Greg Gilbert, pastor of Third Avenue Baptist Church in Louisville, was guest speaker at the “Standing Together for the Gospel” conference sponsored by our Ohio and Michigan state associations. He’s the author of What Is the Gospel?, a brief exposition of Bible passages that define the gospel message. Having written a well-regarded book on the subject, Greg has embarked on a practical application, implementing a gospel-centered approach to church ministry. He shares some of the lessons he’s learned with Baptist Bulletin readers. His topic is relevant for us too. Our 2014 GARBC Conference theme is “The Essential Gospel.”
Some observers are poking fun at those hip gospel-centered guys who sip lattes and wear straight-leg jeans. Has “gospel centered” become just a trendy buzzword?
No, I think it’s more meaningful than that. And I think Steve would agree with this also, that it is doing some good work of exactly what it says: centering churches and entire movements on the message of the gospel. I agree that if gospel-centeredness doesn’t explode into ministry and evangelism and missions, then you’ve probably misunderstood what it means to be gospel centered. In fact, it’s likely that you’ve missed what the gospel means entirely. The gospel drives us outward toward people who don’t yet know Jesus Christ. But there are massive temptations to make the focus of the church some other thing. I think a movement that says, “No, we’re going to center ourselves on the message of the gospel as it’s presented in Scripture” is a good thing.