The Bigger Story
Whenever people come to a service at your church, they should hear in some way that we are all sinners in need of grace, but that grace has been extended to us in Jesus Christ. His righteousness has been imputed to us, and in His cross God’s wrath toward us has been removed if we will hear, submit, and believe. Every week someone should proclaim the gospel, no matter what the topic is. If we’re talking about holiness, about manhood, about marriage, parenting, money, or any particular biblical command, we need to teach it and talk about it in view of the gospel, always bringing it back to the epic story of God’s redemption.
For this is how we inspire people to see their place in His bigger story. This is how the desire for multiplication keeps being stirred in the hearts of individuals living in community. This is how the seeds of new relationships are stirred into growth, all the way from personal interactions with people down the street to church planting projects with people in other parts of the city, state, region, or world. As people continually embrace and understand the gospel, His love supernaturally compels them to invest their lives in ensuring the gospel is embraced by others. People who own the gospel themselves don’t want to be the only ones who own the gospel.
A Creature centered on Jesus multiplies both organically and organizationally. People within the church multiply as they live with a “mission of reconciliation” on the forefront of their minds. Typically church leaders long for a program at this point, a method to help people within the church multiply. And while these ideas are grounded in sincere motivations, the answer is not another program. Organic multiplication simply happens as people are constantly and continually refreshed with the gospel and reminded of their part in the greater story.
In Matthew 16, when Peter answered Jesus’ inquiry about who people were saying Jesus was, Peter responded with “You are the Messiah.” Jesus told Peter he was a small stone (petros) but that Jesus would build and multiply the Church on the Rock (petra), the reality that He was the Christ who came to rescue sinners. The multiplication movement is built on Jesus and His work for us. And each person is a small stone. Each has a part to play in God’s redemptive plan for the nations. Multiplication will rise to the level that the people in our churches understand the bigger story and realize they have a part in it.
At the same time, a church consumed with Jesus will be driven to rally people around focused multiplication. A church will be driven to organizational multiplication, a leveraging of resources to ensure other Jesus-centered churches around the world are planted. There will always be a deep relationship between churches embracing the gospel and those churches multiplying and planting new churches. For as a church feasts on Christ’s mission, she is driven to multiply. She rallies leaders, leverages resources, and challenges people to participate in the beautiful birth of churches that are grounded in Jesus.
Jesus spoke His Church into existence. She is formed by the Word. When a local church lives as a local Creature of the Word, she is matured as she worships, lives in community, serves, and multiplies. How beautiful the Creature the Lord forms!
Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, a 2012 Outreach 100 church (No. 45 Largest), and the author of The Explicit Gospel (Crossway).
Josh Patterson is the lead pastor of ministry at The Village Church.
Eric Geiger is the vice president of the church resource division at LifeWay Christian Resources and is the author or co-author of several books, including Simple Church(B&H).
This excerpt is taken from Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church by Matt Chandler, Josh Patterson and Eric Geiger. © 2012 by The Village Church. Used by permission of B&H Publishing Group.
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