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What is Gospel Intentionality within a Church Community?

Today I received an email from a pastor on Gospel Intentionality. In this email he requested help for his church family to gain a better understanding of what gospel intentionality looks like. What exactly is gospel intentionality?

Steve Timmis posted a series of Tweets on this: Living ordinary life with gospel intentionality means …

… buying from local shops.
… frequenting a local coffee shop or pub.
… playing for a local sports team.
… always tipping generously in local restaurants.
… being the kind of neighbor everyone wants to have as a neighbor.
… volunteering at a local charity shop along with a couple of others from church.
… doing ordinary things in community.
… opening your home to, and sharing your food with others.
… walking the same route to work at the same time or catching the same train each day.
… we do EVERYTHING for the sake of the gospel!

total-church-training-posterThese ideas are fleshed out more in the book Total Church. “Total church” is their way of capturing the idea that church is not one activity in our lives. Church isn’t a meeting you attend or a building your enter. It’s our identity, our community, our family. It’s the context for the totality of the Christian life.

In a post on this gospel intentionality at Edwards blog, Jonathan Dodson comments: “We need not only to do these things, but also understand how they are an expression of the gospel‚Ķor they will devolve into meaningless practices or legalistic works.”

This is the ‘stuff’ we go through at Kaleo. Recently, in our missional community we have had two families begin the process of searching for a home. Both were considering a location farther away from the community where they could get more home for the money. In our gospel intentional way we asked them what were the motivations behind this. If we are called to be a community on mission with the gospel at the center of everything we do, wouldn’t our decision of where we live profoundly be impacted by this? If we are gospel intentional we make decisions with what is best in mind for our witness, our faith and God’s glory. What motivates us to move outside the city to buy a bigger home? Comfort? Investment? Safety? If the answer isn’t calling than ultimately this decision is not being made with the gospel at the core. The good news of who God is tells us our comfort, value and protection reside in Him not in our home. We ultimately need to get down to the heart issues of what motivates people in all our decisions, because if we are not walking in line with the gospel we are worshiping something other than God.

These two families have begun to re-consider what they want to prioritize. They recognize that if they moved 20 minutes away it would impact their ability to be gospel intentional. Certainly, if God was calling them to move and their motivation was the gospel at the center, we would embrace this and help them move but our missional community doesn’t see this as the case. These people have been willing to submit this decision and heed the counsel of the community because of the gospel intentionality they desire. (Note: This is not gospel ‘intensity’ these conversations are not heavy-handed or us trying to make decisions for them.) All of us seek to expose our lives to each other and the community around us so that when any decision or circumstance is brought up we examine it through the idea of God’s calling on our life to live as a redemptive people who are servants of our great King. To the world this may sound crazy but to us it is a beautiful mess of sinners celebrating a life under the reign of a God who loves us and has adopted us as His.

We are calling our community to process this in how they dress, where they live, what activities they participate in and how we interact. It is all of life. For us this is Gospel Intentionality.

1 Comment

  1. Drew, very good summary, we just went through session 1 of Steve Timmis at MHC and we had a great open participatory meeting talking through it and telling stories of what it would look like. Thank you for this short summary and for pointing us to good resources as usual.

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