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‘Jesus-Centered Church’ is new book’s focus

NASHVILLE (BP) — A desire to see churches infused with greater Gospel awareness — from the pulpit to the parking lot — prompted Matt Chandler, Eric Geiger and Josh Patterson to coauthor “Creature of the Word: The Jesus-Centered Church,” released by B&H Publishing Group.

Chandler, lead pastor of teaching at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas, said the idea for Creature of the Word grew from questions he received from other pastors and church leaders “about how being Jesus-centered really fleshed itself out on a day-in, day-out basis in the life of a church.”

Chandler and his coauthors — Eric Geiger, vice president of the church resources division of LifeWay Christian Resources, and Josh Patterson, pastor of ministry leadership at The Village Church — set out to examine the Scripture-based aspects of a Jesus-centered church and provide practical steps toward forming a church that lives in this reality.

Chandler said the ideas conveyed in the book are “about how the Gospel should infuse everything from the parking lot to the preschool to the pulpit. It’s about how you take the Gospel and make it much more than a doctrinal statement, but see it practically worked out on a day-to-day basis in how a church is organized and how a church functions.

“Martin Luther famously described the church as being ‘a creature of the Word,'” said Geiger, explaining the title of the book. “Essentially, the church is not the one who births the Word, but she is born of the Word of God. Thus, she is a creature of the Word.”

The authors write that their intention is to foster churches that view the Gospel as not one component among many others in the life of the church, but rather the very basis of their existence which informs their theology, culture and practice.

“The Gospel isn’t something that should be compartmentalized or relegated to one aspect of the church,” Patterson said. “It’s something that infuses to become a living, breathing part of the culture of the church.”

In a live simulcast Tuesday, Oct. 23, Chandler, Geiger and Patterson will discuss Creature of the Word. During the 8-11 a.m. (CDT) session produced by LifeWay, viewers will have opportunity to interact with the authors via Twitter and through a chatroom. LifeWay will rebroadcast the program from 1-4 p.m. and 6-9 p.m. (CST).

“Some of us have wrestled with this idea that if we return to a stronger Gospel emphasis in our teaching, how should it impact the matters of our church?” Geiger said. “This simulcast isn’t just for senior pastors — whether you’re a teaching pastor or a preschool minister, this will be an opportunity to really discuss and think about the theological and philosophical culture of the local church.”

For information about registering for the Oct. 23 simulcast, visit www.LifeWay.com/CreatureoftheWord.
Russ Rankin is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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  • Russ Rankin