The leadership team at Agape Humphreys, the chapel community we serve in Korea, has been thinking and praying about our vision to advance the Great Commission. Our overarching goal is to make the Gospel clear. Very rarely do I come across someone who really can explain what the Gospel even is. The result is that people often have an understanding of a caricature of Christianity and little to no understanding of the real thing.
In his letter to the Colossian church, Paul requested prayer that he would make the Gospel clear as he should (Colossians 4:2-4). If we’re going to advance Christ’s Kingdom, then making the Gospel clear ought to be something we pray for and work to realize.
If our goal is to make the Gospel clear, then we’re not focused exclusively on converting people to Christ or monitoring Sunday worship attendance. Instead, better metrics include examining areas in your ministry to track how disciples are making disciples.
Making the Gospel clear should also mean making it simple for people to communicate and for people to understand. I love the Share Jesus Without Fear Bible (available from Lifeway for $4.89), because users rely on seven Scripture references that clearly and effortlessly communicate the Gospel.
I’ve come to the conclusion that sharing the Gospel by relying on the Word of God and living the Gospel through missional communities and Kingdom service are the most effective ways to make the Gospel clear. Missional communities are outposts of light that take the Gospel into the community. They are small groups of Christians that devote themselves to God’s Word (apostle’s teaching), fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers (Acts 2:42). Gathering in homes or neighborhoods is usually a good meeting place, but other spaces can be effective also.
If the only exposure people have to the Gospel is through corporate worship on Sundays, then we’re not fulfilling the Great Commission. We are commanded to go into the world–to be outposts of light in a world of darkness. We shouldn’t expect the world to come to us.
Another way we make the Gospel clear is through Kingdom service. Missional communities can powerfully communicate the love of Christ by serving their neighbors together. Being devoted to God’s Word means we grow in our knowledge of God and obey His instruction. Loving your neighbor (and enemies) mandates that we search for practical ways to love the people God puts in our paths. At Agape, our missional communities meet once a week, two or three times a month, and we serve together the other one or two weeks. Agape serves a newcomers meal at the Humphreys Lodge every Thursday night, and our goal is for our missional communities to rotate serving this meal to new families arriving into Korea or preparing to depart. We also encourage all missional communities to serve on Sundays through the various ministries (hospitality team, Agape Kids, worship team, etc) that occur around or during corporate worship.
2 Peter 3:18 instructs us to grow in grace and knowledge of God. Kingdom service and missional communities are the means for us to cultivate spiritual growth and understanding of who God is.
I love The Message paraphrase of Matthew 11:28-30: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
Missional communities are how we walk with Jesus and learn the rhythms of grace–by serving one another and growing in grace, humility, and wisdom of God together. They help us keep company with our King and remind us of the powerful truth that we were not designed to journey through life alone.
John Piper wrote, “You were created by Christ not to supply his needs, not to help him uphold the universe, but to eat and drink and work and rest in a way that shows his supreme greatness and value and beauty.” Missional communities exist to show the world His supreme greatness, value, and beauty thru everyday rhythms of grace.