by Jared Musgrove
If preaching matters so much, what are we to do with the sermon in our communities? For far too long we’ve placed preaching and community in separate silos. But clear, biblical proclamation must always be connected to gospel-centered community.
Believer, the best you have to offer the people in your daily sphere is your own passionate pursuit of God. Biblical preaching serves the role of God speaking to His people, and you are called to be faithful to that planted Word, nourishing it so that it may grow to its fullest expression and application in community.
So the first heart that the preached Word must affect in your gospel-centered community is yours.
May I recommend you focus your Monday morning devotion on reviewing and rehearsing the preached Word you heard over the weekend? Take notes during the sermon and devote Monday’s waking hours to the call God gave through His preacher. What was the Holy Spirit directing you to do out of the text? What spurred you on in holiness? What convicted you? What direction and conviction was given for you to encourage, confess, repent, reconcile or reach out? Be faithful to follow up on these God-given directions, and share them with your community.
The outgrowth of your obedience to God’s Word spreads directly into your gospel-centered community. Those with whom you walk are always affected by your decision for or against obedience to Scripture.
John Wesley recognized that the need for church members to share their lives and convictions was not met in the large weekend service. So he purposed “band meetings,” smaller groups of believers from within the church, to encourage one another for holy living. He saw these groups as an outgrowth of Sunday’s sermon, building into them an emphasis on application of the preached Word as members regularly shared their spiritual condition, confessed sin and hardship, and prayed together.
As churches preach through the books of the Bible, there is a wonderful opportunity for us to be confronted with the same Word of God both as individuals and as a community. We can create a culture of unity and authenticity as we lead our groups to devote their shared study time to the books and passages preached on the weekends. The complementary resources provided are based in the Scriptures and are a direct outgrowth of your commitment to holistically equip saints to do the work of ministry. None of us are interested in developing connoisseurs of sermons, but in making disciples passionate about acting upon God’s call upon us.
This is the place of the preached Word in your community. Spiritual vision is cast from the pulpit and carried out in your small group. A gospel-centered community is the ideal opportunity for applying God’s Word in caring deeply for one another and ministering in the trenches.
In this, we have the opportunity not only for increased gospel-centered community but also for gospel-centered multiplication. Preaching and community are not the end goals. Making a disciple is. Even as preaching is to drive and direct small groups, the truly gospel-centered community knows the message doesn’t stop with the group. Together, we constantly consider ways the Word of God may multiply out into the souls with whom we share a wider sphere.
Dr. Jared Steven Musgrove serves as Groups Pastor and an elder at The Village Church in Flower Mound, Texas. He earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from The University of Oklahoma, a Master of Divinity in preaching from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and a Doctorate of Ministry from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the husband of Jenny and the father of Jordan and Joshua. You can follow him on Twitter at @jsmusgrove.