For the last few years a few and my friends and I have been talking about community. The focus is on what it would look like to live in authentic community with other Christians. It is a topic that has consumed large parts of our conversations and time. During that time, we have all written down our ideas and meshed them into a conglomerate of processes. My friend and co-host of The (G)odd Show, Thomas Hogan, has been the most intentional about collecting these ideas.
In my last post I talked about being committed to building and helping others build lasting Gospel Centered Community (GCC). In order to provide a clearer picture of what that means, it is important to define that for you. So, what do I mean when I talk about Gospel Centered Community? Unfortunately, I have not taken a lot of time to write the definition. But, lucky for all of us, Thomas was good enough to write out our ideas so they are easily coherent. Here is what I mean when I say GCC or GCMC:
Gospel Centered Missional Community
We teach a purpose toward ministry called, “Gospel Centered Community” (GCC) and a method of ministry called, “Gospel Centered Missional Community” (GCMC).
The easiest way to define such a life encompassing idea is to define each word’s ideas and modes. And, the easiest way to execute this purpose is by understanding GCC as Jesus moving your heart to intentionally live toward others. And if GCC is an intent to live toward others, GCMC is the missional outworking of that intent, focused on making disciples who make disciples. In the below paragraphs, first I will define the purpose of each word and then under that, provide the practical outworking of that word as a method.
By Gospel we mean the life altering invitation by God to come home. The cross of Jesus Christ is the extension of this invitation. He has made the way for us to be close to God, to not feel ashamed or rejected, to be clean and whole without any hindrance or condemnation.
The Gospel invites us into God’s family and we should be decorating the invitation for others. By growing into maturity, through being a disciple and discipling others, we extend that invitation through our commission and emulate Christ’s work on the Earth.
By Centered we mean complete balance in your life. Balance between Heaven and Earth, between friends, family and ourselves, and between hurts and all joy. Our lives should be experienced, not buried in a landslide of religious duty or distracted by every wind of philosophy. We must find the center of our souls. That center is found in a loving, growing, and forward relationship with Jesus Christ. It is only from a place of spiritual identity and openness that balance is maintained.
In a Centered life our efforts and actions reflect simplicity. We best experience centeredness by living at peace with others, as best we can, and revealing the love of God through unity. In areas where being right and relationship come into conflict, we should seek relationship first and being right through developing our faith.
By Missional we mean that we exist for the benefit of those around us. We have abandon self-centeredness and embrace the mission of God to reach and heal the lost and hurting. By focusing on the greatest commandment, the great commission and the new commandment we fully encompass God’s heart for the world.
In a Missional community we create opportunities for others to interact with God’s love by meeting real needs in the real world. Christ is teaching us to love each other, so we can love God and love our neighbor. We best express that love by tangible manifestations in our neighborhoods. In doing so, our neighbors are able to see Christ pursuing them without compulsion or prerequisites.
By Community we mean a place and a people who are truly “your own.” We are not meant to find balance or experience the grace and power of God alone; we need each other. There is no version of community that doesn’t begin with deep-rooted love and end in freedom. In community we are free and with our people we can explore the richness of love from the Father without fear or restriction.
In Community we find our greatest purpose. Community spurs us on when we become weak and tired; in turn we use our gifts, talents, and abilities to interact in the work of the gospel. By experiencing the ebb and flow of conflict, grace, forgiveness and reconciliation of “body-life” we see the clearest picture of Christ among us.
Scriptural References: Acts 4:32, Acts 20:32, 1 Corinthians 5:13, Philippians 2:1-4, James 3:17-18 & Colossians 1:6-7.
If you have an interest in continuing to this discussion or developing GCMC where you are, I (or Thomas) would love to talk with you about it. You can contact me by clicking the below link: