4 Ways Pastors Can Equip Members to Engage in Gospel Relationships
As a new church plant approaching her second year, Centerpoint Church is still taking notes on the front row on how to be a people who are mobilized as missionary disciples where we live, work and play. You are being invited into our “classroom / laboratory” of learning through this blog post on how we are seeking to live with Gospel intentionality and be the church Monday through Saturday. 1) Gospel Culture
Our vision is knowing Jesus, building community and engaging brokenness. As the “wet cement” of our identity and culture is beginning to dry for our new church, we are seeking ways to make our vision transferrable and consumable by our members and attendees. We recognize that creating a culture has to begin with the way leaders model the behaviors and values of the preferred culture and identity of the church. Therefore as leaders we are seeking to elevate the value of exampling Gospel intentionality through being player coaches. As active participants, our elders and pastors are leading Gospel community groups with a view toward reaching out to those who are far from God but close to us. As coaches, we are seeking to shape and influence our other community group leaders to do the same.
2) Common Behaviors
Knowing Jesus, building community and engaging brokenness can become a static cliché if not given an incarnational expression to exercise. We are creating common behaviors that rise out of common practices in order to move us into our vision reality. Each component of our vision has a definable next step that can and should be practiced by anyone regardless of age or stage of spiritual maturity.
- Knowing Jesus: Read Scripture. We know and love God through His Word. Therefore, we have called Centerpoint Church into reading the Scriptures for oneself and with someone else. Prior to each month, we provide a monthly Bible reading guide based on the two-year Bible reading plan.
- Building Community: Share a Meal. Most people do not know their neighbors and have little awareness of the majority of people with whom they attend church. We are calling our members to simply open their dinner table and share a meal with others that they don’t know and especially with those who are not like them. The walls come down relationally and community is initiated when we share openly of our personal space and time with others.
- Engaging Brokenness: Serve a Need. Because of the Fall, we all deal with brokenness within us and around us. Jesus set an example for us to follow in the way that He engaged the brokenness in us by laying aside His Divine privileges and became the bearer of our sins (Philippians 2:6). To be intentional with the Gospel we are asking our congregation to simply find a need in someone else’s life or in our community and serve those needs with others who are in community with you.
3) Shared Mission
We are thankful for the strong and growing relationship with our facility host high school. Being a predominantly white church, we are being housed in a majority black school. Building relationships cross culturally is a high value for our church and therefore we are striving to be intentional toward our time and energy to serve this struggling high school. Each week we are volunteering in different ways to meet needs and build relationships. We are also learning that as we reach out to the school, we are establishing relationships that reach into the community.
4) Relationship Margins
While mobilizing the church to serve together is a priority, protecting time and energy for our members to engage those in proximity to where they live, work and play we also deem to be vital to the saturation of the Gospel. Therefore, we are seeking to do both by emphasizing our collective mission to reach out to the high school as an ongoing environment for short-term missions-like experience. Serving in this common mission together intermittently through our members and groups we believe will accentuate the value of reaching out personally within their own geographical contexts.
Jesus calls us to love God and love our neighbor as ourselves (Matthew 22:37-39). One cannot love whom one does not know and one cannot know another unless there is time spent together. As we seek out ways as a leadership team to model and coach our members to love others who near to them and far from God, please pray for us that we will live lives that demonstrate the Gospel in all of life.