Measuring Ministry Progress in Your Church, Part 4: Gospel Articulation

Last week when I wheeled my son in his pram, down our steep driveway, I was super careful. I wasn’t taking any chances – I had precious cargo and I would do everything in my power to concentrate and carefully bring him down the hill.

We ought to treat the gospel like precious cargo. With God’s help it must be guarded, and passed down, entirely unchanged, from one generation to the next.

“Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.” 2 Timothy 1:14

Sadly, as Philip Jensen has explained, the gospel can be all too easily lost. He explains how this often happens in a 4-generation process:

  1. The gospel is accepted.
  2. The gospel is assumed.
  3. The gospel is confused.
  4. The gospel is lost.

“The generation that assumes the gospel is the generation most responsible for the loss of the gospel”.

It’s too easy to assume the gospel – to assume that people know the gospel, to assume that when you encourage people to ‘share the gospel with your friends’ that people know what it is and can explain it to others. It’s too easy to assume that they have believed it for themselves.

The gospel is too precious and powerful to simply be assumed. This is why measuring gospel articulation is so important, and an important indicator of church health. Let me explain.

The importance of gospel articulation

Being able to articulate the gospel demonstrates 2 important things:

  1. You know the gospel. This doesn’t mean you’re saved necessarily, but it does mean that you know everything necessary in order to be saved.
  2. You are able to explain the gospel to others. Again, this is meaningless (and dangerous) if you haven’t accepted the gospel. But if people have accepted the gospel, and can also explain the gospel, they are powerfully equipped to do their role (and let the Holy Spirit do His) in bringing dead people to life.

How to measure gospel articulation

I think it would be very beneficial to meet up with members of your church, and ask them the question:

“What is the gospel?”

While there’s no ‘right answer’, there are core elements that must be included for the gospel to be the gospel. If these are missing, or if extra elements are added, you are able to care for these people, and help them to have a clear understanding of the

The benefits of measuring gospel articulation

I think having a better understanding of how many people in the church can articulate the gospel is helpful in a number of ways:

  1. It helps pastors get a better sense of who is unconverted. Not a perfect sense, but a better sense. On this topic, Mark Dever’s talk ‘False Conversions: The Suicide of the Church‘ is essential listening.
  2. It helps pastors know who might be serving in order to get God’s love (not in response to God’s love).
  3. It helps pastors avoid challenging people to live in response to the gospel, who don’t yet get the gospel.
  4. It stops pastors encouraging or enabling evangelism by unbelievers.
  5. It enables pastors to encourage people who don’t know the gospel, to explore it further.

Wise words from Spurgeon:

“Do not number your fishes before they are broiled; nor count your converts before you have tested and tried them. This process may make your work somewhat slow; but then, brethren, it will be sure. Do your work steadily and well, so that those who come after you may not have to say that it was far more trouble to them to clear the church of those who ought never to have been admitted than it was to you to admit them.”

If you’d like to equip people in your church to know and share the gospel, allow me to recommend the best book I’ve read on evangelism.

Read previous posts in this series: Part 1; Part 2; Part 3.

Read more from Steve here.

 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Steve Kryger

Steve Kryger

I don’t deserve it, but I’ve been redeemed by Jesus. I can’t begin to express how thankful I am for all God has done for me, and it’s my privilege to serve Him. I am the Executive Pastor at Church by the Bridge in Kirribilli, Australia. Prior to serving at Church by the Bridge, I worked as a marketing manager in Canberra, as well as a social media specialist.

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Recent Comments
In this era, we have the opportunity of professional church staff today who utilize their gifting to shape the image and atmosphere of the church organization. But the 100% real impact on the church visitors is genuine evidence of changed lives by the gospel and the active growing discipleship (just as it was in the first century church). One demonstration is financially rich believers ministering equally together with poor believers (how odd, and incredibly miraculous; all humble and bow at the foot of the cross.). It is the awesome contrast of church members vocations, race, gender, age, maturity, gifting, humility that demonstrates to visitors "there is a Spirit in the place". That first-time guest list of 10 are "physical excuses", not spiritual excuses. Those don't tell the story. The condition of facilities and publicly greeting people have zero to do with it. The power of God in and through believers lives dedicated to impact other people with their relationship bridge-building of acceptance of the lost around them. Empowered believers are infectious, loving, helpful, giving, self-less, dynamic, compelling, bold, Christ-filled. As I have been in many church settings domestically and internationally, the facilities can be poor, and yet the fellowship can still be rich. We need to operate with first church humility. People come to Christ on His terms, not on our human abilities of hospitality. A huge catastrophe in a community, disaster relief brings lots of people into churches – many come to the church in those terrible conditions no matter the physical condition of the local church. Off the condition of facility, and onto the condition of God's people (living stones).... and everything else will grow.... and the other physical issues will be corrected by the staff.
 
— Russ Wright
 
"While I understand the intent behind this phrase" Expound please. What do you understand to be the intent behind that phrase?
 
— Ken
 
Thank you for this article! I'm the pastor of a small church. My gifting is in teaching and we are known for aiding Christians in becoming Biblically literate. Visitor's often comment on God's presence being very real in our services. But we just don't seem to be growing. I have some soul-searching, etc. to do and this article provides some solid ground from which to proceed. Thank you again.
 
— Jonathan Schultheis
 

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