Missional Leadership: Gospel Fluency responses

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Missional Leadership: Gospel Fluency responses

Post by Admin on Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:50 pm

In at least 250 words, summarize your understanding of the reading and a few points you are ready to apply.

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Gospel Fluency Report/Reflection Paper

Post by Kenji on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:42 am

Part 1 of the book dealt with Vanderstlet’s definition and explanation of Gospel Fluency. The idea fundamentally comes from his view of the Christian’s attempt and failure to live out a gospel-centered life because he/she does not know the gospel, or he/she is not trained to be able to “speak it” fluently, even if they knew it. The comparison that he shows between learning a language and living out the gospel was very relatable to me since I was forced to learn a new language in high school. His main point is that Jesus needs to be the center and we need to be “immersed” in His gospel in order to be able to “speak it fluently.”

Part 2 of the book deals with actual gospel and its presentation. The author takes us through the different stages of the story of God: creation, fall, redemption, and new creation. He expounds on these ideas later in the book, but his main concern here is that the Christian does not even know why the gospel is a good news for him/her. He also stresses the importance of knowing what we are saved from, which is mainly the power of sin and not just hell. He then finishes the section of the book with saying that the key to receiving such good news is faith. Our main problem is the unbelief of how good the gospel is.

Part 3 has to do with the application of the gospel in our individual lives. One of the points that Vanderstelt often drives home throughout the book is the fact that the gospel is applicable to each Christian’s life and it is not a vague or big idea that people understand only collectively. God is a personal God and He wants us to know His truths and how they affect our individual lives. The main concept in this section is the idea of “fruit to root.” Christians often mistake sanctification as fixing the external problems(the fruit) in our lives so that we would change internally(root). The answer to sanctification comes from faith in God to transform our tree/root so that through our identity the fruits of our faith would be produced.

Part 4 shows the exposition of part 3’s ideas in the setting of a Christian community. The author explains how to speak the gospel in different circumstances using real life examples. He goes through examples of how eating meals together can have a great impact, and also how to bring the “hero” of the story back to its center. Speaking the gospel fluently is about bringing Jesus back to our conversations and actions. Christians keep putting Jesus as the side character and ourselves as the main character.

Part 5 ends the book with a few presentations of what Vanderstlet thinks are important techniques in being able to speak the gospel fluently, especially to the unbeliever. Some of the things he talks about include: listening well, showing people how to live out the gospel, the importance of telling people and recognizing Jesus, and how important love and wisdom are for successfully show people the gospel.

I personally loved the reminder of the gospel itself and the power that rests in it. The gospel has the power to transform me, and through my transformation, it is also able to save and transform others. It is refreshing to have that reminder especially because I have a tendency to carry a lot of my ministerial burdens on my shoulder. I cannot save but Jesus can!
I also loved the reminder of the power that rests in listening and listening to people well. Listening well is such an easy thing to forget and we often devalue it, but has given me some of the most fruitful results in my discipleship. I was challenged with involving God and the Holy Spirit more during these times of listening and not just to rely on my own thoughts and understanding.

Lastly, I personally thought some of the ideas given in chapter 11 were not as powerful as others and seemed rather cheesy or forced. Applying the gospel is difficult so I would love to talk about different ideas on how to do that in our class.

Kenji
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Okay..so...

Post by Kenji on Mon Sep 04, 2017 4:45 am

First of all, I accidentally posted a "new topic" instead of replying to a post.
Second of all, I think I missed the 250-word part. But maybe other people can expound on what I wrote instead of everyone giving a summary of the book, which is essentially what I did. I don't know what exactly you want for these Derek.haha

Kenji
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Reflection/Response/Application of Gospel Fluency

Post by Spencer Kelly on Thu Sep 07, 2017 10:45 pm

In Gospel Fluency, Jeff Vanderstelt lays out a vision for sharing the gospel in everything we do. He does not view evangelism as an activity but rather a disposition. In the book, he first starts with the “why” in chapters one through three, then moves to the “what” in chapters four through six, then the rest of the book is devoted to the “how” of living a gospel sharing life.
I really liked the book overall. I think it’s very important for us as Christians to see the world through Gospel glasses. I thought his example of responding to people’s complaints about work and such with Gospel answers was insightful. One of my favorite chapters was the one about “fruit to roots.” It was awesome to see the connection between confession of sin and confession of faith. That is a great example that I could see myself using in one-to-one discipleship settings.
One thing that I didn’t really connect with was how intense he was with certain situations. I fully realize that it is probably that I am deficient in my gospel fluency or something, but some of his examples came off as “Jesus juking” rather than natural gospel presentation. I know this is probably just lost between his intention and my reading, because at the end he notes that we should use this stuff as a tool and not a club to beat people with.
As I said before, I see myself using the confession scheme in one-to-one settings. I also think I will try the “gospel metaphors” thing in my small group. That seemed like a really natural way to work a practical service element into small groups.
Overall, I really liked the book and would definitely recommend it to people I may be discipling, other staff members, and even church leaders I meet.

Spencer Kelly
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Gospel Fluency Reflection and Application

Post by Kelly on Fri Sep 08, 2017 7:47 pm

Gospel Fluency does a great job of explaining what the Gospel is and the importance that all Christians are able to understand and present it well. I think the beginning part of this book is a good read for anyone new in their faith or who is just learning what the Gospel is. I found the last half of the book more applicable to my role as a Resource Team Leader.

One thing that stood out to me was when he talks about sharing your testimony or story with others. He stresses Jesus needs to be the hero of our story, and that he should also be our primary focus. I think this really made me reevaluate how I told my story and what parts I was focusing on. I was able to apply this pretty directly to a time of history giving in the past week and was able to restructure what I said in a way that showed what Jesus has saved me from, what He is saving me from now, and what He will do in me in the future. I think this is something I would share with leaders and believers, especially in Chi Alpha before we give our history giving to our core groups.

Another area this book really challenged me in was how I am applying the Gospel to everyday situations. From reading this book, I think I have better questions to ask when someone is presenting a relational issue and feel challenged to step up in the way I respond to emotionally charged situations. It is so easy to respond similarly to the way his friends did when the woman was sharing about her husband, but what we are called to do is bring the elements of the Gospel into our lives. I loved the "creation, fall, redemption, new creation" strategy, as it is easy to apply and allows us to see the deeper issues behind a problem and truly present the Good News of what Jesus has done.

Overall, this book has challenged the way I talk and disciple my girls this year. I desire to make Jesus a more natural part of my conversations and think this book made that seem less intimidating to do so.

Kelly
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Gospel Fluency Reflection

Post by Matt Ostermeyer on Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:34 pm

“Gospel Fluency” by Jeff Vanderstelt is arguably my favorite read of all time (not including the Bible of course). I fell in love with this book because I believe it points us to everything that we forget all of the time. I felt extraordinarily humbled when reading this book, and further opened to how much God loves me through His Son Jesus. I think that we live in a culture where we constantly desire to measure up and feel as though we have achieved a certain level of understanding, and wisdom, etc. We live like this as if there is a finish line to obtain in our lives. But I have seen that when we build on this improper foundation our lives get hard.
I believe that the lessons in this book are lessons that we must all remember. The practicality of guiding people to the truth about Jesus Christ and the true character of Christ in light of the lies they have grabbed onto from the enemy is beautiful. Jeff’s words are simple but powerful and true. I am thankful that he points out so many dire needs in this book! The need to understand and admit our unbelief, the joy of being sanctified, the need of showing us how to guide others to freedom, the need of speaking the truths about God into other’s lives, the need to apply the truths about God to our everyday situation, the skills of sharing our story as if were Jesus’. I am just recounting of course what is in the book. However, every teaching point in this book is something that we just lose sight of everyday. The gospel is so amazing! It brings so much freedom.
Since opening the pages of this book God has brought me so much freedom in many areas of my life. I feel more equipped than ever to share the good news and speak truth into other’s lives. I have already noticed distinct changes in the council I have been giving others as it is more rooted in the story of Jesus and what he has done for us. I don’t say this to boast in myself but to rejoice in the amazing revelation that Jesus placed in Jeff Vanderstelt’s heart. I have also realized that since reading this book I have been hungrier for growth, more ready to admit my sin, more joyful then I can remember, and so ready to ask questions that I have. But it isn’t the book itself but Jesus through the author. I praise God for the wisdom that he has brought me through this book. I pray that everyone will read this book. Jesus is awesome!

Matt Ostermeyer
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Gospel Fluency Response

Post by Lindsay Leeson on Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:18 am

This book helped me to understand that in order to preach the gospel well to others, we need to be “gospel fluent”. It is similar with any other topic; in order to preach it well, you must know it yourself! Yet, many people “know” the gospel, but are not gospel fluent. Just because you know the good news of what Jesus has done for you doesn’t mean you always believe it. I like that the beginning chapter explains that we are all unbelievers. Even when we believe and put our faith in Jesus, our actions and how we react to life can show where we are not believing the gospel, but instead believing a lie about ourselves and about Jesus. This helps us see how “un-fluent” we are in the gospel and how we try to fix our problems with something other than the gospel! Yet, the gospel is the greatest solution we can bring to any thought or problem we face.

One of my biggest takeaways from this book was learning how to preach the gospel to myself. I feel like I say I know the gospel, yet forget or fail to believe it all the time. This book helped me this summer during support raising. I was in Chicago without a Christian community that would remind me of the truth of the gospel. It’s vital during support raising to be filled with gospel truth in order to go out and share with others the impact of what you will be doing as a missionary and ask them to come on board and support you. There were many times I woke up in the morning not believing the truths of the gospel about myself and about what Jesus has done for me. This book helped me to learn how to preach the gospel to myself when I didn’t have a Christian community around me to do that. I liked that the chapter called “The War of the Mind” explained how to break down those lies that come to our mind about God and about ourselves. It starts with capturing (acknowledging) those thoughts, bringing those thoughts into submission (allowing the Spirit to see if the thought lines up with the truth of the gospel), considering what fruit comes from this thought (is this thought bringing glory to God?), and then fighting the lie with the truth of the gospel. I believe this can be applied to any thought we have and we must make this a habit of life until the gospel constantly fills our mind. Soon, when the devil attacks our thoughts, our natural reaction will be to apply the gospel, realize that the lie from Satan is not true, and believe the gospel.

I also liked that the book explained that the gospel really can pertain to any situation, with believers and non-believers alike. It’s helped me to look at my conversations with my Christian friends differently. When a problem arises, it’s important to see where our brothers and sisters aren’t believing the gospel and preach the gospel to them! For example, in a 2-on-1, one of my girls was explaining the strain in her relationship with her father and how he has failed her throughout life. This book helped me to use the chapter “He’s the Better…” to share the gospel truth that Jesus is the better father. She has been hurt by his lack of attention he has given to her throughout the years and is looking to Him to be a perfect father. What I learned from Vanderstelt’s example is that she should instead be looking to her perfect heavenly Father for that perfect love and affection that she needs. She should love and respect her earthly father but when he fails, she will understand that because of our broken world, she shouldn’t expect him to give her the love only her perfect Father can give her. It can be difficult to preach this to people sometimes. Depending on how far people are in the faith, it’s important to be careful in your speech. Even that being said, I do believe the best response to any situation is applying the gospel. I liked that Vanderstelt explained the importance of spending much time listening to unbelievers before preaching the gospel to them because the gospel is very foreign to them and countercultural. There needs to be a relationship first and slowly the gospel can emulate through your life and hopefully one day they will come to believe it too!

Lindsay Leeson
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Re: Missional Leadership: Gospel Fluency responses

Post by Dane Miles on Wed Sep 13, 2017 4:20 pm

Vanderstelt’s book was perhaps the most personally influential reading material I have experienced in the past year. Ultimately, the book centers on the necessity of pouring the Gospel into our conversations, our home lives, and everything in between. While this concept is not entirely novel, the examples and anecdotes provided by Vanderstelt pulled me into what a practical living of the Gospel could and should look like.

One area that I have been applying both to my life and my mentoring of core group leaders is the concept that everyone is an unbeliever. As someone who was raised in church my entire life, but also struggles to remain certain of various truths, I found the concept to be honest and fresh. So often, it seems, I am confronted by those who claim to believe God in everything since they are Christians, yet they live in ways that reveal unbelief in the grace and strength of a risen Savior. This concept is what centers the book’s toolkit of giving them Jesus, in that it requires us to truly discern and uncover unbelief that we might supplant it with the gospel.

One of my favorite quotes from the book comes from page 66, where Vanderstelt writes, “the gospel is the power of God for salvation for our entire lives.” So often I have mistook the Good News as something which must be waited for in eternity, which shortchanges Jesus saving work. Vanderstelt stops us from making a critical error of strategy. In the following chapter, he posits that faith in Christ will not come from pointing out the failings of others, or even ourselves. Instead, we must show people Christ resurrected in our lives, that they might instead be invaded by Gospel truths and find salvation outside of anything they can ever do or achieve.

I’ll end with what have been the two most usable concepts in the book. Fruit to root codified a strategy for discipleship that I had so long felt I had used in pieces, yet made it simple and easy to understand (with a flowchart!). I keep the concept at hand during every two-on-one, meeting, or chat I have with a student, as well as when I audit my own thoughts. The final concept is that we must preach the Gospel to the situations of others. Simply rattling off our memorized Romans 12:1-3 will not work in all cases. In fact, it might even reinforce the belief that God is not speaking, and has nothing to offer us in the here and now. Rather, we must be so permeated by the Gospel that the situations of others are viewed through Gospel-tinted glasses that we might be able to offer them the healing that only comes through Jesus.

Dane Miles
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