Equipping Gospel Pacesetters
- Dick Kaufmann
- Mar 6, 2012
- Series: Connect
Equipping Gospel Pace-Setters
By Dick Kaufmann
What is a Gospel Pace-Setter?
A gospel pacesetter is a Christian who is committed to living in on-going grace renewal, which involves three things:
- Preaching the gospel to yourself
- Loving your neighbor
- Praying it forward
Why equip Gospel Pace-Setters?
It is the key to transforming our city. Developing leaders is necessary in order to maintain and grow a church. But it takes Gospel Pace-Setters to transform a city.
- The early church reached a “tipping point” through Gospel Pace-Setters.
Acts 8:1, 4 – “On that day a great persecution broke out against the church at Jerusalem, and all except the apostles were scattered… Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went.”
- One historian puts it this way: “The primary change agents in the spread of faith…were the men and women who earned their livelihood in some purely secular manner, and spoke of their faith to those whom they met in this natural fashion.”
- My experience in my own life and with the Uptown Launch Team.
The early church turned the Roman Empire upside down by filling it with gospel pacesetters! Harbor’s purpose is to do the same in the San Diego-Tijuana region. What is a gospel pacesetter? A gospel pacesetter is committed to living in on going grace renewal. This involves three things: 1) preaching the gospel to yourself, 2) loving your neighbor, and 3) praying it forward.
1. Preaching The Gospel To Yourself
After receiving the Spirit at Pentecost, the early church “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching” (Acts 2:42). In other words, they devoted themselves to the gospel. They devoured the gospel. They couldn’t get enough of it. They met together to learn how the gospel applied to their everyday life circumstances. They were learning to preach the gospel to themselves and others.
Application Exercise: A.C.T.S.
As you begin to learn to preach the gospel to yourself, it will be helpful to use the acrostic A.C.T.S. as a grid for making gospel application to various circumstances that arise in your life. This is not the only way to preach the gospel to yourself, but it is a helpful guide to start you down the path of learning to preach the gospel to yourself. Read one or more Psalms (or any other portion of God’s Word) and identify one or two verses or a small portion of special interest. Then meditate on it by asking the following questions:
Adoration: Lord, what are you showing me here, for which I can praise you?
Confession: What do you require of me? How have I fallen short? What wrong behavior, harmful emotions, and false attitudes result in me when I forget that you are like this or have done this?
Thanksgiving: Father, how is Jesus the ultimate answer to this sin of mine and/or to my longings? What can I thank Jesus for?
Supplication: Lord, what do you want me to ask you to do in and through me?
My family and friends? My church? San Diego-Tijuana? The world?
After going through the questions and jotting down some answers, pray the result of your meditations to God.
2. Loving Your Neighbor
As the early Christians soaked in the gospel, they began to love their neighbors. They “devoted themselves…to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread…” (Acts 2:42). This means that they devoted themselves to friendship with one another. They began to eat meals together. And they invited their neighbors to these meals. As a result, they “enjoyed the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved” (2:47). They began to care deeply about those both on the inside and the outside of the fellowship.
Throughout the New Testament, we see that the gospel spreads most effectively through webs of relationships: our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers who do not yet know Jesus.
One historian has said: “The primary change agents in the spread of faith…were the men and women who earned their livelihood in some purely secular manner, and spoke of their faith to those whom they met in this natural fashion.”
Even today the gospel keeps spreading and the church keeps growing through these webs of relationships. The Institute of American Church Growth asked over 14,000 people: “What or who was responsible for you coming to Christ and your church?” Almost 90% responded: “A friend or relative.”
Application Exercise: Take a 3x5 card and list 3-5 names of your “neighbors”, that is, people in your web of relationships who are not-yet Christians. Begin to think of ways that you can love them, in both word and deed. Share with people in your triad/group.
3. Praying it forward
When you begin preaching the gospel to yourself, it will naturally cause you to love your neighbor, and as you attempt this task, you will quickly realize how inadequate you are to accomplish it, thus you will be driven to prayer. This is why the early church “devoted themselves to prayer” (Acts 2:42). Prayer fuels on-going gospel renewal, giving you insight into how to preach the gospel to yourself, opening doors to love your neighbor, and empowering you with God’s grace to do it even when it is difficult.
How do we pray for people we know who are not yet Christians? The Apostle Paul gives us a good starting point: “Pray…that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ…” (Col.4:3). Here’s the challenge: Each day pray: “Lord give me today at least one open door to share your love in word and deed.” God is eager to answer this prayer. So, look for the doors he opens. Enter the door with confidence. At the end of the day, give him thanks for the door(s) he opened and pray for the people.
Now pray together in your triad/group for open doors with the people on your list.
Pray regularly with your spouse, family and community group for your neighbors.