Church is more than Sunday
Christianity is 365/24/7 – church is more than a Sunday – what we do and say in every area of our lives, not just when actually preaching the gospel – telling people about Jesus – is vital in terms of witnessing to the truth. So I think the ideal church should be more than just preaching the gospel – it should also be living it. Perhaps both are closer than we sometimes think. I think that is when a church can be most effective.
Put it this way – if you only preach the gospel as a church or individual, and you don’t reach out into the community or friends as a church or individual, meeting the needs of those in need, then is that showing by action as well as by word what Jesus did and taught?
Preaching the Gospel with our actions
I know that in the NT there is more specifically about preaching the word and guarding the truth of the gospel, and there is much about the fellowshipping of believers together – but not at the expense of ignoring other things around, and dealing with them in terms of the gospel practically as well as from a gospel preaching perspective – all of which is critical, but even then, given Jesus’ examples, surely part of ‘preaching’ the gospel is the witness of showing love and express love as acts of kindness (and miracles), and also meeting people’s needs both spiritually and practically. Jesus did both – for example healing the sick and teaching in the Synagogues. He often met people where they were ‘at’.
Preaching the Gospel with words
Likewise, if you only meet people’s needs either as a church or as an individual they are not necessarily going to know why you do this, what has motivated you to do it, or know that it is ultimately God whom might be drawing a person to a particular place at a particular time, to meet particular people at a particular time and so on, unless the true gospel is also clearly taught and preached.
The church is ultimately about the gospel message – the focus of which is Jesus, who is head of those people who are part of God’s global church, but the expression and witness of that can be in many forms, including, worship, fellowship, preaching, teaching, reaching out to the community, meeting individual’s needs – the church is not about ‘Bible-bashing’ the gospel message to people by way of simply preaching it from the front.
Spreading the gospel, which obviously includes preaching the gospel can actually involve many things and be outwardly expressed in many ways – preaching is one obvious one, praying for people is another, meeting their needs is another but all expressions must be underpinned and motivated out of love and by God’s love and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit.