“We can explain the gospel with our mouths and we should, but the gospel is most effective when it is accompanied by demonstrations of the peace and the generosity; tangible illustrations that we work in the community.”
Pastor J.D. Greear says that the true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.
He reviews the priority of the Great Commission for followers of Christ, and what it looks like for the church to reach the world with the gospel. His book is Gaining By Losing: Why the Future Belongs to Churches that Send.
“People are not going to just come; we’re going to have to take the gospel to them.”
What are some ways churches can tangibly demonstrate the gospel?
10 years ago, Pastor Greear was teaching on Acts 8. He challenged his congregation to identify the needs in the community and discuss how they were going to meet them.
“When Philip went into Samaria, there was much joy in the city as a result of the works that he did, and the message he preached. I asked our congregation, ‘Do you feel like there’s much joy and our city as a result of our being here?’ And we felt like the answer was no.
Pastor Greear’s church set out to find the needs in their community.
“And so we said, ‘We need to identify the places where our city has the most sorrow and see if we can begin to work to bring joy in those places.’
“Starting with a public school, we said, ‘You show us where families are broken, you show us where there’s a need; if it’s a broken down fence or if it’s a broken family, you show us and we’re going to try to meet that need if we can.’”
“That started this process that 10 years from now we’ve put literally thousands of people on the streets in ministries, ministering to people where they are.”
We learn valuable insight into the churches role in The Great Commission through the Invisible Man. Pastor Greear explains:
“When I was a kid I loved superheroes; Batman, Superman, etc. and used to dress up like different superheroes. But the one superhero I could never master the costume of was the Invisible Man. The best I can do is I would go into my sister’s room when she wasn’t home and mess up her stuff and tell her the Invisible Man did it.
“In the show ‘The Invisible Man,’ whenever you wanted to show the Invisible Man, you’d have to pour something on him like some kind of paint. That paint would make visible the Invisible Man.
“The church is like paint that makes visible the invisible Christ.”