When Jesus gave his disciples the Great Commission, he revealed that the key for reaching the world with the gospel is found in sending, not gathering. Though many churches focus time and energy on attracting people and counting numbers, the real mission of the church isn’t how many people you can gather. It’s about training up disciples and then sending them out. The true measure of success for a church should be its sending capacity, not its seating capacity.
But there is a cost to this. To see ministry multiply, we must release the seeds God has placed in our hands. And to do that, we must ask ourselves whether we are concerned more with building our kingdom or God’s.
In Gaining By Losing, J.D. Greear unpacks ten plumb lines that you can use to reorient your church’s priorities around God’s mission to reach a lost world. The good news is that you don’t need to choose between gathering or sending. Effective churches can, and must, do both.
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About the Author
Table of ContentsIntroduction
Chapter 1: The Spirit and the Gospel
What is a sending church? It’s a church that has more than good doctrine or great vision---it’s a church that combines the gospel with the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. We look at John 14:12 and how the Spirit and Gospel make a sending church.
Chapter 2: The Air War and the Ground War
There are churches that have good doctrine. They preach the gospel. They hold fast to the truth. But they are largely ineffective in penetrating the surrounding culture. There are also churches that do a great job of attracting lost people, but they may not teach or disciple them in the truth. How can a church be both faithful and effective? We’ll look at the Incarnational and Attractional models for ministry.
Chapter 3: The Gospel Core
We cannot divorce the call to change from the message of the gospel. All lasting transformation is rooted in a heart change, a work of God’s Spirit. If we do not focus on the gospel, we call people to try harder in their own strength. Fruitful ministry is rooted in the gospel and empowered by the spirit. It is the fruit of inward transformation, expressed outwardly to the world.
Chapter 4: The Gospel Flywheel
While the gospel is the core, we must also encourage perseverance and faithful obedience. We cannot underestimate the power of momentum, that the Christian life of discipleship is a “long obedience in the same direction.” The concept of the flywheel is helpful for understanding this.
Chapter 5: Empty Victories
One of the keys to effective ministry is knowing which battles to fight and which to ignore. We must beware of fighting battles that lead us nowhere and accomplish very little.
Chapter 6: Creating a Sending Culture
Becoming a sending church means that we must cultivate a culture than sees “sending” people out into the world as the goal and mission of our gatherings. How does a leader create a culture of sending in the church?
Chapter 7: Yearning for More
How to you lead your people to hunger for more, to yearn for the great works that only God can do? Lots of leaders talk about vision, but what does it mean to give you people godly vision? How do you preach in a way that moves the heart, that calls people to follow Jesus, to give their lives for him?
Chapter 8: Leading in Concentric Circles
Growing a sending church looks like a series of concentric circles. Key to effective growth is understanding which circle you are in and what the next level of growth looks like.