In “The Gospel-Driven Church,” Jared Wilson, Author in Residence, Midwestern Seminary and Associate Professor of Pastoral Ministry, Spurgeon College, Kansas City, MO, challenges churches to measure more than “bodies and budgets” because there is nothing uniquely Christian about these types of increases. He says businesses grow in these ways. Heretical ministries grow in these ways. I think he makes a valid point.
Many of the pastors in my association are appreciating this emphasis of getting back to the basics of the Christian life. A pastor of one of our larger churches said our study of Jared’s book in our Pastor Cohorts has been very timely for him and for his church as they revision their future. One pastor is going through the book during staff meetings. Another pastor is leading a study of a chapter a week during his church’s Sunday night services. A third pastor has adopted as the theme for the church this year, “Together for the Gospel.”
So what are Jonathan Edwards’ metrics? I am happy to report that during the SBCAL 2021 Annual Conference in Nashville June 13-14, AMSs will be able to study these metrics and hear from Jared Wilson himself. He is a keynote speaker as well as a workshop leader. The theme of this year’s Annual Conference is “The Gospel-Driven Association.” Below are the Five Metrics and who will be leading a workshop on that metric (the first two are combined into one workshop). I believe these can be helpful for us as AMSs to lead our pastors and churches to be more Gospel-centered and Gospel-driven – which means our association will be that way, as well. If you have not read Jared’s book, I encourage you to do so. You may not agree with every jot and tittle, but it will get a good discussion going about what it means to be Gospel-driven.
A Growing Esteem for Jesus Christ and a Discernible Spirit of Repentance – David Franklin, AMS, Bartow Association, Cartersville, GA. What is the reputation of Jesus in the churches of your association? Are your churches focused on the glory of Christ above all? Are people responding to the Spirit’s conviction and comfort with repentance? Is there an air of humility or an air of swagger?
An Interest in Theology and Doctrine – Jared Wilson, Author, “The Gospel-Driven Church,” Midwestern Seminary, Kansas City, MO. One sign of a church captivated by the gospel is a renewed interest in theology and doctrine. But too often this interest is reserved for pastors, scholars, or other leaders. How can we demystify "theology” and help the whole church know loving God with all of their minds is not just an obligation but a glorious and enjoyable privilege?
A Dogged Devotion to the Word of God – Mark Clifton, NAMB Lead Strategist, Church RePlanting, Kansas City, MO. A mark of a fruitful church is a love for God’s Word and a belief in its sufficiency, power, and authoritativeness – a high esteem of the Scriptures. We must remember the supernatural reality that the Bible carries a supernatural weight with lost people they don’t often expect it to!
An Evident Love for God and Neighbor – Tim Pruit, AMS, Gila Valley Association/Pastor, Pinal County Cowboy Church, Casa Grande, AZ. How can an AMS lead leaders and churches to love God and neighbor in both word and deed? How can you blaze a path that leads His church to leave the building? How can you prioritize living on mission in your ministry context? Find out from a practitioner.
Your brother in Christ,
Quotable Quote: The missionary William Carey once said: “What is there in the whole earth worth living for but the glory of God and the salvation of souls?” And he added: “I’m not afraid of failure. I’m afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.” Quoted by George Schroeder, Baptist Press, 3.16.21, FIRST-PERSON: Pondering the lessons from a pandemic