A healthy gospel church is a church that is in love with Jesus and his mission. Jesus came to seek and to save the lost. Redemptive mission is at the heart of who God is and what he is doing in this world. Our calling as his church is to share in that mission by making Jesus work of salvation known to our nation and many nations.
In Luke 24:46-48 the risen Christ gives his disciples a stunning insight into his understanding of the Old Testament Scriptures.
“Then he (Jesus) opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”
The narrative of Scripture centres around the mission of God – the Messiah will suffer and rise – and the mission of his church – repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations beginning at Jerusalem.
“Evangelism is not one thing that a church does amongst many others.”
Evangelism is so central to the life of the Christian church that a church that is not evangelising is forfeiting the right to be recognised as a church. A healthy church is a church that has evangelism at the heart of all it does. Evangelism is not one thing that a church does amongst many others. In a health gospel church evangelism permeates every aspect of church life. Our youth work, our women’s ministry, our preaching, our praise, our mercy ministries, our payer meetings are all shaped by the clarion call of Jesus to make him known and to show his love to the world.
This drive to evangelise and tell the good news will lead us to church planting. In the New Testament church planting is not a fringe activity, but is a normal part of church life alongside preaching, prayer, generosity, and service. Healthy gospel churches reproduce. A friend of mine will often remark that all congregations should be able to say about church planting, “if we could we would, and when we can we will.” Because we are part of presbyterian denomination where we partner in the work of the gospel every church can be a church planting church. We can be involved through partnering with the church plants and the 30 x 30 project. We can be involved through prayer for the church planters and their families. We can be involved through giving money to support new church plants. We can be involved by moving home to help a new church get started.
“Being a healthy gospel church means loving God and loving the people around us.”
Being a healthy gospel church means loving God and loving the people around us. When we love people our heart is for their salvation – that they will find new life in Christ. If this impulse is missing from us personally or from our church then the best place to begin is in prayer. Simply ask God to soften your heart and to give you a deep compassion for those who are without Christ and so without hope in this world.
The vision of the Free Church of Scotland is to see a “Healthy Gospel Church for Every Community in Scotland.”
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