Characteristics of the gospel-shaped community

Good people are present in every belief and creed. Christianity certainly does not have a monopoly on goodness, but if Christianity is true then it should make a difference. People should come into a community shaped by the gospel and be able to experience that difference. It should not be an abrasive difference, but one that is attractive. Because we are all made for the same thing by the same God. If a community is pursuing the truth, those things should be apparent in their speech and actions and visible in their lives and it should be like water in the desert to the outsider.

What are some areas where the gospel-shaped community ought to be different?

  • Interpersonally: Outsiders should be able to see it in the way we love one another. Where there is conflict they should see resolution. Where there is suffering they should see compassion. Where there is wisdom they should see humility. We can speak until we run out of words but the way we love each other is the final apologetic.
  • Ideologically: The fall affects our minds and our ideas. The gospel-shaped community should be bending themselves over the truth in God’s word. The kingdom is won or lost in the realm of ideas as well as every other realm the corruption of the fall has touched.
  • Idolatry: Humans love to worship the created things rather than the Creator. The Christian community ought to visibly demonstrate the ability to handle the things of this world without worshiping them. We should be able to study well and be good students without burning out because we need to be good students. We should be able to care for our bodies without being driven by perfectionism. We should be able to date without the destruction that sex brings out of it’s proper context.  Have leisure and entertainment without becoming apathetic or bingeing.  Pursue excellence in everything we do without it that pursuit destroying us.
  • Outward Facing: We must take care of people. People within our midst and people outside of us. Think about the early church. The Roman emperor Julian, who was no friend of Christians in the early days of the church, but persecuted them violently was forced to say of them, “they not only take care of their poor, but they take care of ours as well.” If the church disappeared the whole world should mourn because now there is no one to serve where the church served. Is that true of Veritas?
  • Scattered: You should see us scattering into every corner of the life embodying that gospel. Every believer becomes a seed, becomes a small circle where the kingdom begins to take root and spread. We ought to be a centrifugal community, shooting people out at tangents along the path of God’s calling in their lives.
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