The past ten years have seen a massive increase in interest in all things Gospel related. We have books, conferences, articles, podcast and the list seems to go on and on about the Gospel. All of this conversation and content on the Gospel is encouraging. Yet what is often missing is how Christians can take and apply the Gospel to the ministry of the local church, and specifically small groups. Following in New Growth Press small group series on the Gospel and the Christian life, they recently released The Gospel-Centered Community (with a Leaders and Participants Guide) by Robert H. Thune and Will Walker. While this study is designed for groups I went through both the leaders and participants guide by myself. As I did this I paid attention especially to the content and the discussion that may happen. The more I did this the more it forced me to think through what the authors were saying, all of which is very good.
Here’s a fly by overview of the participants guide:
The book opens with a gospel overview where the authors explain what the Gospel is. From there in chapter one opens first with a discussion, then an article and concludes with an exercise. Each chapter has this general structure. Chapter one focuses on how we are created for community, while chapter two is on how community shapes us in the gospel, chapter three is on how the gospel shapes community and concluding section one of the book is faith working through love. Opening section two (on the fruit of Gospel-Centered Community) is lesson 5 with a joyful community, lesson six, a humble community, lesson seven an honest community, lesson eight, a grace-filled community and final lesson nine a missional community.
The authors helpful point readers to the centrality of the Gospel in and for the life of the Church. While I read this book as an individual with a view to how someone might use this as a small group leader I was impressed by how focused the content is and how it keeps Christ at the center. This fantastic new resource following in the footsteps of the series on the Christian life will help new and seasoned Christians learn how the Gospel is central for the life of the Church. Church and ministry leaders, whether you use this book as a small group resource or perhaps even as a sermon series this resource will help Christians at all stages to get on board with a Gospel-centric vision for the Church with Jesus at the Head as the Chief Shepherd and High Priest over His People. I highly recommend this resource and pray the Lord uses it to equip and strengthen His church to proclaim the glory of the Gospel to the lost and equip the saints to spread the fame of God among the nations.
Authors: Robert H. Thune and Willl Walker
Publisher: New Growth Press (2013)
I received this for free from New Growth Press book review program for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, the Host and Producer of Equipping You in Grace Podcast, and is a contributor to and producer of Contending for the Word. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021) and The Word Matters: Defending Biblical Authority Against the Spirit of the Age (G3 Press, 2022). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.