I just finished J.D. Greear’s book Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary as part of the Roots Reading Initiative (with PLNTD). His last chapter focuses on the marks of a gospel-centered church, and he provides three of them. They are:
1. In a gospel-centered church, preaching the message of the gospel is the priority.
Greear: “The gospel is an announcement that Jesus is Lord and that He has won the battle for your salvation. We are to respond in repentance and faith (Mark 1:15). The gospel is not good advice about how to live; it is good news about what God has done. Jesus told His disciples to be ‘His witnesses,’ which meant they were to tell everyone, faithfully, the story of what He had done for the world. Their lives would certainly demonstrate the changes His power brought in their lives, but they were to constantly point to what He had done that made those changes possible (222).
2. In a gospel-centered church, the emphasis of the message is more on what Christ has done than what we are to do.
Greear: “… the only thing that brings true spiritual growth is abiding in–dwelling in, thinking about, standing in awe of–what Christ has done for us” (223).
3. In a gospel-centered church, the members demonstrate the beauty of the gospel in community.
Greear: “… by doing what healthy local churches do (praying, sharing, constantly preaching the word, etc.), [the early church] were evangelizing the community. The presence of a healthy local church in a community is the greatest catalyst for the evangelization of that community. In a healthy church the local community should see the glory of God on display” (229).