On Sunday November 6th, the sermon was a fantastic challenge to our church body to engage the local community with gospel-driven, Christ saturated love and good works.  The primary texts were:

“…praising God and having favor with all the people.”

“…God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.  He went about doing good…”

“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone…”

At PBC, we have the gospel’s content right (by God’s grace!).  We understand the gospel’s scope (Jerusalem, Samaria and the uttermost parts of world) well and execute it faithfully (by God’s grace!).  But how are we doing on gospel activity in the local community in which God has placed us?  Do people see the activity of the gospel in our own neighborhood?  A hard-hitting question to ask is, “If we closed our doors tomorrow, would anyone in Plymouth even notice?  Would anyone notice that we were gone?”  Sadly, maybe not.

We need to be people powered by the Gospel who are peculiarly about doing good works for all people.  We are not talking about the social gospel either.  No one will be saved by having their lawn mowed, leaves raked or drinking from a cup of cool water we hand them at the Art in the Park festival next July.  We are talking about gospel-driven good deeds here, creating links in the chain that will bring folks to Christ in a real and lasting way, by the power of the Spirit.  So how do we engage our community with the gospel?  Pastor Rick gave us a list of things to consider when we ask the question “Where do we go from here?”

  • Focus on Plymouth.  Only five of our families live in the city our church is located in.  Reaching everyone in the neighborhoods we all live in is good.  But if we miss impacting the very city we’re located in, something is wrong.
  • Know that its costly.  Time, money, resources, convenience must all be sacrificed to love your neighbors.
  • Pray for much wisdom and Gospel mission focus
  • Repent!  Repent of our indifference to our own community.
  • Move forward.  We have failed but we are not frozen in our failure.  Get up from our faces and move forward by God’s grace.
  • Have a tortoise, not a hare mentality.  Things take a long time.  Sometimes years to affect individuals, neighborhoods, families, communities.  There are no quick-fix approaches to hard gospel work.
  • Step into what God is already doing.  Look around and identify where God is already gathering and drawing people.
  • Remove unnecessary behavior (Preferences, irritations, pet-peeves, etc).
  • Take risks, expend energy and be ready to be sacrificial.
  • Coordinate, plan and march forward united as a body.

Remember: The Church is like a movie trailer.  A trailer gives the best parts of the movie.  Does our church showcase the best of Christ and attract ‘viewers’ to want to see the rest of our Savior, in all his fullness?  Or, do people not even see a trailer from us?  Or, and this could be the worst reality, do they see our trailer and roll their eyes with complete disgust about what are saying about the one we represent?