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Four Questions to Develop Fluency in the Gospel

Jack Skett explains Gospel Fluency and encourages us to live our lives as Jesus did, understanding our relationship with the Father.

When someone is feeling called to go to another nation as a missionary, there is a lot of preparation to be done. Funds need to be raised, immunisations need to be booked in, prayer support needs to be put in place. Alongside these and many other practical preparations, it’s vital for any prospective missionary to learn about the culture of the nation they are going to, and to begin to learn the native language.

The process of learning a new language can be challenging. Memorising vocabulary and key phrases can be helpful, but won’t enable you to hold a flowing conversation with a native speaker. Immersing yourself in a culture that speaks the language you’re trying to learn is one of the best ways to become fluent yourself.

The same principle applies to the Gospel. It’s possible to learn about the Gospel - to memorise verses of scripture or learn methods of sharing the Gospel message - which will get you some way towards being able to communicate the good news. Being immersed in a culture centred on the Gospel will develop Gospel fluency - speaking and applying the truths of the Gospel to every area of your life.

The Gospel is more than just a message that we preach; it’s a way of life. As disciples of Christ, we are lifelong learners of the Way of Jesus. A disciple is focused on living their life the way Jesus did. In the same way a missionary moving to another nation doesn’t impose a British way of life upon that nation but seeks to adapt their lifestyle to fit with the native customs, a disciple of Jesus understands that the Gospel is all-encompassing and affects every area of their life. Becoming fluent in the Gospel means learning to see every area of life in light of what Jesus has done for us. It means surrendering every area of your life to the Lordship of Jesus and seeking to honour Him in everything, from the more obviously ‘spiritual’ practices through to the mundane routines of life. As Jeff Vanderstelt says,

“Gospel fluency is developed by being immersed into a Jesus-saturated community. A Jesus-saturated community knows and speaks the gospel every day into everything, so that all parts of our lives grow up into Christ and are eventually fully transformed by and submitted to Jesus Christ, who is everything for us.” 1

Developing fluency in the Gospel will not only bring about personal growth in discipleship, but it will also enable us to be more effective on mission. Being saturated by the Gospel, we will confidently speak forth the truth of the Gospel in any given situation. Witnessing to the risen Jesus is then not about learning a formula or method for presenting the Gospel, but an overflow of a Gospel-saturated life that naturally interprets the ordinary stuff of life through the lens of the Gospel.

We are Good News people. We face the same situations as others face, but our response is different because it is shaped by the Gospel. Key to Gospel fluency is the application of the truth to any situation. It’s so easy to lose sight of what is true, especially in situations of hardship or struggle, and seeds of unbelief begin to take root. Here are four questions we can use to help us to apply Biblical truth to the situations we face so that we become more fluent in the Gospel.

What is God like?

Unbelief says God is distant, uncaring, uninterested. The Gospel says God is our Father who loves us. He is love and He wants relationship with us. He is kind. He is sacrificial. He is gracious and merciful.

What does God do?

Unbelief says God judges us, condemns us, punishes us. The Gospel says God invites us to draw near to Him. He intercedes for us. He rejoices over us with singing. He forgives our sins. He hears and answers our prayers. He sustains, strengthens and renews us. He lavishes His grace upon us.

What is now true about me?

Unbelief says I am unworthy, stained by sin, not good enough. The Gospel says I am welcome in His presence. I am totally accepted. I am a child of God. I am God’s treasured possession. I am part of a family. I am important to God.

How do I get to live?

In light of all this, I get to be with God. I get to be free. I get to be a partner with God. The pressure’s off. I get to be loved. I get to rest in God. I get to be joyful.

Every Christian is called to lifelong mission, whether that is overseas or in the UK. We are all included within the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. Do you feel well equipped for disciple-making? A positive step in the right direction would be to surround yourself with people whose lives are saturated with the Gospel. Being immersed in a community of people who are fluent in the Gospel will enable you to develop that same Gospel fluency in your own life. Like a missionary learning the native language of the place to which they are called, you will learn to speak forth the truths of the Gospel in every situation you face, in a way that is authentically you.

1 Jeff Vanderstelt, Gospel Fluency, 45.

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