Same Ole Gospel | Forum for Theological Exploration

Same Ole Gospel

By: John Onwuchekwa
February 16, 2016

In a community like Southwest Atlanta where there are so many needs, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with all of the demands that are present. In our community, I see the Gospel as a way to heal broken homes, issues of injustice and marginalized people.

A world with no change—with no innovation—is a boring world.

That point-blank diagnosis just might have been what some churches and pastors (myself included) needed to hear over the course of our ministry in order to embrace more change in our style of worship music, our ideas of outreach, and even in our preaching methods. But just as the hipsters and college students in our congregations are frequenting thrift stores in search of vintage, quality treasures for their new wardrobes, when planting a new church in Southwest Atlanta our pastoral team decided that what our community needed was for a change in how we communicate the importance of the Gospel.

In a community like Southwest Atlanta where there are so many needs, it is very easy to become overwhelmed with all of the demands that are present. In our community, I see the Gospel as a way to heal broken homes, issues of injustice and marginalized people.

With all the issues of race and injustice that have made the news across the country in the past year, we have seen what takes place when tragedy transpires in a context that is hopeless. We’ve seen firsthand that in spite of our best efforts, tragedies will continue to occur in contexts like Southwest Atlanta. While we want to do all that we can to rebuild the community and minimize the tragedies that occur, we recognize that the Gospel never promises us a trouble-free existence. Rather, the message of the Gospel provides us with a sufficient and enduring hope in the midst of present and pending tragedies.

In impoverished communities like ours, the proposed solutions have largely been for outsiders to insert themselves and provide that which is lacking. But the Gospel offers so much more than material provision and mercy ministry—it offers a restoration of our dignity. Scripture shows us that God initiates relationship with us and then calls us to imitate Him—to walk how He walks. But if our aim is merely to supply people’s needs and call that the “Gospel,” we end up robbing one another of the true joy that God wants to give us. True joy isn’t found in merely receiving, but in giving. Acts 20:35 – “You know the words of our Lord Jesus, that it is more blessed to give than to receive.” Transformation is the aim. Turning pickpockets into philanthropists and the underserved into servants of Christ and others.

I believe that God has given the church two primary resources to steward: the Gospel and His people. With that in mind, we focus our resources toward making sure that we faithfully and consistently instill the timeless Gospel in everyone that is a part of Cornerstone Church. Everything we do as a church is done under the premise that only the Gospel can truly change people and only through the Gospel will those people be capable of affecting a dying world.

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