What Does It Mean to Be Gospel Fluent?
A person is gospel fluent when the gospel becomes their “mother tongue.” They see the world through that filter, they hear the world through that filter, and they know how to speak the truths of the gospel—the truths of Jesus—into the everyday stuff of life.
Remember, Recite, Rehearse
When I encourage people to work on developing a gospel-fluent ability to speak the truths of Jesus into the everyday stuff of life, I encourage them (1) to regularly remember the truths of the gospel, (2) to recite them to themselves on a regular basis, and then (3) to rehearse them in community.
What that allows them to do is to speak the gospel out loud so they can hear it, to do so in a community who can speak it back or reflect on what they’re hearing, and then to help each other grow in actually speaking news that is good to real issues of life that they’re facing.
We Need to Be Gospel-Fluent People
I’m convinced more now than ever that people need to be equipped to speak the gospel into the everyday stuff of life. We live in a day and age where people are asking questions, but often we don’t have the answers. Instead of giving transforming information—a transforming hope—we often give people moralism or legalism. We tell them to try harder or to change their behavior, but what people need is not behavior modification—they need heart transformation.
We as a church need to grow in what it looks like to speak the truths of the gospel into the everyday stuff of life. To speak the truth of Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, present work on our behalf before God the Father, and future return to make all things new.
And it’s not just the church—I need it. I need to learn how to speak the truths of the gospel into the everyday stuff of life because I struggle with unbelief. I struggle with putting my confidence in my behavior instead of in Jesus and his work on my behalf. I often believe that it’s my work that saves people instead of the work of God that saves people. I need the gospel, we need the gospel, and the world needs the gospel.
But we need to know how to speak the gospel fluently to the everyday stuff of life—the stuff that people struggle with, the unbelief they feel and experience, and the real issues our society is walking through. You and I need to grow in being gospel-fluent people.
God Is the One Who Saves
First of all, I want to remind people that it’s not their job to save others. God is the one who does the work of saving people, not us.
Second, I’ve found that when I walk out in faith, the Spirit of God tends to give me the answers that I need. So don’t overthink what you’re going to say. Ask God to give you what you need to say in the moment. Historically, God has used lots of simple people—and oftentimes very uneducated people—to be the most powerful means by which he shares the gospel. In those situations, he gets the glory, not us. So don’t put your confidence in yourself, put your confidence in him.
Buy Gospel Fluency by Jeff Vanderstelt
Jeff Vanderstelt is the visionary leader for the Soma Family of Churches and the lead teaching pastor at Doxa Church in Bellevue, Washington. He travels around the world training and equipping the church in the gospel and missional living. He and his wife, Jayne, have three children. You can connect with Jeff at his website, JeffVanderstelt.com, or on Twitter (@JeffVanderstelt).