NASHVILLE (BP) — Having exhorted messengers to place the “Gospel Above All” at the Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting, SBC President J.D. Greear is aiming to mobilize Christians to take Gospel action in their homes, churches and communities.
Through the aptly named “Gospel Above All,” Greear leads an eight-session Bible study that includes videos featuring conversations with such Christian leaders as David Platt, Jen Wilkin, Walter Strickland, Vance Pitman, Rosaria Butterfield, Kevin Smith, Greg Laurie and R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Greear, pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C., said the study is timely, not because Gospel Above All was the theme of June’s SBC annual meeting in Birmingham, Ala., but “because there are a lot of other things — good things, but secondary things — that compete with the one essential thing, which is the Gospel.”
“It’s the source and strength of our power. It’s what occupies our bandwidth. And when you peel back the layers, it’s what moves us and keeps us going,” Greear said.
The sessions, filmed in Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Washington, D.C., cover the following topics:
— Gospel Above All (introduction): What does it mean to identify as a Gospel people, making the Gospel central to everything we do?
— Gospel Change: Why are we tempted to enact change through our flesh, rather than let the power of the Gospel work through us to achieve real transformation?
— Gospel Multiplied: How does the Gospel empower us to make disciples who make other disciples?
— Gospel Mission: Why should believing and living the Gospel compel us to share the Gospel?
— Gospel Grace: How do we balance truth and grace in carrying out the work of the Gospel?
— Gospel Community: Are we willing to set aside preferences in order to reach our neighbors with the Gospel?
— Gospel Unity: Does the way we approach secondary issues hinder the advance of the Gospel?
— Gospel Victory: How will we look forward and take Gospel-focused action?
Greear hopes the messages in the study, released by LifeWay Christian Resources, will reach a self-reliant culture that has heavily infiltrated the church.
“We tend to want to perfect in the flesh,” he said. “The flesh is easier for us to turn to. And in some ways, it feels more reliable to us. But the Gospel requires us to admit our incompetence and forces us to walk in humility.”
Another purpose of Gospel Above All, Greear said, is to keep the church looking ahead, knowing that the Gospel is timeless as God works just as powerfully today as He did yesterday.
“We have to ask: ‘How is the Gospel going to change this generation?’ he said. “How is the Gospel going to answer the unique questions our community will ask? If the Gospel doesn’t re-express itself in every generation, it becomes nostalgia.”
It’s important to look at the great movements of the Gospel that came before this generation — not to stay in the past, but to inspire and to demonstrate what the Holy Spirit can do and how He can work, Greear said.
“I hope Gospel Above All will lead to a sober self-reflection on whether or not anything has displaced the Gospel as being of first importance in people’s hearts,” he said.
“I also hope it leads to an analysis of our witness. I want individuals to ask, ‘What am I known for?’ and I want church leaders to ask, ‘What is my church known for?'”