I stole this from my friends at Village Church at Vinings in Georgia. I love those guys a lot and I love their church. Here is what they say, which I agree with:
A gospel-centered church understands that change or transformation of any kind, especially heart transformation, cannot happen apart from the good news of God’s grace.
Therefore, a gospel-centered church keeps the focus of its activity – preaching, teaching, worship, outreach, mercy ministry, discipleship – centered on the riches of God’s grace available only through the sacrificial death of Jesus for sinners.
Because of this, a gospel-centered church is committed to:
- Reading and teaching the entire Bible in light of the gospel
- Preaching the gospel to unbelievers and believers
- Leaders applying the gospel to themselves first; church leaders are the first repenters
- Cultivating a leadership culture marked by an increasing “Gospel astonishment”
- Being known for an atmosphere of grace; gospel-centered churches are safe places for those outside the faith
- Being known as people who don’t just know the doctrine of the gospel but who also love Jesus
I love that phrase: “Gospel astonishment.” I know that when people are not astonished by the gospel, they are not getting it. It has become a necessary point on a doctrinal statement, not the rich soil for fertile plants to bring forth succulent fruit.