Deep roots in good soil
Maybe all Christians should study advertising.
Okay, I’m not seriously suggesting that. But there’s something about trying to write a pithy tagline or the back cover text for a new Christian book that makes you think hard about how to communicate biblical truth to real people in a concise, engaging and yet theologically careful way. Hopefully you can see what I mean; it’s a useful thing for any Christian to be able to do as they interact with people around them.
Recently the Matthias Media team needed to design a banner for our booth at the (final) Together for the Gospel conference in Kentucky. Here’s the headline we decided to put on the banner: ‘Disciple-making flourishes in the fertile soil of deep gospel clarity’.
What are we trying to do with that headline? Explain why two of our most popular resources in the USA—The Trellis and the Vine and Two Ways to Live—are fundamentally connected.
The Trellis and the Vine argues for the priority of making disciple-making disciples. And it is the gospel of Jesus that saves and makes disciples (Rom 1:16), and it is the gospel that compels disciples to seek to persuade others to become disciples (2 Cor 5:14). It’s also the gospel that trains disciples to renounce ungodliness (Titus 2:12). Not only that, but the more profoundly and clearly a person sees how much they have been forgiven through the grace encapsulated in the gospel, the more they will love and follow Jesus (Luke 7:41-43).
The gospel is totally central to all aspects of our mission of disciple-making.
So there is a problem in our churches and small groups if they lack sharp gospel clarity. Personal assurance, hope and joy will be undermined. It will also inevitably impede our disciple-making mission.
No doubt most church members can put together a few sentences about Jesus dying on the cross and rising again so that we can be forgiven and go to heaven. But are they really clear about all the key points and the theological logic of the gospel—how those key points all connect? Enough to hold on to gospel hope when life gets really challenging? Enough to be able to explain it well to another person?
That’s where Tony Payne’s new resource, Learn the Gospel, comes into play. It’s exactly the issue Tony is trying to address, using the recently updated Two Ways to Live gospel outline.
But let me ask you: how solid are your own gospel foundations? How solid are they for the people in the small group you lead? How solid are they for the people in the church you pastor?
If the answer is “not very”, “I’m not sure” or “could be better”, why not plan to work on your gospel clarity together in the second half of 2022 with Learn the Gospel?