A “Gospel Community on Mission”
The word “gospel” literally means “good news.” The ancient Greeks and Romans used it to announce an important event that changed the hearer’s lives for the better. Examples included a great military victory or the coronation of an emperor. It was the perfect word for the early Christians because they felt they had the greatest news of all—a history-making event that would change the world forever.
The focal point of this good news is Jesus Christ. Through his birth, life, death, and resurrection God intends to heal and restore our broken world to a place of justice, peace and flourishing. This is a uniquely Christian message. Virtually every other world religion says, “This is what you must do to connect with God or earn your way to God or improve your lot in this life and/or the next life. So, do it.” Christianity says, “This is what God has done for you in Jesus Christ. So, believe it … and follow Jesus.”
The apex of God’s grand plan to restore our world is a renewed people. The Christian’s experience of God’s grace is to be a primarily communal experience. This goes against the grain of our individualistic society and our natural tendency toward selfishness. But that’s precisely why the gospel matters: we too were undeserving of God’s mercy, but he loved us anyway. And when Jesus died on the cross, he secured God’s love and approval of us. Forever. So instead of demanding it from others in order to have meaning in life, we’re free to love and serve them—even (especially!) when it’s difficult.
God intends for us as individuals to live out the gospel in community. That means we need to learn to love one another, value and affirm one another, put up with one another, bear one another’s burdens, pray for each another, challenge one another, and encourage one another. In short, it means we grow with one another as we do life together—from the youngest to the oldest.
Every Christian is a Christian because somebody shared the gospel with them. Good news, by definition, is news worth sharing. And if you have believed the gospel in a way that saves, you can’t help but pass it on to others. It simply can’t be contained. Our mentality as a faith community should never be insular. It should always be oriented toward the community that God has placed us in. For this reason we’re committed to sharing this news with the city of Naperville and the surrounding communities through our words and our deeds. Our hope is to see people restored to God, to themselves, and to the world around them as they receive the good news and experience its life-changing implications in the context of community.