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January 4, 2018

Gospel Saturated Culture

By Daniel Im

*Plus Members can listen to this entire Behind-The-Scenes interview by logging in and clicking here.

How the Gospel Shapes the Culture of the Church

Before taking on his position as Managing Editor of one of LifeWay’s biggest brands, The Gospel Project, Brian Dembowczyk served in church ministry full-time for 17 years. Having worked in kids ministry, student ministry, and as lead pastor, Brian is well-rounded in all areas of church ministry. But something he grudgingly discovered was a lack of gospel-saturation in the church. Brian shared how many churches use the gospel as a gateway to get people into the church, and once they trust God, they leave it at that. Yet when you study Scripture, you see that this understanding and treatment of the gospel is widely misled. The gospel should saturate everything you do.

Belief, Identity, Practice

In order to recognize how the gospel shapes the culture of the church, it’s vital to define culture. Brian described it as “The triad of belief, identity, and practice.” That begs the question—if the gospel is not at the center of who we are, and if our lives are not filtered through it, what kind of culture are we creating in our churches? What is our relationship, as ministry workers, with the gospel? What is our congregation’s relationship with the gospel?

Most of us have no problem with believing in the gospel—that’s the part we have down, Brian says. But the where part we fall short is seeing how the gospel should frame who we are, our identity, and our affections, all of which should drive how we live.

Brian said, “If we take out how the gospel transforms our identity, affections, and what we value, we fall into moralism and legalism.” To counter this, the gospel must saturate into, not only our belief, but also, our identity, and practice.

The gospel must always be at the forefront of a leader’s mind. It cannot be assumed that your people have a solid framework of the gospel; you must show them through your life, teach them from the pulpit, and build everything on it, through it, and from it. J.D. Greear once said, “The gospel is not just the diving board off of which we jump into the pool of Christianity; the gospel is the pool, itself.”

To read the remainder of this article and to listen to the entire Behind-The-Scenes segment with Brian Dembowczyk, click here for the full post.

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  • “If we take out how the gospel transforms our identity, affections, and what we value, we fall into moralism and legalism.”- @BrianDembo
  • “As leaders, teachers, and preachers, it starts with us. Are we preaching the gospel faithfully?”- @BrianDembo
  • “Width will rarely lead to depth, but depth will often lead to width.”- @BrianDembo
  • “In a hurting culture and world, people desperately need to experience the transforming power of the gospel that reconciles us, not only to Christ but also to one another, transcending the divisions we experience in culture.”- @BrianDembo 


Daniel Im

Daniel Im (@danielsangi) is the Director of Church Multiplication for NewChurches.com at LifeWay Christian Resources. He is a Teaching Pastor at The Fellowship, a multisite church in Nashville. He is the author of No Silver Bullets: Five Small Shifts that will Transform Your Ministry, and co-author of Planting Missional Churches: Your Guide to Starting Churches that Multiply (2nd ed) with Ed Stetzer. He also co-hosts the New Churches Q&A Podcast, the 5 Leadership Questions Podcast, and a brand new podcast with his wife on marriage and parenting called the IMbetween Podcast. He has an M.A. in Global Leadership and has served and pastored in church plants and multisite churches ranging from 100 people to 50,000 people in Vancouver, Ottawa, Montreal, Korea, Edmonton, and Nashville. Visit Danielim.com to learn more.


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