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Growing in Gospel Fluency

Gospel fluency is a term often used by Jeff Vanderstelt, pastor of Soma Communities in Tacoma, Washington, to describe a person’s ability to communicate the gospel’s relevance to any life situation.  The idea behind the term is that every topic in the Christian life is directly related to and affected by the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The gospel is our example to follow and our power to live by.

The problem is most of us don’t know the first thing about applying the gospel to everyday life.  We tend to see the gospel as the way to get to heaven, but miss out on its power for daily living.  Without even recognizing it, we view life’s circumstances as detached incidences to overcome with a little spiritual fortitude and discipline. We know these situations are related to our faith, but we struggle to tap into the gospel’s power for the daily grind.

In my experience, applying the gospel to everyday life is actually easier than we might think.  With some intentional thought and a little practice we can grow in gospel fluency and watch the Holy Spirit make the gospel’s power available to us in every life circumstance.  Here’s a simple grid to become more fluent in the gospel.

Image via wearesoma.com

Image via wearesoma.com

Becoming Fluent in the Gospel

1. Identify the topic you’re dealing with. The first step to growing in gospel fluency is to identify the topic that you’re applying the gospel to.  Maybe, for example, you struggle to give generously to the needs of others.  Perhaps there’s an area of the church in which you’ve been asked to serve, but don’t feel like it. Generosity, serving, hospitality, witnessing, gratitude, there are no shortage of topics with which to apply the gospel.

2. Think about how you see this topic reflected in Jesus’ life. No matter what topic you’re examining, you can be certain that that particular subject is portrayed in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection.  It’s simply a matter of how the topic is portrayed. This takes some deliberate thinking, but with persistence you’ll begin to see the gospel in greater fullness.  Before long you’ll see that Jesus served you, gave generously of his own life, welcomed us into the family of God and more.

3. Consider how this should affect you. Growing in gospel fluency means not only understanding what Jesus did for us, but also being moved by what Jesus has done for us to do the same for others. When we understand how Jesus served us on the cross, it will make was want to serve others.  When we understand that Jesus is in control of all things, we’ll stop worrying about everything.  When we learn that Jesus took responsibility for our sins, we can take responsibility for others.

4. Explain to others that Jesus is the reason for the way you live.  In first Peter 3, Peter tells his readers to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks for the reason for the hope that you have.”  In terms of gospel fluency, this means that we need to be ready to tell others that Jesus is the reason for the life that we live.

When a neighbor asks why we shoveled his driveway after it snowed 10 inches, we can tell him that Jesus served us on the cross and it motivated us to serve him.  When a co-worker asks why we’re so kind to an overbearing boss who doesn’t deserve it, we can inform them that God was kind to us through Jesus when we didn’t deserve it.  We grow in gospel fluency when we learn to explain to others in relevant terms that Jesus is the reason for our actions and lifestyle.

The following chart summarizes these points.  It’s not comprehensive by any means, but it highlights a few topics to get you started.

Topic How is this topic reflected in Jesus life? How should this affect me?
Serving Jesus served me by dying on the cross for my sins therefore, I can serve others.
Generosity Jesus generously provided for the forgiveness of my sins at the cost of his own life therefore, I can generously provide for the needs of others.
Hospitality God welcomed me into his family through Jesus therefore, I can welcome others into my life and home.
Witnessing Through Jesus I can know God therefore, I should live in a way that helps others know Jesus.
Worry/Anxiety Jesus is in control of all things and he has my best interest in mind therefore, I don’t have to worry about my circumstances.
Leadership Jesus led me into the presence of God by laying down is life therefore, I can lead others to the Lord by sacrificing my wants.
Love Jesus demonstrated his love for me by dying on the cross therefore, I can demonstrate my love for others in action.
Forgiveness God forgave me through Jesus therefore, I can forgive others.
Evangelism God didn’t wait for me to wander to him, he sent Jesus to the cross for me. therefore, I won’t wait for people to wander to church, I’ll take the good news to them
Gratitude Jesus rescued me from hell. therefore, I can be thankful because what I have is better than what I deserve.
Responsibility Jesus gave up his privileges to take responsibilty for my sin therefore, I can take responsibility for myself and others
Discipleship Jesus is daily involved in my life as I get to know him through the Holy Spirit therefore, I can daily spend time helping others get to know the Lord.
Patience God dealt patiently with me by directing his anger away from me toward Jesus therefore, I can be patient with others when they annoy me.

How would growing in gospel fluency help you know Jesus and make him known? You can leave a comment here.

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  1. March 19, 2014 at 2:16 PM

    This is a very good post. Thank you for it. Gospel fluency…well said.

    • March 20, 2014 at 7:03 AM

      Thank you and you’re welcome. Jeff Vanderstelt does a much better job of communicating it than I do. I’d encourage you to check out his content on YouTube by searching “Gospel Fluency” or visiting his website http://www.somatacoma.org.

      • March 20, 2014 at 7:06 AM

        I surely will. 🙂

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