I’m thrilled to announce that a new missional-church resource called The Gospel-Centered Community is in final production and will be released to the public on August 31, 2013. Here’s the back-story…
When we planted Coram Deo Church in 2005, we were committed to the idea of being gospel-centered. At least on paper. We quickly discovered how difficult it is in practice. So in order to shape “gospel DNA” in our church in a way that was accessible to both Christians and non-Christians, Will Walker and I wrote a nine-week missional small-group curriculum called The Gospel-Centered Life. Before long, other pastors in the Acts 29 Network were using it in their churches as well.
Some of the concepts in GCL were borrowed from the work of a gospel-driven mission agency in Philadelphia called World Harvest Mission. So we approached WHM to ask if they’d consider a publishing partnership to make the material available to a wider audience. They agreed, and we began a two-year process of brainstorming, editing, and re-writing. Under the direction of the good folks at World Harvest, The Gospel-Centered Life released to the public in the summer of 2009.
Judging from the response, the content met a need. The Gospel-Centered Life has sold over 50,000 copies to date. About 2 years ago, New Growth Press took over the copyright and invited Will and I to write a follow-up study. So we began work on The Gospel-Centered Community. While GCL focuses primarily on personal renewal, The Gospel-Centered Community seeks to infuse gospel renewal dynamics into an entire community (a small group, a mission team, a church). Here’s how we explain our goal in the introduction:
The phrase “gospel-centered” has experienced a surge of popularity in recent years. Though we’re thankful for this renewed interest in the gospel, we’ve encountered two problems with the popularity of this term:
1) Many people use the phrase as a junk drawer. Because all faithful Christians love the gospel, “gospel-centered” becomes a phrase that easily gets people nodding their heads – even if they don’t fully comprehend it.
2) Many people use this term “aspirationally.” They aspire to be gospel-centered; but they don’t really know how to get there.
The Gospel-Centered Community has been written to help remedy both of these problems. By God’s grace, we trust that this study will 1) deepen your comprehension of the gospel, and 2) help you move from aspiring toward gospel-centered community to actually being a gospel-centered community.
The Leader’s Guide and Study Guide will be published in hard copy in August. If you are planning to attend the Gospel Coalition conference in April, you’ll receive a preview copy of the Leader’s Guide in electronic format. Please help us spread the word about this material to anyone who might be helped by it.