Last night Steve Timmis taught on Gospel Communities at Mars Hill Church in Seattle. After establishing a solid biblical theology of the centrality of Jesus for missional communities, Steve shared some key training points for MCs. Below are my summaries of his teaching. I have placed Steve’s direct words in quotes.
- Community is not for girls. Don’t here what Steve is not saying. Very often community is perceived as a feminine practice. Its where you get in touch with your emotions, where you go around affirming one another, touchy-feely. But this is not what is central to biblical community. True community is a response to the Jesus who is Lord. The true Jesus is neither anemic nor hypermasculine, atrophying in weakness or bulging in strength. He is the Lord who “lived our life, died our death and rose as the first fruits of the new creation” and is gathering a community of grace that is to be a foretaste of eternity. As that community of grace, we need to look to Jesus as the center of community, who lives in us and reigns over us, compelling us to be a community that speaks the truth in love, not merely swaps emotions or confessions. Community is for Jesus.
- Just because we have communities that are honest and open about their sin doesnt mean we have gospel-centered communities. We may very well have communities that mistake confessing sin for living in the gospel. Confessing our sin in community is only part of the task of living in the gospel together. We mustnt linger there but complete the process through repentance and faith in Jesus. Confession must lead to repentance and faith, not under the weight of legalistic demands but as a response to how ravishing Jesus us. We need to lead our communities into seeing the beauty and glory of Jesus and allowing that to motivate true change, true repentance, such that we say: “Oh, brothers and sisters I see how sweet and ravishing Jesus is and I want you to pray for me in ______, hold me accountable and prod me to live in the gospel not in _____.
Look for the forthcoming video and audio on this Total Church Community Training on Resurgence and Acts 29 blog.