If someone asked me to describe our church in a few words, one of the things that I would tell them is, “We are a gospel-centered church.” I think that is absolutely true, but I also think that might not be totally clear. Let me tell you what I think that means.
First, it means we have a biblical understanding of the gospel. We believe that Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again and this for the sins of His people. Those who repent and believe that gospel, who put their trust in Jesus Christ alone for salvation, will have eternal life.
Second, it means that the gospel defines our worldview. The gospel is not a small add-on. It is how we see the whole course of history and reality. God created us for Himself, we rebelled and so sin and death came into the world, but God in mercy, reached out to bring about redemption which plays out and comes to its conclusion in Christ. He will come again, and we will be with the Lord forever. That shapes our whole perspective on our earthly lives.
Third, it means our church family is primarily a family in the gospel. The church is a community of people with almost nothing in common except what’s most essential, and that is the gospel, and that forms us into a new humanity.
Fourth, it means that the gospel is believed, preached and taught as the central message of the church. It means we hold to that and refuse any compromise on the gospel.
Fifth, it means that we trust the gospel to be powerful to draw people, grow the church, and change lives. It means we don’t have to do gimmicks. We faithfully hold forth the word of truth; the ordinary means of the extraordinary gospel, and God will take care of bringing growth and resources. No fads are needed or allowed.
Sixth, it means that we see the scripture in light of the gospel. The Old Testament is not just a Jewish book, and then the New Testament is the book for non-Jews. No, the gospel is concealed in the Old Testament through types and prophecies until it is revealed in the NT.
Seventh and finally, it means we are always holding forth the gospel and calling men to salvation. A gospel-centered church is evangelistic. We call our people to be gospel-centered in their day-to-day lives, so that as many as will may come to the Lord.