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What does it mean for our church body to be Gospel centered? 

The good news about Jesus is the driving force and compelling motivation at the center of everything we do individually and as a church body. This certainly includes sharing the good news that leads to salvation, but it is not limited to that. A Gospel Centered approach to ministry distinguishes our church from other humanitarian organizations because our message and our example is focused on the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ. He is the center of all we do and through His Holy Spirit, He inspires us to spread the gospel to every square inch of Salem and to the ends of the earth.

We have many examples of what it looks like to be Gospel Centered.

 

The Disciples were Gospel centered. They were with Jesus face to face, learning from Him, working with Him, and listening to Him. Paul was Gospel centered. He was intensely focused on spreading the Gospel, establishing churches, and developing leaders to continue sharing a gospel centered message in his absence, to both Jews and Gentiles alike. 

 

1 Peter 3:15-16

"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.”

Gospel Centered

How can our church be Culture Shaping?

Culture can be defined by the collective attitudes and behaviors of the people in our community. It is our desire to be influencers of our culture so that our community might exhibit the attitudes and behaviors that reflect the heart of God. 

Jesus is the ultimate culture shaper. He lived counter-culturally, not to condemn the culture, but to reshape it. He crossed racial, gender, political, and religious lines in order to communicate the steadfast, impartial love of God. Jesus came to seek and save the lost, and as He interacted with the outcasts and outsiders, He helped His followers see that the Gospel is available to all people in all places at all times. This was a revolutionary concept for the Jewish person, so Jesus was intentional in His ministry to travel to Samaria, touch lepers, and allow children to come to Him. In the same way, we will intentionally seek opportunities to shape our culture by pressing into challenging areas that will allow us to declare a Biblical Worldview that aligns with God’s heart.


I John 4:18
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Culture Shaping

What does it mean for our church body to be Disciple Making?

Our best example of being a Disciple Maker would be Jesus. Jesus poured hours of time and energy into loving and helping each of the disciples grow in their faith. He taught them, challenged them, prayed for them, and prepared them for the future. Jesus was neither afraid of their questions nor their doubts. He taught them at the pace they needed to be taught and loved them unconditionally in order for them to eventually bear fruit in His name. Our goal I s to help people find their place in the Body of Christ so that they might flourish and move from spiritual infancy to spiritual maturity. 

Disciple Making is not a quick process. It takes time to develop attributes like compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, patience, and forgiveness. The process is best facilitated when we move at another’s pace while listening to the Holy Spirit for direction and discernment as we develop disciples of Jesus.

Disciple Making is a priority of ours because it was a priority for Jesus. Disciple Making will be the outcome of us keeping the Gospel centered in our lives and loving our neighbors well. 


Matthew 28:19-20
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Disciple Making

What does it mean for our church body to be neighbor loving?

Loving our neighbor is not easy, but it is something we are called to do. To be Neighbor Loving means having the courage to tangibly love people in our city where they are at and seeing them the way Jesus sees them. It means stepping outside of our comfort zone and building relationships with those that are nothing like us. It is looking at people and their challenges in life and realizing that you’re looking in a mirror, because without Jesus in our lives, we are just like our neighbor. Sometimes it means opening your home and developing long term relationships that may lead to conversations about Jesus. It means praying for our neighbors, serving our neighbors, spending time with our neighbors.

Neighbor Loving also means loving and caring about the needs of each other well. We cannot shine as a “City on a Hill” unless we also love and serve each other, encouraging each other as we go out into our neighborhoods, building relationships and spreading the good news of the Gospel. We have been given a command to “Love your Neighbor as yourself” from Jesus, maybe we need to think of it this way, “Love your Neighbor as much as you love your church community”. When we do that, we are becoming a more Neighbor Loving community.


Matthew 5:14-16
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

 

Neighbor Loving