6 Signs Your Church is Gospel Focused

Is it possible for a church to take the Gospel for granted?

Can we get so accustomed to it that we miss its power and significance to ministry?

Could a church be so busy doing ministry (good things) that it’s not focused on Jesus?

I think it’s possible. It’s possible in really good churches led by good spiritual leaders.

Church can be exhausting. There is so much to do. The grand irony in the church is that the human element can crowd out the divine element. It’s never intentional, but it can happen. The daily responsibilities in the natural realm can distract us from the supernatural realm.

We’re here for people. We’re here to serve. That’s a good thing. But it’s easy to get lost in individual agendas and miss the big picture. It’s easy for the mechanics of ministry to minimize the mystery of the Gospel.

Let’s be candid, the list of stuff is long. Things like finances, buildings, culture-shifts, technology, staffing, etc. We are currently working on our health care insurance program for staff. Talk about things that can distract you from God!

It’s possible to go a few days, or weeks, or maybe even longer, and not lead in such a way that the “good news of Jesus Christ” remains central to all that is done.

There is certainly no judgment here, or I’d likely be judging myself too. But I’m so passionate about the gospel and why we “do church,” that if this post serves only as a good reminder and encouragement to us all, it’s worthwhile.

And if per chance this lands closer to reality for anyone, and serves as encouragement to get back on track, then all the better!

6 Signs Your Church is Gospel Focused:

1) Grace is demonstrated freely.

Grace is at the core of the Gospel.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace doesn’t supersede truth. They must be received together, but it’s difficult to overdo grace.

So how do you demonstrate this grace with others? Are you quick to forgive? Will you give a second chance? Do you focus on the potential for change?

2) Faith is developed consistently.

Trusting that God will provide, Jesus is with you, and the Holy Spirit is guiding you, is not always easy. On a good day, that’s perhaps not a big challenge. But in difficult times, the faith of even strong spiritual leaders can be stretched very thin. Let me ask you, as a leader, have you ever had doubts? Of course, you have, we all have.

That’s part of the process of becoming spiritually fit and mature as a Christian. If faith came natural and easy to everyone, I don’t think it would operate the way we know it does.

Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

Hebrews 11:1

How do you encourage and challenge people to develop their faith?

3) Salvation is proclaimed boldly.

We don’t need to apologize for the gospel to be politically correct. We also don’t need to be culturally insensitive to prove a point.

Colossians 4:5-6 says it well. “Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. 6 Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.”

Do you offer salvation with confidence, without hesitation, and yet with the grace that makes the gospel attractive to those who are far from God?

4) Baptism is celebrated regularly.

Baptism is an outcome of salvation and scriptural obedience. It’s not a starting place, but it’s a deeply meaningful sacrament that is part of a Gospel-focused ministry.

Baptism is not something to lift above salvation or test salvation, but there is incredible beauty and power in the symbolism of dying to sin and rising in Christ. Baptism inspires people about the core of the Gospel.

Are you pleased with where you are at concerning baptisms? Is your church outreach oriented?

5) Prayer is practiced daily.

We all pray. But I sometimes wonder if we tap the full potential of prayer. I wonder if we harness the vast power available in prayer. All prayer is good. Don’t let anyone discourage you or tell you that somehow you pray “wrong.” James 4:3 does say we can ask with wrong motives, but let’s assume good motives!

The important thing is simply to pray every day.

“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful. And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.”

Colossians 4:2-3

How’s your prayer life? Is it where you want it? Do you consider your church a praying church? What does that look like?

6) Jesus’ name is lifted up unashamedly.

Jesus is the name above all other names.

I’ve often prayed, “Father, may we never lift up the name of 12Stone higher than the name of Jesus.” I can’t imagine anyone doing that intentionally, but it can happen.

It’s more common to say God than Jesus in current culture. There’s obviously nothing wrong with reference to God or a common phrase like “It’s a God thing.” But I believe heaven resonates every time we lift the name of Jesus in a way that honors Him!

Does your church boldly lift up and proclaim the name of Jesus?

Leave a comment below if you can add a “7th sign” that a church is Gospel focused!

6 thoughts on “6 Signs Your Church is Gospel Focused”

  1. Pastor Singleton

    The most critical Gospel sign that’s
    omitted is Justice. The crux of God’s love and salvific plan is restoration of humanity which Jesus states in Luke 4:18-19. Until we Christians expand our understanding of salvation from only eschatological to sociological, God’s plan will continually be undone/incomplete ‘on earth as it is in heaven’.

  2. Eddie Anderson

    I don’t know that this is adding anything but rather stating it in a different way; and thank you Dan for the reminder; I don’t think we can be reminded enough about this issue. It’s about “keeping the main thing, the main thing” right? My thought is do we Teach the gospel and Equip believers to rightly handle and teach others the gospel. I’m not talking so much about from the pulpit, but in our Life Groups, Sunday School, small groups or whatever similar activities a church has, do we routinely and consistently make the gospel part of our teaching plans? For instance, I love leadership, discipleship, personal growth, but if I don’t make the gospel and relationship to Jesus Christ the main attraction, then I devalue everything else I try to teach.

    I have been blessed in my life to be influenced by two great men; my Dad who is a retired minister and my father-in-law also a retired minister. My Dad is a great example of a person who has the gift of evangelism, that is his heart. My father-in-law has possibly the greatest servant’s heart of anyone I’ve ever known. Through them, I’ve seen the gospel approached in two very real but different ways. My Dad is very direct while my father-in-law sees the value in meeting physical needs first; and I can also see the conflict; we can get so focused on meeting people’s needs that we forget to give them what they need most; and then we become the main attraction. Or, we can be so focused on sharing the knowledge about the gospel that we forget that Jesus came as servant. Could it be, that is one reason why God placed us all in the body the way He has? One has this gift, another has this one, but together we all become a masterpiece that reflects Jesus Christ to the fullest.

  3. Debo Onabanjo

    Dan, thanks as always. Reading through your list, I remembered a principle that Jesus demonstrated that was at the very heart of His teaching and message. Authentic leaders as far as the gospel is concerned must model discipleship for others by serving. In Matthew 20, the mother of James and John came to Jesus with a request that would have been acceptable except in another setting but Jesus denounced it as self-serving and unacceptable for those who want to be His disciples. They wanted the privilege of sitting in the place of honor next to Jesus. The other disciples were indignant at what James and John wanted to do with the help of their Mom but Jesus told them and He tells us “You know that the rulers of this world lord it over their people and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must become your slave. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve others and to give His life as a ransom for many.” Leadership that is not demonstrated through service is not at the heart of the gospel. Jesus did not only talk, He walked the path of service and encouraged others to follow. Leaders who preach the good news and don’t live it out in practical ways for others to emulate are no different from the religious leaders that Jesus exposed as hypocrites. Blessings!

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