Mark Your Calendars for the Church Planter’s Summit Oct 3, 9-3 @ K2 The Church
THE GOSPEL CHANGES EVERYTHING By Jared Buckley
Over the past 3 years, living in Utah County, we have learned a lot about the culture, the people, and the full totality of the gospel. Before moving to Utah, I felt like I had a good grasp on the gospel. I was very confident in my theology of the gospel. The truth was that I did have a full grasp of the gospel knowledge, but had no idea how to really utilize and apply the gospel to my life, my family, and my community.
It is amazing how you could own a sword, place it on the wall for display, tell stories about the sword, and put a custom mold to the handle of the sword, but have no idea how to use the sword in battle. I felt as though that sword was the gospel in my life. I knew all there was to know about the gospel, but actually utilize that gospel as the very power of God (Romans 1:16) that changes lives, that I did not know.
When we moved to Utah County, we reached up on the wall to pull down the sword, the gospel, to go to battle. Something that I thought we had done our whole lives, but I gradually understood that my experience with the gospel in battle was limited. At first, I was excited and went running onto the field to battle. Then I realized that I could swing my sword all around, but it wasn’t making any impact. What was wrong, what do I need to do different? I needed training in battle.
The gospel is the very power of God. It is God’s story of restoration for all of the world. The gospel must be received daily on a personal level, marriage level, family level, and community level, in that order. As Stephanie, my wife, and I allowed the gospel to transform our identity; we changed our minds, hearts, hands, and feet. We needed to fall in love with Jesus everyday and be changed by Him. We needed Jesus and His power to change.
As we saw the gospel change us personally, in marriage, and in family, we began to see it transform our community. After 2 years of living in Utah, one of our changes was our mindset from being church planters to becoming gospel-planting missionaries. The battlefield training taught us that we shouldn’t see the LDS community as a threat or the enemy, but rather souls that were crying out for help and saving. For our fight is not against flesh and blood, but against the evil forces in this world (Ephesians 6:12). We began to have deep compassion for our neighbors and community who were blinded by Satan’s lies. They were trapped and deceived, so we couldn’t attack them. We had to realize that they needed a Savior. They need a rescue from depression, expectation, inadequacy, and perfection. They needed freedom. They needed Jesus.
For the past year, we have been planting the gospel in the lives of many and waiting on God to grow the gospel (Colossians 1:6). Our mission was no longer to extricate people from the LDS church nor be the best service in town, but rather make disciples of everyone we had relationships with: Christians, Atheists, Agnostics, Mormons, and the rest in our community, no difference. For everyone needs the gospel and the gospel is what will make disciples that make disciples. Not a program, not training, not a method, but the gospel. The very essence of the gospel being that out of love, God sent His One and Only Son to die the death we should have died, and gave us the life that we don’t deserve (Tim Keller).
We realized that if we truly wanted to see Utah Valley turned upside down for the sake of the gospel, we didn’t need to add church members, but make gospel identified disciples who were sold out on Jesus and His mission. The gospel taught us that when we walk in the Spirit, with God’s power, we will make reproducing disciples by the gospel message and gospel purpose. The gospel is not only what saves us from wrath, but what saved us, what is saving us, and what will save us.
We have learned to use the sword in battle. We allowed the gospel to first change our identity, then transform our compassion, next mold our mission, and finally empower the Spirit of God that is alive in each of us to make disciple makers. We needed to apply the gospel daily and see a gospel change.
What does the gospel need to change in your life, your marriage, your family, and your community right now? Mission – gospel planting to gospel change to a gospel movement.