Monday, May 05, 2008

A Community Embodying the Gospel

I've been reading The Tangible Kingdom, by Hugh Halter and Matt Smay. It's a great book, and has really helped me to frame my thoughts. I mentioned earlier today that our church played in the park last night instead of having our normal gathering inside the Skinner Center. This book is really helping me to see that the gospel must be embodied by the church before it can be understood by the world. Last night I think we did a bit of this.

You've probably heard the Francis of Assisi quote, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words." I've always appreciated that. I've heard Tim Keller say that it's impossible for the gospel to be communicated without words, and I guess he's essentially right, but I think the words are secondary to Christ-followers living out their faith in practical ways. Or, another way of saying it would be that we get to verbally share Christ because we have lived Christ first.

I promise that all of this is leading up to a point, and here's that point: I think it's powerful when an individual lives out the Gospel in the presence of their neighbor, but something extra special happens when a community begins doing this. It's almost as if it is taken to a whole new level. I felt like we had a little bit of that last night. Whether it was cooking hot dogs and turkey burgers, or filling up water guns for the kids, or just sitting and listening to a person, I think we were attractive to our neighborhood, and I believe that as we continue to do that, we will have opportunities to verbally share Christ with them.

No comments: