Every institution, organization or society has it’s own identity, it’s own set of core values which defines it. Churches are no different. Every church has certain beliefs and core principles which shape it’s character and ministry. A core belief or value is a part of the foundation an entity stands upon. It guides all behavior and action. It is central to who you are, it is part of your DNA. At 5point7 Community Church, we have a number of important core values. One of our most important values is gospel centrality. The terms, gospel-centered, seems to be popular and trendy now a days, there are a whole host of ministries claiming to be gospel-centered. I’ve never been the type to jump on bandwagons and follow fads, but I must admit, that the recent trend towards gospel-centered ministry is a positive one. This is one case where I don’t mind riding the bandwagon.
What is gospel-centered?
For me, there are three things in particular I have in mind when I speak of being gospel-centered.
1. Gospel-centered interpretation of Scipture.
First of all, we need to be clear on what is the gospel. Basically, the gospel is the good news of what God has done for us through His Son Jesus Christ. (1Cor. 15:1-8). It is the message concerning God, in His grace, bringing salvation to sinners (1Tim. 1:15). Therefore, when I speak of a gospel-centered interpretation of Scripture, I am talking about seeing everything within the Bible in the light of the gospel. The message concerning Jesus, the Son of God, and His work of redemption, becomes the key to understanding everything from Genesis to Revelation (Lk. 24:27;44). The Bible is not simply a collection of disconnected religious stories, but rather, all 66 books together are unified around the theme of the person and work of Jesus Christ. At 5point7 Community Church, we will seek to preach and teach from the Word of God and minister to people holistically, ministering to their needs in every area of life. However, the gospel will always be at the center of all preaching and teaching, because we believe it’s at the heart of all biblical revelation.
2. Gospel-centered worldview
A person’s worldview is their philosophy of life, it is their way of seeing the world. To have a gospel-centered worldview is to view all of life through the lens of the gospel. At 5point7 Community Church we believe that Jesus Christ stands at the center of history. His death on the cross and resurrection from the dead are the most significant acts of all time (Gal. 4:4-5). His return in glory will be the culmination of history. All things exist for Christ (Col. 1:16). His work of redemption is the whole point of creation. Therefore, at 5point7, it is our intention that every area of our lives conform to gospel principles.
3. Gospel-centered growth
I believe that one of the biggest misconceptions held by many people within and outside of the church, is that the gospel is for sinners and not for saints. Many believe that the gospel message is just basic information you must assent to in order to join the church. Once you have joined, the gospel is then no longer needed. They treat the gospel like a formula to be recited while repeating after the preacher. Once you have become a Christian, you now move on to more relevant, practical teaching. This view is wrong. The gospel is not only the beginning of our Christian experience, it is the beginning, middle and the end of it. The gospel not only saves us, it also sustains and nurtures us. It is our apprehension of God’s love for us in Christ which fuels our love for Him (1Jn. 4:19). It is in pondering the details of the gospel that we see the glory of God (2Cor. 4:6). As we behold the glory of God manifested in the gospel, we are transformed by it’s glory (2Cor. 3:18). The gospel provides the greatest motive for all Christian obedience and worship. Therefore, it is mainly by preaching and teaching the love of God in Christ that Christians are brought to maturity (Col. 1:28).
At 5point7 Community Church, The gospel of Jesus Christ is at the core of everything. Though we believe that such things as politics, social improvement and economics have their place, these things are not at the center of who we are, we are not defined by such things. We are defined by our belief in the fact that we are sinners in need of the grace of God in Christ. We believe that Christ is the center of biblical interpretation, He is at the center of our worldview, and He is central to our growth as Christians. Therefore, we consider ourselves a gospel-centered church.