After Easter Now What Does the Church Do?

Okay pastor. You have survived Easter. You took out all the stops, you rang the bell and poured on the hospitality. You even preached your heart out. Perhaps attendance was the highest it has been in a long time and it seems some of the visitors might even stick around.

What now? Where do you go from Easter and how do you keep the momentum? May I suggest you preach the gospel and let that drive the church?

Wait you say, I preach the gospel, every year at our revival service! No I mean every week, from every text, for the glory of Jesus and the good of your church.

Enter Jared Wilson’s book “The Gospel-Driven Church: Uniting Church-Growth Dreams with the Metrics of Grace.”

Wilson gives a practical guide to transitioning to gospel-centrality (which believe it or not is not a normal thing in the evangelical world).

Grab the book, hang with other gospel-driven pastors and get going into grace. It is what the church is meant for!

Here are some choice quotes to whet your appetite:

“Healthy, fruitful churches are made up of Christians who are searching out God’s ways and following the trails of doctrine in the Scriptures straight to the throne. “

“Real Christianity cannot be reduced to methods and ordinary human metrics. It must always for the supernatural.”

“May we never mistake our busyness and bigness for the breath of God.”

“The gospel refers to the good news that God sent his Son Jesus to live a sinless life, die a substitutionary death, and rise from the dead so that sinners who repent and trust in Jesus will be forgiven and have eternal life.”

“A gospel-centered church is one that explicitly and intentionally connects its teaching, programs, ministry philosophy, and mission to the content of the gospel.”

“The gospel will hold and sustain your church in a way all the relevant programming, applicational teaching, and worship experiences never will.”

“Gospel-driven preaching is preaching that proclaims and exults in the revealing of God’s glory in Christ.”

“The power of salvation and the sanctification that follows comes only from the gospel, not the law. In other words, the power for to-dos comes not from to-dos, but from the “was-done” of Jesus Christ.”

“The gospel is not fully preached until people have been called to respond. The call can sometimes look like practical application points, but more generally it looks like prophetic pleading that urges hearers to turn from their way and embrace the way of Jesus. “

“A church centered on the gospel of Jesus Christ will be turned inside out because the gospel rightly grasped compels a church to join God’s mission in the world. “

“Over time, the gospel preached, applied, and empowered by the Spirit will coalesce a church around Christ, and from this gospel focus, people can be galvanized to move outward in mission.”

“If you want a gospel-driven ministry, you must resign your will to the supremacy of the glory of Christ and trade your personal ambitions for the beauty of Christ’s bride.”

The Pastor’s Justification

Last week I finished The Pastor’s Justification by Jared Wilson and quickly ordered a bunch of copies to send to friends. While most readers know that I am a big Wilson fan, rather than slather on praise from a groupie I thought I would pass on a review by someone a bit more respected.

Zach Eswine has his own story of pastoral ministry and pursuing Jesus and he commends this new book to us. Of The Pastor’s Justification Eswine says:

“When I finished the last sentences of Jared Wilson’s book, I took off my reading glasses and rested the paperback on my lap. These four words then looked at me with invitation: “Recover your first love.” Behind the words was the lover himself, Jesus. I was smitten again and grateful. Attention to the loveliness of Jesus describes the strength of this book…

“To set Jesus in front of us again in our pastoral vocation, Wilson first takes us back to Scripture by helpfully meditating at length on 1 Peter 5:1-11. Then he fleshes out what the five solas of the Reformation reveal to us about our pastoral task in Christ. He understands well the demands of pastoral work, revealed by his of use personal stories, the Bible, history, and quotes from Eugene Peterson, C. S. Lewis, and Dietrich Bonheoffer. He invites us at every turn to the person and promises of Jesus as the true and saving measure for our lives and ministries…

“Pastors, this book is a quick read. But it points you to something deep and lasting. Wilson aims to see you refreshed, refocused, and replenished by helping you meditate again on your first love…”

Read the whole review here.

Why our churches need a gospel renaissance

Jared Wilson has begun a series on his blog of pastors he admires. The post this week highlights Steve Benninger’s role as lead pastor of a megachurch and how he is seeking gospel-centrality in the church after many years of “success.” Steve shares some important insights but one that shook me a little was the process through which he determined there needed to be a change.

“I began to look around at our people, especially at the young adults who had started out in the nursery twenty years prior and had gone through our entire church program. “Where is the love for Jesus?” I found myself wondering. “Where is the passion and devotion? They’ve gone around all the bases and taken everything we’ve offered, but something obviously didn’t get transmitted.”’

While I have not been part of our church long enough to have watched anyone grow up in it, I do interact with the end product of it. We invest a lot of verbal energy in our young adults, after all they are the ones taking over the church, but are we depositing astonishment at the work of Christ and undivided devotion to the Lord? These are questions that shape my ministry and why I dwell on the truth of Christ so much. Let us be about transmitting the right things.

Read the whole story here.