Spreading the Gospel in Allendale
I am regularly in discussions, with those in and outside of Allendale, about what it looks like to spread the gospel (“good news”) of Jesus in Allendale. The call is clear to we are to make disciples (Matthew 28:19), but how do we go about that?
Some say that we need to talk about sin, Jesus, and heaven with every non-Christian we meet. Some would say that we just need to build relationships, and “love on” those in this community. Others say that we need to serve, and let our actions “shine before men” (5:16). Who’s right? All of them.
What Is Discipleship?
Discipleship is the intersection of gospel truth, intimate relationships, and good deeds. We need all three components. Is there a certain ratio, like 33.3% each, or 50/25/25, or something else? Yes, I think there is ratio that we need to aim for. We need a radical commitment and abandonment to the call of Jesus.
We need to go for a 100% commitment to truth, relationships, and deeds. This is how we’re trying to spread the gospel in Allendale.
Yes, we need to take opportunities to spread the gospel verbally, but this is most effective in the context of caring relationships.
Yes, we need to build deep relationships with people here, inside and outside of the church. But discipleship also involves teaching Biblical truth. As Justin Buzzard writes in Discipleship 101: How to Disciple a New Believer, “Discipleship is truth transferred through relationship.”
Yes, we need to serve others with our actions, but they are most meaningful in the context of a long-term relationship.
A Final Word about Good Deeds
Many folks, especially those from some traditional church backgrounds, will downplay the need for good deeds as a part of the gospel. They say that the verbal or written message of the gospel is Of First Importance. And they are right. It is the response to this gospel truth that determines where a soul spends eternity.
But don’t forget about the importance of our deeds of service. Consider Jesus’ words in Matthew 25:31-46. There is some level of judgment that is based on whether or not we met the physical needs of others. Our deeds must back up our words. The gospel is not just a spiritual truth. It’s also a call to make life better for other people. Christians should lead the way to improve education, health, etc, for our brothers and sisters in this world.
That is why we serve in Allendale, to spread the gospel — with our words, relationships, and deeds.