel, applying the Gospel to personal stories, and addressing how the Gospel speaks to sin.
The purpose of rehearsing the Gospel over and over again is so those within a community become so well versed in the truth of Jesus that it permeates every bit of their hearts and lives. By constantly dwelling on who Jesus is and what He has done humbles us, but also creates within us a deep hunger for Jesus and what He has done. Applying the Gospel to our personal stories is the skill of communicating how the Gospel is currently working in our own lives and how our lives are merely a small part of the Grander Narrative that is The Story of Redemption. And lastly, addressing how the Gospel speaks to sin is teaching a community to realize that any and every sin is a lack of belief in the Gospel. Posing the question “What part of the Gospel are you not believing?” Will assist a community in thinking through how the truth of Jesus speaks hope into their life right here, right now.
The Gospel for non-believers
Jeff then takes a turn to point out the missionary mindset of Jesus and our identity as missionaries as well. Jeff calls out believers to know the Gospel personally, as a community, and then take the Gospel to the lost in this world. This starts with recognizing the context and pocket of people you have influence with and intentionally reaching out to them through demonstration and through accurately speaking the Gospel to them in a way they understand. This is done through contextualization. Which simply means communicating the Gospel in their own language and demonstrating the Gospel tangibly in a way their community hears and sees the truth of Jesus accurately.
Really loved this article and would love to pass it along to those interested in reading it.