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View Chapter 1 - The Gospel LONG VERSION

Church Planting Resource Manual

This article contains the long version of Chapter 1.
For the short version, visit Chapter 1 - The Gospel SHORT VERSION

Download MSWord Document: LONG VERSION (2009)
File:Chapter 1 - Jesus the Master Planter 5-09.doc

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CHAPTER 1 – THE GOSPEL: Jesus the Master Planter

This article contains text only. For the full version with graphics and charts, please download the MS Word version above.

Theme: The Message and Mission of Jesus should shape the Message and Mission of every church we plant.

Objective: To be captured by the Message and Mission of Jesus, so the life of each new church flows from that wellspring.

Chapter Goals:
1. You will understand the 5 Messages and Missions of Jesus.
2. You will begin to talk about how your church plant will live out each of the 5 Messages and Missions of the Church.

Jesus said… “A farmer went out to sow his seed”
Matthew 13:3


The Message and Mission of Jesus
(Exerpts from the last chapters of the book, The American Church in Crisis, by David T. Olson, director of Church Planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church.)  David presents the daunting challenge that the American church faces. Almost all of the data indicates that the church is fated to decline in influence every year in the near future. At this point we must ask ourselves, “What is the American church to do?”
Over the last two decades, much of the American church responded to this question with two reactions.

1. The first response was to address the church’s irrelevance. The style of the message and music felt outdated. The truth of Scripture needed greater practical applicability to the listeners’ lives. The solution was to reshape both the message and music in a way that reflected current cultural practices.

2. The second response was to refocus the church’s vision. The great need was better strategy. Churches were encouraged to create a better plan and purpose for their church. Many churches’ ministry plans bore a resemblance to business models. The Christian book market is saturated with how-to books specializing in relevance and strategy.

3. While I embrace the value of both relevance and strategy, the church faces a more profound problem. The church’s critical challenge is to restore Jesus’ words and actions to their place of centrality.
The early Christians were constantly retelling firsthand experiences with Jesus, reflecting on what his words and actions meant. Consider how the early church relied on firsthand testimony about Jesus:
“That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us” (1 John 1:1–2).

Why do so many seekers report that they are attracted to Jesus but not to the church? Perhaps the problem is that the church has done a splendid job of concealing the powerful life-giving Jesus. We domesticate him; we make him our servant; we assume that people have more knowledge about him than they do. We are producing Christians who lack the vitality and depth that should mark Christ-followers. To quote John Perkins again, “We have over-evangelized the world too lightly.” We have allowed a narrow and limited understanding of Jesus to marginalize and reduce the revolutionary nature of his message and mission.

The renewal and restoration of the American church must begin with an awe-inspiring encounter with Jesus, the crucified, resurrected, and ascended Messiah and Lord. That central focus on Jesus is critical to the health and growth of missional churches. For that to happen, we need clarity regarding the message and mission of Jesus, and then we need to let his words and actions shape the message and mission of the church.

In the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, these appear as the five immediate reactions of the original followers of Jesus:
•  How great was his love for people, particularly the poor and outcast.
•  How astonishing were his healings, exorcisms, and acts of power.
•  How surprising was Jesus’ selection of disciples.
•  How devastating was the pathos and horror of the crucifixion.
•  How astounding was the shock of the resurrection.

Reflections:

 

The Message of Jesus
What Is the Gospel?

When I travel and speak in different parts of the country, I ask my audience this simple question: “What is the gospel? How would you explain the message of the Christian faith?” As the listeners try to collect their thoughts in a cogent manner, someone usually says, “The gospel is that Jesus died for my sins so I can go to heaven.” This statement is definitely true and of critical importance, but nonetheless reveals a narrow and limited understanding of the gospel. The scope of the gospel is much larger than that abbreviated summary.
So what is the gospel? My journey in answering this question came from a study of the four Gospels where I asked a simply series of questions:
•  What were the most important messages of Jesus in the Gospels?
•  What was the background of these messages, and how were they rooted in the Old Testament?
•  What were the principal actions that Jesus performed?
•  How did Jesus’ everyday actions correlate with his greatest actions?

  I found the answers to these questions in five central messages of Jesus, which correlate with five missions of Jesus. These created a framework that allows the gospel story to be more fully integrated into your life and the life of your church. While these thoughts are the fruit of my own study, they are in another sense not original with me—they are the historic message and mission of the church throughout the centuries. I simply hope this arrangement will allow Christians to see anew the whole gospel and help the American church return to its core focus and understanding of Jesus.


Message 1: To Forgive Our Sins and Reconcile Us with God

The first message of Jesus is that he came to save people from their sins. Three Old Testament stories of sin and sacrifice are crucial for understanding Jesus’ message of forgiveness and reconciliation to God. The first is the story of Abraham, who brought his son Isaac to Mount Moriah as a sacrifice to God. At the last possible moment, God provided a substitute sacrifice for Isaac, in the form of a ram caught in a thicket.

Second is the Passover, which marked the beginning of the exodus from Egypt. The Israelites covered their doorposts and lintel with the blood of a lamb, which caused the angel of death to pass over the Israelites’ homes. Every year modern Judaism commemorates this sacrifice that provided deliverance.

Third is the Day of Atonement, when the high priest sent a goat into the wilderness with the past year’s sins of the people figuratively placed upon its head. These three images were burned in the Israelites’ minds and hearts, and they reminded them that God required a sacrifice for sin, which the ritual sacrificial system of Israel reinforced daily.

Two prominent forgiveness stories in the ministry of Jesus are woven early into two of the Gospels. Each story reflects a powerful and complex human drama. In Mark 2 a paralyzed man’s friends bring him to see Jesus. Because the house is overflowing with people, the friends dig through the roof and lower the paralyzed man to be in the presence of Jesus. The man obviously needs healing, but Jesus chooses first to forgive his sins and then proceeds to heal him.

The account in Luke 7 of the sinful woman who anoints Jesus’ feet is a potent narrative in which Jesus interconnects love and forgiveness. The woman experiences deep forgiveness while Jesus reprimands his host, a Pharisee named Simon who looks down on the woman. Jesus uses a parable to illustrate the interrelationship between love and forgiveness, how one cannot survive without the other.

Zechariah’s song at the beginning of Luke’s gospel sums up the magnitude of forgiveness brought about by Jesus’ ministry. Zechariah’s son was John the Baptist, who prepared the way for Jesus, who came
“To give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven
to shine on those living in darkness   and in the shadow of death,
  to guide our feet into the path of peace.” (Luke 1:77–79)

In the book Faces of Forgiveness, LeRon Schulz and Steve Sandage point out the necessity of placing forgiveness within the context of both a renewed relationship with God and with other people. Without the restoration of relationships, forgiveness is only a forensic reality—the guilt is gone, but there is no reconciliation in its place.

The church often perceives forgiveness as the only important message of Jesus. Perhaps the reason we most closely connect with forgiveness is that we are so aware of our own human failings and our need for daily pardon. However, the scope of Jesus’ message was much greater than forgiveness alone.


Message 2: To Destroy the Power of Satan and Deliver People from Bondage

In Luke’s gospel the defining story introducing the ministry of Jesus occurs in chapter 4, where he speaks at the synagogue in Nazareth. He opens the scroll and reads from Isaiah 61, describing the scope and purpose of his ministry with these words:
“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
  because he has anointed me
  to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
  and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
  to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (vv. 18–19)

The book of Isaiah played a principal role in the Jewish expectation of the coming Messiah and in Jesus’ own self-definition. Because Israel’s story was wrapped up in the history of its captivity in Egypt and Babylon, it was natural that freedom and release would be a theme of the promised Deliverer. The two most controversial actions of Jesus—both then and now—were healings and exorcisms. Both of those acts liberated oppressed people.

The second message of Jesus is to set people free from the power of Satan and deliver them from bondage. In both healing and exorcism, the goal was to restore people back to God’s original creation of them, because Jesus’ words of healing always restored people to health. Lepers become clean. The blind receive sight. Dead people are brought back to life. Exorcism functioned similarly, reversing the evil inflicted upon the tormented.

Philip Jenkins, professor of history at Pennsylvania State University, describes the power of God at work through the second message of Jesus.

Precious little is left of the New Testament after we purge all mention of angels, demons and spirits. Shorn of healing and miraculous cures, the four gospels would be a slim pamphlet indeed. For the earliest followers of Jesus—and presumably for Jesus himself—healing and exorcism were essential components of proclamation. In his acts of healing, Jesus was not just curing individuals, but trampling diabolical forces underfoot, and the signs and wonders represented visible and material tokens of Christ’s victory over the real forces of evil.

In his commentary on Luke, N. T. Wright adds: “Jesus’ task is therefore not simply to teach people a new way of life; not simply to offer a new depth of spirituality; not simply to enable them to go to heaven after death. Jesus’ task is to defeat Satan, to break his power, to win the decisive victory, which will open the way to God’s new creation in which evil, and even death itself will be banished.” Jesus understood that there was a problem even deeper than sin, namely, a cosmic rebellion against the almighty God. There are forces of evil who oppose God at every opportunity by corrupting his good creation. Jesus’ second message offered freedom and liberation from that oppressive bondage.


Message 3: To Change Hearts of Stone to Hearts of Flesh

Jesus often wrapped his message in the form of parables. Perhaps the most important for the gospel writers was the parable of the sower. Mark places this parable first in his gospel, and Matthew positions it first in his collection of parables in Matthew 13, this crucial placement revealing its importance in the teaching of Jesus. Matthew 13:1–9 tells the parable, while verses 18–23 reveal the explanation. Sandwiched in the middle is this enigmatic quote from Isaiah 6:9–10:
“Though seeing, they do not see;
  though hearing, they do not hear or understand.…
For this people’s heart has become calloused;
  they hardly hear with their ears,
  and they have closed their eyes.
Otherwise they might see with their eyes,
  hear with their ears,
  understand with their hearts
and turn, and I would heal them.” (vv. 13–15)

Jesus seems to think that the primary problem with the listeners is that they have defective sensory apparatus. They see, but they cannot attach the right meaning to what they see; they hear, and they cannot interpret its significance. Can you imagine Jesus pleading in frustration, “For this people’s heart has become calloused,” followed by the impassioned appeal, “Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them!”

The prophetic literature of the Old Testament, which looked forward to the end of exile and the coming of the Messiah, was the background for his challenge. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh” (Ezek. 36:26). “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people” (Jer. 31:33).

Jesus’ third message is that he came to change hearts of stone to hearts of flesh. This became a recurring theme in his teaching. The heart was “the inner life, the center of the personality and the place where God reveals himself.” Jesus used this term almost 50 times in the Gospels. People were in need of a heart transplant, as their hearts were spiritually dead. This call for spiritual transformation came as both a warning and an invitation.

What type of heart did Jesus desire to be formed in his followers? Throughout the Gospels, Jesus seems to encourage them to develop three qualities. The first is a heart of mercy: “But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice’ ” (Matt. 9:13). The second is a heart of love: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another” (John 13:34). The third is a heart of faith: “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel” (Luke 7:9).


Message 4: To Treat People with Compassion and Justice as God’s Loved Creation

Jesus interacted with people in a respectful and attentive manner. People were not a means to an end, but themselves had intrinsic value. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matt. 5:45). The theological basis for this saying rested upon twin teachings from the Torah. Yahweh is revealed as a God who is righteous, is full of compassion, and requires justice. He also is the Creator who made all humans in his image. For Jesus, this understanding was shown in how he loved people, particularly the poor, the outcast, and the unimportant. The time and tenderness with which Jesus cared for the poor, the sick, and the marginalized is striking, showing his heart of mercy.

Jesus treated those he encountered as people created in the image of God, even though sin had cracked and broken that image. Human beings were created to live in fellowship with God and to be his special creation. Because of this, Jesus advocated righteousness, justice, compassion and mercy for all, extending from our personal relationships to the social contracts that govern how nations treat their people and other nations.

Jesus expressed this clearly in his confrontations with the religious and political powers of his day. Matthew 23 is a compilation of seven statements spoken to the religious leaders, which begin “Woe to you.” Here is the fourth woe: “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former. You blind guides! You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel” (vv. 23–24). The religious leaders were legalistically correct in the small matters but missed the critical relational categories of justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Jesus also challenged political leaders, albeit in a more restrained manner. His mission was to complete his Father’s business, which meant avoiding a premature death such as that of John the Baptist. His political confrontation culminated during Holy Week when Pilate and Herod interrogated Jesus. In both the religious and political confrontations, his righteous indignation came because of the disregard with which they treated others, especially marginalized people. He referred to these outcasts as “the lost sheep of Israel” (Matt. 10:6).


Message 5: To Invite and Summon Followers to Become the New People of God

Jesus welcomes, invites, calls, and summons followers to be the new people of God, to live in intimate connection with Jesus and with each other. Some seem to think that the creation of a loyal community was the last thing on Jesus’ mind, but the opposite is true. The calling of the twelve disciples reminded the original listeners of the twelve tribes of Israel and the calling of their nation. Jesus was not a solitary, itinerant teacher; instead, he created a community to embody the kingdom of God on earth. He did this by giving people a threefold call: “Repent and believe the good news!… Come, follow me” (Mark 1:15, 17). That call involves being taught by Jesus, learning to live in community, and being sent out to do kingdom work in the name of Jesus.

The motley crew that responded to the call was to be the picture of the new people of God. Social status was irrelevant to Jesus, previous reputation did not concern him, and he certainly was not leading a “men only” club (Luke 8:1–3). Jesus created a community that would carry on his message and mission to generation after generation, as was the pattern of Israel’s call.

Two qualities were most important to healthy community life. The first was love: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35). Love was expressed in the type of people who were called, in the ministry actions of Jesus, and in the tender moments of intimacy, such as during Passover week before his death. “It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end” (John 13:1).

The second quality of Jesus’ new community was bold truth. Jesus was very forthright in his speech with the disciples. He used truth to affirm them yet was painfully blunt when rebuke was needed. To Peter he said, “Get behind me, Satan! You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns” (Mark 8:33), and “I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:34). This combination of love and bold truth creates the relational dynamics among his followers that produce authentic community and intimate relationships.

Reflections:

 

 

 

 

The Mission of Jesus

While words told the message of Jesus, his actions communicated his mission. The Gospels frequently refer to Jesus as a prophet. N. T. Wright states, “The best initial model for understanding this praxis [translating an idea into action] is that of a prophet.” In the Old Testament tradition of prophets, their use of symbolic actions was perhaps even more important than their use of words. As a prophet, Jesus lived out each of the five messages through his day-to-day actions, and ultimately through his five decisive eternal actions.


Mission 1: To Be the Sacrifice for the Sins of the Whole World on the CROSS (see graphic on p. 25 for all 5 missions)

This first mission of Jesus was expressed in his extension of forgiveness to individuals. This forgiveness even included the soldiers who crucified him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34). Moments later Jesus expressed the ultimate action of forgiveness and reconciliation with God by dying on the cross. C. S. Lewis described the ultimate destination this way: “God has paid us the intolerable compliment of loving us, in the deepest, most tragic, most inexorable sense.”

The cross is a powerful symbolic reality yet seldom is understood at its deepest level by many American Christians. Paul described the crucifixion this way: “But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.… For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor. 1:27–29; 2:2). In his earthly ministry, Jesus used his power to heal, forgive, and restore people. His ministry was extraordinarily effective, because Jesus possessed all authority and power. The surprise for Paul, though, was that the greatest work of Jesus occurred not in his strength, but in his moment of weakness. Jesus in his death fulfilled the Old Testament vision of the innocent and powerless sacrifice for sin.

This became a theme of Paul’s ministry: that God often accomplishes his greatest acts of power through weakness. This was why the crucifixion became the centerpiece of his preaching. Somehow the American church has not grasped this truth and often comes off to the world as triumphalist. We prefer a theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross. The church likes to glory in its power, but seldom does it glory in its weakness.


Mission 2: To Fight the Decisive Battle with Satan, Triumphing through the GRAVE

While the healings and the exorcisms illustrated the second message of Jesus, the grave was where Jesus’ great actions won the victory over death and Satan. What exactly happened during the 39 hours between the death of Jesus at 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday and his resurrection at 6:00 a.m. on Easter morning? Scripture refers clearly to the grave as the time when Jesus dealt a deathblow to Satan, but a precise understanding of the details in those hours is difficult to discern. Yet the Christian creeds and confessions have always affirmed that this was a spiritually critical period of time, when Jesus descended into Hades.

Catholic medieval theologians portrayed Jesus as a human spirit, descending into hell to triumph over Satan and his demons and to announce to them the deliverance of the believers who lived under the old covenant. The Lutheran Formula of Concord states, “It is enough to know that Christ went to hell, destroyed hell for all believers, and has redeemed them from the power of death, of the devil and of eternal damnation of the hellish jaws.” John Calvin wrote, “Therefore, by his wrestling hand to hand with the devil’s power, with the dread of death, with the pains of hell, he was victorious and triumphed over them, that in death we may not now fear those things which our Prince has swallowed up.”

American Christianity’s individualistic focus keeps Christians from seeing the larger cosmic significance of the work of Christ. Instead, American Christians often focus only on how that work personally benefits themselves. Yet the apostles’ preaching and the whole New Testament reveal that from Jesus’ birth until his resurrection, he was locked in a decisive confrontation with Satan. This conflict bookends the Synoptic Gospel narratives, with the temptation of Jesus at the beginning and the travail in the garden of Gethsemane and the betrayal by Judas at the end. Jesus triumphed through the cross and the grave, forever dooming Satan, destroying the power of death, and opening the gates of heaven.


Mission 3: To Be Authenticated as the Son of God through the RESURRECTION
Jesus challenged hard hearts by reminding listeners that the heart, not mere outward observances, is the gauge of a person’s relationship with God. But the ultimate transformation from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh happened at the resurrection of Jesus. God restored Jesus’ physical heart, which was dead, to life. The third mission of Jesus was to be physically authenticated as the Son of God through the power of his resurrection. “Who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by his resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 1:4).

According to N. T. Wright, the most powerful argument that the resurrection actually occurred was the transformation of the disciples’ feelings of grief and hopelessness into their overwhelming need to proclaim the risen Christ. That the resurrection changed the disciples, turning them into bold witnesses of the mighty acts of God, is illustrated in Acts 4. “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus” (v. 13).

C. S. Lewis described the resurrection this way in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: “When a willing victim who had committed no treachery was killed in a traitor’s stead, the table would crack and Death itself would start working backwards.” “Death working backwards” means that God was undoing the deadening power of the fall through the life-giving effect of the resurrection, creating new life in those who follow Jesus.

For early Christians, the resurrection confirmed that the words and the mission of Jesus were true. The resurrection is the event that secures and anchors the work of Christ. His resurrection was confirmation that a new world was indeed dawning. Paul used the image of resurrection when describing the new life in Christ. “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life” (Rom. 6:4).


Mission 4: To Challenge Earthly Principalities and Powers through His ASCENSION

The fourth mission of Jesus is to challenge the earthly principalities and powers, both religious and political, by seeking to incarnate the values of the kingdom of God on earth. Jesus’ words and actions paint a powerful picture of the countercultural manner in which Christians are to treat others. Consider the actions these words of Jesus call into being: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back” (Luke 6:27–30). This response of love is radically different from our natural inclinations.

This fourth mission is critical to the nature of the church, because sin and selfishness cause humans to dominate others in destructive ways. C. S. Lewis described the results of that domination: “All that we call human history—money, poverty, ambition, war, prostitution, classes, empires, slavery—[is] the long terrible story of man trying to find something other than God which will make him happy.” The drive for happiness necessarily requires a drive for power over others, placing ourselves on the throne that God alone is to inhabit.

The ascension was Jesus’ ultimate action of challenge to the earthly powers and principalities. The early church emphasized the ascension much more than does contemporary Christianity. Beginning with Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2), the enthronement of the Messiah at the right hand of the Father was placed alongside his death, burial, and resurrection as being the critical episodes of the gospel story. The New Testament title of Jesus that is associated with the ascension is “Lord.”

That title had a double meaning for early Christians, particularly for those living under the domination of the Roman Empire. Lord is the English translation of the Greek word that was used for “Yahweh,” the unspeakable name of God in the Old Testament. In the Roman Empire, beginning with Augustus, the Caesars also used the title Lord to denote their absolute authority. So, when Paul and his companions traveled throughout the Roman Empire saying, “Jesus is Lord,” it was not only a phrase reflecting the divinity of Jesus; their message was equally a challenge to the political and religious power of Caesar. In effect, Christians said to Caesar, “Jesus is Lord, and you are not!” When Paul’s followers were arrested in Thessalonica, notice the charges against these Christians: “They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus” (Acts 17:7).

In the New Testament the ascension is related to the future return of Christ in both judgment and final redemption. His return is the Blessed Hope of all Christians, the moment of final and eternal peace, rest, and restoration. The judgment day is the moment of absolute despair for those who chose an existence apart from the presence of the Lord Jesus. They will experience the tragic consequences of a life eternally separated from the love, grace, and mercy of God.


Mission 5: To Establish His Church as the New People of God through the Day of PENTECOST

The final mission of Jesus was to call into being a new people of God. This was not to replace the people of God of the Old Testament, but rather to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant, which used faith to mark out the people of God under both the old and new covenants. While Jesus acted this out in his ministry by calling forth a group of disciples and followers, it reached its culmination on the day of Pentecost.

That day was marked by two definite developments for the people of God. First, it happened in a diverse crowd made up of people from throughout the known world. God’s church was meant to be a multiethnic people. Second, the day of Pentecost brought the powerful arrival of the promised indwelling Holy Spirit, the one who would, through the church, do the work of God in the world, taking the place of the ascended Jesus.


How Important Are All Five Messages and Missions?

There is an elegant symmetry here—the five messages of Jesus are correlated with the daily actions of Jesus living out each message, and finally by Jesus performing the five “ultimate actions” that eternally changed the world. The messages on the left side of the chart cannot happen without the actions on the right side. We cannot have forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God without the cross. We cannot be set free from bondage without the work Jesus accomplished in the grave. We cannot live a new life in Christ without experiencing the firstfruits of his resurrection. We cannot truly be advocates for compassion, mercy, and justice without acknowledging that Jesus is Lord. We cannot be the new people of God unless we experience the day of Pentecost.

In the apostolic preaching, all five ultimate actions are frequently mentioned together. For example, in Peter’s sermon in Acts 2, the cross, the grave, the resurrection, and the ascension receive meaning within the context of the day of Pentecost. These five ultimate actions of Jesus also parallel the liturgical cycle from Holy Week through Pentecost. The apostles could not stop looking back at Jesus and those great mountains of grace and truth; they could not take their eyes off the achievement of Jesus. In his book The Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster quotes Mother Teresa of Calcutta, “Pray for me, that I not loosen my grip on the hands of Jesus even under the guise of ministering to the poor.” He then comments, “That is our first task: To grip the hands of Jesus with such intensity that we are obliged to follow his lead, to seek first his Kingdom.”

One of the famous musicians of historic Celtic Christianity was Caedmon. The Venerable Bede (672–735), author of the most important history of the early church in England, commented about him:

There was in the Monastery of this Abbess a certain brother particularly remarkable for the Grace of God, who was wont to make religious verses, so that whatever was interpreted to him out of Scripture, he soon after put the same into poetical expressions of much sweetness and humility in English, which was his native language. By his verse the minds of many were often excited to despise the world, and to aspire to heaven.

Even though Caedmon was illiterate, he would have someone read to him from Scripture and then spend the night trying to form those thoughts into the words and music of a song that would tell the story of Jesus. Everyone was amazed at the great beauty and power of his songs. The following poem of Caedmon demonstrates the historic church’s clarity of focus on Jesus.

Caedmon’s Song (Part 1)
Teach us again the greatest story ever told.
In time, the Carpenter began to travel
In every village challenging the people
To leave behind their selfish ways,
Be washed in living water,
And let God be their King.

You plundered death,
And made its jailhouse shudder—
Strode into life
To meet your startled friends.

I have a dream,
That all the world will meet you,
And know you, Jesus, in your living power.
That someday soon all people will hear your story
And hear it in a way they understand.


TEAM APPLICATION:
Discuss:
How will our world meet Jesus?
How will they experience his living power?
Who will communicate this story?
How will they hear it in a way they understand?

 

The Message and Mission of the Church

The church is meant to herald the Good News in the midst of the beauty, pain, and suffering of our world. Jesus’ message of hope requires a tangible presence, a physical body, to retell and reenact the story. The story requires physical hands and feet and words to translate love from intangible idea to personal touch. The story requires a committed community seeking God’s reign on earth as in heaven.

While the projections for the future of the American church are discouraging, the church has a history of restoration when confronted with daunting challenges. There is hope—if the church begins to live out a deeper expression of the gospel, if the church begins to act out the early church’s mission to the Gentile world, and if God does his work of restoration through the Holy Spirit. This optimism is ultimately based on the defining verse of Romans: “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” (1:16).

This powerful gospel cannot and did not come disembodied. Just as the coming of Jesus incarnated the mission of God, so the church is the incarnate people of God continuing that mission. How can the church be rebuilt and restored so that it becomes what God intended his church to be? There is a simple yet profound answer: the message and mission of Jesus must become the message and mission of the church. The words of Jesus must become the words of the church. Jesus’ actions must be continually reenacted by the church.


The First Message and Mission of the Church

The church is to proclaim the message of forgiveness in Christ, which produces reconciliation with God. This is called EVANGELISM. It happens publicly and personally when people are loved by and confronted with Jesus—his message and mission.  (see graphic on p 25 for all 5 Messages and Missions of the Church)

When a person responds to the call of Christ, both Scripture and Christian experience indicate that new birth takes place. “If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor. 5:17). The word “conversion” denotes the reality of sins forgiven and reconciliation with God in the life of the new Christian. The death of Jesus on the cross ended our enmity with God, restoring the possibility of a relationship with him. “He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Col. 1:13–14). Because forgiveness of sins and reconciliation with God can only happen at the initiative of God himself, faith in Christ is the “door” to salvation. A primary task of the church is to proclaim the good news of forgiveness.

God has historically used both public proclamation and intimate conversation to communicate the message of Jesus to people. “How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!’ ” (Rom. 10:14–15). Each church must discover the best way to bring this good news to their community and culture. In the United States, unfortunately, most Christian churches are quite ineffectual at evangelism. Churches that proclaim well Christ’s message and mission are marked by loving relationships with those who are not yet Christians, a strong passion to see them experience a changed life, and a relentless commitment to experimentation in the search for fruitful pathways of evangelism. This process is always most effective when it occurs through personal relationships, so that conversion can naturally transition into discipleship.

Evangelism is more difficult today than it was 20 years ago. Lon Allison, the director of the Billy Graham Center for Evangelism says, “The distance between pre-Christians and faith in Christ is a much longer distance than it was in previous generations.” Yet many churches I work with have seen amazing life change in response to the proclamation of the gospel.


Example of the 1st Message & Mission of the Church:

Pastor Craig Groeschel of Life Covenant Church (lifechurch.tv) in Edmond, Oklahoma, was an associate pastor at First United Methodist Church in downtown Oklahoma City at the time of the Oklahoma City bombing. On the morning of April 19, 1995, Craig was away from his office when a truck bomb blew up at 9:02 a.m. across the street at the Murrah Federal Building, killing 156 people. The blast severely damaged the historic First United Methodist Church building, blew out the windows above Craig’s desk, and might have critically wounded or killed him if he had been there. Feeling that God had spared his life, Craig was encouraged to follow the example of his role model, Billy Graham. Through planting a new church, Craig has used his gift of evangelism to invite others to follow Jesus. Thousands have become Christians in the first 10 years of Life Church’s ministry.

Reflections:
What commitments will we have to make to ensure the priority of evangelism?

 


The Second Message and Mission of the Church

The church is to help people break the bonds that hold and oppress them, helping restore in them God’s original creation. This is called MINISTRY. This happens through prayer, healing, and practical help that leads to a restored image of God.

A current Christian myth is that when people become Christ-followers, all their problems are solved. The truth is that the corrosive effect of the sinful aspects of culture, unhealthy family systems, destructive experiences, and the propensity toward sin and selfishness continues after conversion. Ministry is needed to heal these wounds and help restore these people to God’s original creation. This is why Christians pray for each other; this is why we pray for healing, both physically and emotionally; this is why people need practical help—wisdom applied to their life challenges. The church exists to help people understand who God created them to be and to facilitate the restoration of the image of God in them.

Everyone needs to receive this type of ministry, because every person needs freedom and release. People are to be set free from what has held them in bondage, what has distorted the image of God. This is not an exultation of the self, but rather the opposite—a humble living out of our identity as children of God. Paul expresses this in Romans 8:19–21: “The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

The biblical word for redemption comes from the slave market: to redeem slaves was to buy them back from their present owners and then set them free. Spiritual redemption took place through the achievement of Jesus in the grave, as the power of Satan was vanquished. Because of this, Christians are “bought back” and set free to live under God, so that God’s original image and purpose may be restored in them. The church is to be an agent of that redemption. “Ministry” is the work of the church, customized for each person, to lead that person into freedom.


Example of the 2nd Message & Mission of the Church:

Life House Covenant Church in Longmont, Colorado, is a new church that is especially effective at redemptive ministry. Most attendees have had a caustic experience of Christianity, while also being caught in a life of external addictions. Here is the church’s vision: “We intend to be the dwelling place of God through whom He offers shelter to the unloved, freedom for the bound, and restoration to the broken, that the world may know that Jesus is Lord.” This new church lives out this second message and mission in its day-to-day ministry to those who need healing and liberation.

Reflections: How might your new church live out Ministry?

 

 

The Third Message and Mission of the Church

The church is to help people live a new, resurrected life in Christ, through the filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is called SPIRITUAL FORMATION. It happens through teaching, Bible study, spiritual disciplines, and mentoring.

The death of Jesus would not be known to us without the resurrection. The disciples would not have given their lives for a terminally dead Messiah. This is why Paul says in 1 Corinthians 15:17–19, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.… If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others.” The resurrection was God’s exclamation point that a new world was beginning—one that promised life rather than death, hope rather than despair, re-creation rather than decay. The church is to live out that promise of new life, becoming a source of joy, energy, and hope to this world.

Spiritual formation is the resurrected life of Jesus living in a Christian, working to transform his or her life. Spiritual formation happens through many different venues of a church. It occurs through large group, Spirit-inspired teaching and preaching that helps Christians understand how God wants to form their hearts. Small groups can be an equally powerful setting, allowing people to dialogue with each other as they process and apply Scripture to their lives. Spiritual disciplines use historic Christian practices such as Scripture reading, prayer, and fasting to re-create new habits that focus attention on God’s presence. Spiritual direction is the process of being spiritually formed under the gentle questioning and insights of a trained mentor.

Spiritual transformation happens through a process of deconstruction followed by reconstruction. What is deconstructed are the destructive elements of the worldview we each learn through our culture, our family of origin, our experiences, our selfishness, and our sin nature. What is reconstructed is a new worldview and story based on what it means to be a part of the kingdom of God. The reason so many Christians are unchanged by the gospel is that they have not gone through this two-step process in their lives. This is the great void of “cultural” Christianity, where the message is only absorbed skin-deep and never reaches the deep places in a person’s being.

In Jesus and the Victory of God, N. T. Wright speaks of the power of parables for spiritual formation:
The parables functioned the way all (good) stories function, by inviting hearers into the world of the story. They were designed to break open worldviews and to create new ones, encouraging listeners to identify themselves in terms of the narrative. To see the point of the parable was to make a judgment on oneself.

The parables were therefore, like the apocalyptic genre to which in some senses they belong, subversive stories, told to articulate and bring to birth a new way of being the people of God.

The words and actions of Jesus have the power to deconstruct our natural earthly worldview—we first identify with the narrative, then we come under the judgment of its words and actions. Simultaneously, Jesus’ words and actions teach us a new way of living, in which the new values and actions of God’s kingdom are incorporated and lived out in our existence. While all parts of Scripture are “God-breathed,” the words and actions of Jesus have a special ability to deconstruct and reconstruct the human heart. That the words and actions of the Son of God are this powerful should not be unexpected.


Example of the 3rd Message & Mission of the Church:

Abbey Way Covenant Church in Minneapolis is a new church plant that uses the historic Rule of St. Benedict to provide a model of life together. They use this monastic model to create intimate relationships within the community and a commitment to common spiritual practices. The three-hour Sunday service begins with a common meal, followed by intergenerational learning activities, and a worship service centered in the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. Among the commitments a family or an individual makes to enter this community is to consistently participate in a “chapter house” (a small group), pray the Divine Hours twice a day (focused Scripture readings and prayer), and be in a spiritual direction group once a month. These habits and rhythms are intended to create true disciples within the context of a committed, intentional community.

Reflections: How might your new church live out Spiritual Formation?

 


The Fourth Message and Mission of the Church

The church is to be a countercultural force in the community, nation, and world. This is called LOVE. It happens locally, regionally, and globally through compassion, mercy, righteousness, and justice.

Christians are to find creative expressions of compassion for all people. The importance of compassion, mercy, and justice as a part of the gospel is deeply rooted in the history of all four major Christian groups—mainline, Catholic, evangelical, and orthodox. Christian organizations founded most hospitals in this country, as well as orphanages, food pantries, and homes for widows. In the early days of the modern evangelical movement, compassion was an expected part of the church’s expression of Christianity. Unfortunately, in the last generation that commitment has diminished among evangelical churches.

The English words righteousness and justice in Scripture come from the same Greek word, dikaiosyne, which tells of God’s faithfulness to both his intention for his creation and to his covenant with Abraham. The implication of the lordship of the ascended Jesus is that dikaiosyne is to be lived out in this world by the church. We are to be advocates of justice, righteousness, compassion, and mercy for all.

Rodney Stark wrote a powerful book on the social history of early Christianity titled The Rise of Christianity. One reviewer of that book commented, “Another important contributor to Christian growth was the role of epidemics, especially the great epidemic (‘Plague of Galen’) of the second century. Stark suggests that the philosophy the Christians practiced, of selflessness and caring for the sick, created in the Christian community a stronghold of mutual aid, which resulted in a superior survival rate to that of the Greco-Roman pagans.” This expression of mercy and compassion was natural for true followers of Jesus, the one who expressed profound concern and love for the sick.

In recent years the evangelical church has primarily used “attractional” methods of outreach, inviting people to “come and see.” This was a strategy Jesus used in calling his first disciples (John 1:35–51). In the world today, missional churches should utilize “incarnational” outreach as well, demonstrating the gospel b y serving people in their community.


Example of the 4th Message & Mission of the Church:

The city of Detroit is perhaps the most challenging urban environment in the nation. So when Harvey Carey, the associate pastor of one of the largest African-American churches in Chicago, announced that God wanted him to plant a new church in the city of Detroit, everyone was surprised. Citadel of Faith Covenant Church has taken root in a neighborhood that has a median household income of $14,000 a year. Such poverty brings with it hopelessness and a variety of social problems. This new church has a holistic theology that causes it to be an agent for compassion, mercy, righteousness, and justice in the city.  This past summer they initiated an urban camping project. Drug houses were identified in the neighborhood, and the men and boys of the church pitched tents in the street outside of those houses, vowing to stay there until the drug dealers left that neighborhood. In a similar manner, Sanctuary Covenant Church in Minneapolis started a Community Development Corporation at the same time as the church was founded, creating a major force for justice and compassion in the economically challenged north side of the city. For these churches their commitment to the gospel message of Christ requires that actions of justice and compassion are central to their ministry.

Reflections: How might your new church live out Love in Your World?

 

The Fifth Message and Mission of the Church

The church is to be God’s community of broken-yet-healing people that provides love, support, and accountability for each other. This is called TRUE COMMUNITY.  It happens through love, worship, fellowship, feasting, and Holy Communion, and multiplies through church planting.

The growth of the early church was intimately connected with the love that emanated from this new community of Christians. Historian John Ferguson described the power of Christian love: “It was secondly in the way of love revealed, in the witness of community (koinonia), in a fellowship which took in Jew and Gentile, slave and free, men and women, and whose solid practicality in their care for the needy won admiration. Love, fellowship, and hospitality to all became a powerful attractor for the early Christian faith.

The power of Christian community occurs when unconditional love and bold truth become the two pillars of community life, creating an irresistible authenticity. In the isolated, individualized lives of Americans, true community is a breath of fresh air. Five ingredients seem to contribute most to true community: love, worship, fellowship, feasting, and the celebration of the Lord’s Supper.

A recent emphasis of many churches is the recovery of the historic Christian practice of hospitality. What does hospitality mean for your church, and how can each family extend hospitality to their circle of influence? In Middle Eastern culture, food was the center of relational interactions. The natural extension of the Lord’s Supper into a common meal exhibited the early Christian’s understanding of the power of feasting and hospitality.

In the dominant Roman culture, a person practiced hospitality to gain standing with people of influence. By contrast, in the early history of the church, hospitality was embodied in a simple shared meal. The early church showed hospitality especially to people who did not have influence, who could not repay the gift, as a demonstration of the love of God for them. Jesus’ powerful parables and teachings were the source of this profound countercultural behavior. Christian hospitality reveals the difference between self-serving and self-sacrificing motivations.

Church planting is a natural expression of the desire to reproduce irresistible Christian communities. In a local congregation, Christians experience the love of God and the transforming power of community. That transformation inspires them to invite others to experience the power of the whole gospel. The original Christian method for multiplying true community is to start new congregations.


Examples of the 5th Message & Mission of the Church:

Life Covenant Church in Torrance, California, is a young church that attempts to live out the whole gospel. This objective flows out of its deep commitment to live life together as a community of love and truth. Only a little over two years old, this demographically youthful church of 125 attendees has raised $80,000 above its general budget to help start two new churches in the Los Angeles area. At the same time, they raised an additional $25,000 to provide microeconomic loans in Mozambique. This is not a church of the rich—rather, they have an extraordinary desire to be generous with God’s gifts, for the benefit of the world.

Bayside Covenant Church in Sacramento, California, is a new church that quickly became a megachurch. Instead of focusing only on its own development, they have started six new churches in the greater Sacramento area in the last two years, each targeting a different geographic, cultural/ethnic or economic community. These new churches have quickly taken root and grown strong in their communities because of Bayside’s ability to support them through coaching and team development. This model is the best example of how a megachurch can expand its influence beyond its own local community, by becoming a diverse group of churches focused on leadership development and missional expansion.

When asked by Christianity Today several years ago why Bayside had started other churches instead of focusing on becoming a stadium-sized megachurch, pastor Ray Johnston had a simple answer. By helping start new churches, Bayside could help more people experience the mission and the message of Jesus. He drew on a comparison to the fast-food industry to make his point: “You can either build one mega-McDonald’s or a bunch of small ones,” he told Christianity Today. “The question is which will feed more people.”

Reflections: How might your new church live out True Community?

 

How Many Messages and Missions Are Necessary?

Should a Christian incorporate all of the messages and missions in his or her personal life? Should a church incorporate all of the messages and missions in their communal life? Or is it simply natural to focus on one or two to the neglect of the others? My conviction is that each message and mission is at the heart of the gospel. All five were central to Jesus’ message and were enacted by Jesus in dramatic ways. Likewise, in emulating Christ, all Christians and all churches should understand and live out the whole gospel. These five messages and missions are akin to the five senses. A person can survive with four senses, or even three or two, but fullness of life is best experienced when all five senses are fully engaged. Then the experience of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell interact to amplify our experiences into a full-orbed expression of life as God intended. In the same way, living out all five messages and missions of Jesus allows Christians and churches to express authentically and completely the good news of God.

Unfortunately, many churches focus on only one message and downplay the others. For some churches, the message of evangelism is all-important, while the other four go unmentioned. Other churches only live out the spiritual formation message. Other churches are excellent at putting the fourth message into practice but give little attention to the remaining ones. The whole gospel encompasses all five messages and missions, and the power of the gospel is found in living out all five together. When the church practices all five together, the result is accelerated spiritual growth in each member’s personal life and greater completeness in the church’s ministry.

Living out the five messages and missions holistically can also serve as a response to the emerging generation’s critique of American Christianity. Younger Christians look at much of contemporary Christianity and see these shortcomings in our current religious practices:

• Your Christianity is too “plastic.” Christians pretend to live faultless lives; we need more authenticity.
• Your Christianity is too focused on the practical; we need deeper spirituality.
• Your Christianity is too individualistic; we must learn to live in community.
• Your Christianity is too self-serving, focusing all your time and money on fulfilling your own needs. We need Christians who will live, love, and give for the last, the least, and the lost.

These critiques seem very biblical and reflect the younger generation’s intuition that we need a holistic return to the fullness of the gospel. The recovery of the spiritual power of the Christian church will come when we take their critique seriously. We are to daily live in forgiveness and reconciliation with God and to spread that message of the achievement of Jesus to all who have not experienced new birth. We are to let God set us free from the habits that hold us in bondage and minister to people who need that touch of re-creation. We are to experience new life in Christ, manifested by a renewed heart of mercy, faith, and love and empowered by the Holy Spirit. We are to be leaders in the struggle for justice, righteousness, mercy, and compassion for all. We are to live these out in a local community of Christ, which we call the church, learning to live in love and truth as we seek to expand the kingdom of God both spiritually and physically.

Paul summarized the connection between Christ and the church in Ephesians 1:22–23: “God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

These sections on the Message and Mission of Jesus and of the Church have dealt with how the church may be rebuilt. However, one critical ingredient remains if God’s work is to be complete. That ingredient is akin to the role of yeast in the baking of bread. That final element is restoration, the spiritual and supernatural work of God. When the story of Jesus is told and lived out, and when the church is creating pathways for fruitful ministry, then the stage is set for the movement of the Holy Spirit to breathe new life into his church.


The Restoration of the American Church

The American church needs to be “forever building.” Building is the church’s response to God’s missional promptings. But the greatest need of the church is “being restored,” which is a spiritual and supernatural act of God.

Ezekiel 37 contains a powerful story of how the spiritual and supernatural action of God’s restoration of his people. God showed the prophet Ezekiel a valley of dry bones. While in Berlin, in many ways a place of spiritual desolation, I heard the following Scripture slowly read aloud in a worship service as an electric guitar in the background created the aural sensation of being in the valley of dry bones.

The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the Lord and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of Man, can these bones live?”

  I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

  Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ”

  So I prophesied as I was commanded.… “ ‘Come, breath, from the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” … and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army. (vv. 1–10)

All around the world, God’s heart is to resurrect and restore a vast multitude of people, transformed by the message and mission of Jesus to minister to and serve our world. While the future of Western Christianity at the present looks bleak, the gospel always offers the hope of restoration and resurrection.

This desire for God’s restoration is found in this historic cry of the church:
Most powerful Holy Spirit,
come down upon us and subdue us.
From heaven,
where the ordinary is made glorious
and glory seems but ordinary,
bathe us with the brilliance of your light,
like dew.

The book of Acts tells the early church’s experience of a new hope, a new reality, a new world. Luke’s two-volume story of Jesus and the church (Luke-Acts) reaches its final crescendo in its last chapter, Acts 28. The gospel has journeyed from the backwater of Nazareth, through Jerusalem to Rome, the power center of the known world. Although Paul has arrived in chains, his bonds cannot bind the unstoppable power of the gospel. The chapter ends with Paul quoting Isaiah 6:9–10, the same verses Jesus quoted when he called for hearts of stone to become hearts of flesh: “[that] they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them” (v. 27). Then Luke concludes, “He [Paul] proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (v. 31).

Luke’s concluding words should be the call and cry of the American church. We are to herald God’s good news in the midst of the pain and suffering of this world. Our focal point is the story of Jesus, forever alive through the power of the resurrection. Our prayer is that the kingdom of God will break in upon this world like the new day’s dawning of the sun, as the people of God courageously speak and live out the Good News. God bestows on the church the awesome privilege of enacting the story of Jesus in our day, as we imagine writing with boldness and joy the twenty-ninth chapter of Acts.

Caedmon’s Song (Part 2)
I have a dream,
That all the world will meet you,
And know you, Jesus, in your living power.
That someday soon all people will hear your story
And hear it in a way they understand
So many who have heard forget to tell the story.

Here I am, Jesus: teach me.
I cannot speak, unless you loose my tongue;
I only stammer and I speak uncertainly;
But if you touch my mouth, my Lord,
Then I will sing the story of your wonders.


DRAFT Strategic Ministry Plan For Our New Church

1. Theological Basis >>
  2. Spiritual Foundation in Prayer >>
      3. Mission Field - Need of our Area >>
        4. Evangelistic Strategies >>
          5. Our Specific Vision >>
          6. The Strategy of the 4-Stage Launch>>
              Stage 1 - Roots: Launch Team Gathering
              Stage 2 - Leaves: Preview Services
              Stage 3 - Branches: Preparatory Worship
              Stage 4 - Fruit: Launch
                  7. Leadership >>
                      8. Covenant >>
                        9. Finances>>

1.  Theological Basis for this New Church
Worksheet on the Gospel Foundation and 5 Ways we’ll live it out:

- Evangelism
- Ministry
- Spiritual Formation
- Love
- True Community

Additional Resource: The Mission of God by Chris Wright

TEAM APPLICATION:           
Living The Message and Mission of the Church


•  The church is to proclaim the message of forgiveness in Christ producing reconciliation with God. This is called _______________. It happens Publicly and Personally when People are Loved by and Confronted with Jesus – his Message and Mission.

•  The church is to help people break the bonds that hold and oppress them, helping restore God’s original creation in them. This is called _____________. This happens through Prayer, Healing and Practical Help, which leads to Spiritual and Physical Freedom.

•  The church is to help people live a new life in Christ, through the filling and empowerment of the Holy Spirit. This is called _____________ _____________.  It happens through Teaching, Bible Study, Spiritual Disciplines and Spiritual Direction

•  The church is to be a counter-cultural force in the community, nation and world, This is called ______________. It happens locally, regionally and globally through Compassion, Mercy, Righteousness and Justice.

•  The church is to be God’s community of broken-yet-healing people that provides love, support and accountability for each other. This is called ________ _______________.  It happens through love, worship, fellowship, feasting, and Holy Communion, and multiplies through church planting.


WHAT IS ONE WAY YOUR NEW CHURCH WILL LIVE THE GOSPEL IN EACH OF THESE 5 AREAS?

 

 

 


Category:Seeding - Preparation for Church Planting
Category:Scriptural and Theological Basis for Church Planting
Church Planting Resource Manual

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