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Growing in Gospel Competency

Gospel Competency is about moving from unconscious incompetence to conscious competence. Our conversations often span politics, the economy, parenting, yet the Gospel is frequently absent. It hasn't touched down onto planet earth for us. We need to be aware of this gap and recognize that the Gospel informs our basic life issues, priorities, and decision-making. It's time to break free from the constraints of a truncated Gospel and let it shape our entire existence.

In the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, it's easy to relegate the Gospel to a Sunday morning affair—a set of beliefs we affirm but struggle to integrate into the fabric of our existence. As disciples of Jesus, our call goes beyond passive acknowledgment; it beckons us to live out the Gospel in our relationships, work, and the broader community. In our journey toward Gospel Competency, let's explore how we can move through the four stages of competence, turning the Good News into a transformative force in every aspect of our lives.

Growing in the four stages of competency can be applied to many areas of our discipleship, but for this blog we're applying it to the gospel to meet the need of disciples who want to learn how to share their gospel story and live gospel rhythms. To equip you we've supplied scriptures for reflection and discussion questions that you can use for your small group or times of discipleship. You may also want inspiration from the following two sermon podcasts. The first focuses on Luke 4 in defining the gospel around us and the second focuses on moving through the four stages of competency. We hope this resource blesses you as you grow in gospel intentionality!

Moving Through the Four Stages of Competence

Stage 1: Unconscious Incompetence - Ignorance

Listening to hear in Luke 10, 2

Our starting point is acknowledging our failures. Who among us hasn't stumbled in embodying the Gospel during the week? The Gospel is not just a concept but a living force that requires attentive listening to the Holy Spirit. Much like Jesus, who approached life with teachability and curiosity, we must be open to hearing and doing. Celebrate failures as learning opportunities as we share good news.

“In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children; yes, Father, for such was your gracious will.” - ‭‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭21‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The passage from Luke 10 presents a profound message about the Father's will and the revelation of divine wisdom to those with childlike hearts. Jesus, in rejoicing through the Holy Spirit, acknowledges that the wise and learned may miss the revelations granted to the obedient and childlike. The emphasis is on obedience, as seen in the disciples' greater revelation when they followed Jesus' instructions compared to the Pharisees, who remained stagnant in their learning. What else could Jesus have meant by a childlike heart? We see the best example in the child Jesus found in Luke 2.

  • How does the concept of divine revelation to the childlike and obedient challenge our conventional understanding of wisdom and learning?

  • Reflecting on the disciples' experience in Luke 10, discuss instances in your life where obedience led to greater understanding or revelation.

  • In what ways can the contemporary Church avoid falling into the Pharisaic trap of being learned but unresponsive to God's ongoing revelations?

"After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions." Luke 2

We witness the young Jesus in the temple, displaying a childlike heart characterized by submission, curiosity, and a thirst for wisdom. The narrative emphasizes the necessity of a teachable heart in discipleship. Jesus, the ultimate model, lived a life of continuous learning and growth, setting the precedent for his followers. Discipleship, as shown here, requires a commitment to a lifelong journey of learning and embracing a teachable heart. Before anyone can grow in the gospel, we need a listening childlike heart. Listen to the spirit for how the Gospel can instruct your life. Listen to your community for where the gospel is already at play.

  • How does the portrayal of Jesus as a child in Luke 2 redefine your perception of wisdom and growth in discipleship?

  • How can individuals cultivate a childlike heart in their journey of learning and spiritual growth, and what challenges might they encounter in doing so?

Stage 2: Conscious Incompetence - Awareness

Gospel Fluency in Colossians 3

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed [gospel needs both], do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” - ‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3‬:‭16‬-‭17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The call to let the word of Christ dwell richly within believers in Colossians 3 signifies the importance of gospel fluency. It challenges Christians to integrate the gospel into every aspect of life, from politics to parenting. How do we practice this gospel story? Normalize good news sharing, as fluency in the language of the gospel enhances the ability to apply its principles consciously and competently. Let Christ dwell so deeply in your heart that it overflows to every area of life. It's moving from unbelief to belief in Jesus in every area of life.

  • In what practical ways can believers let the word of Christ dwell richly in their lives, considering the diverse aspects of daily living mentioned in Colossians 3?

  • Share examples from your life where gospel fluency has positively impacted your decision-making in areas like politics, relationships, or career.

  • Identify areas where the Gospel seems absent in daily life, such as politics, economy, parenting, etc. Consider how the Gospel can inform and shape decision-making in these areas.

Stage 3: Conscious Competence - Application

Living Out the Gospel in Deuteronomy 6

Imagine a life where the Good News of Jesus permeates every corner—where the Gospel isn't confined to a set of doctrines but shapes and informs all areas of our existence. This is the essence of living consciously competent in the Gospel. As disciples, we should speak and share the Gospel throughout the week, not just on Sundays. The Kingdom becomes tangible when the Gospel is integrated into our ordinary, everyday lives.

““Now this is the commandment—the statutes and the rules—that the Lord your God commanded me to teach you, that you may do them in the land to which you are going over, to possess it, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” - ‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭6‬:‭1‬, ‭4‬-‭9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

The next step in the discipleship journey is portrayed in James 1:22-25 or alternatively Deuteronomy 6 , emphasizing living out the gospel – conscious competence in application. The Shema lifestyle, described as "hearing to obey," underlines the vital distinction between humility and teachability. In essence, true discipleship involves not only hearing but also faithfully applying the transformative power of the gospel.

  • Reflect on the distinction between humility and teachability presented in the Shema lifestyle. How can one ensure they are not just humble listeners but active practitioners of God's Word?

  • Share personal experiences of times when you actively applied teachings or advice received, leading to positive change or growth.

  • Discuss the potential impact of allowing the Gospel to shape and inform all areas of life.

  • Reflect on experiences of encountering the Good News of Jesus in everyday life.

  • Explore the idea of speaking and sharing the Gospel throughout the week with intentionality.

Stage 4: Unconscious Competence - Integration

Dripping God in Luke 4

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor. Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him. He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.” - Luke 4:18-21

In Luke 4:18-21, we witness Jesus proclaiming the Gospel, and the impact is palpable. The Gospel creates a community sent on mission, reflecting God's call to restore the world to its original design. We, too, can live ordinary lives with Gospel intentionality, allowing the Kingdom to become tangible to those around us. Discovering the Gospel in our community involves recognizing where God is already at work among the marginalized and brokenhearted. Similarly, we must identify where our lives intersect with God's activity in the lives of others. Being the Good News means actively blessing and impacting the lives of those in need.

  • Discuss how Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and its impact on the community.

  • Where is God already at work in your neighborhood and city?

  • Identify areas where the Gospel is evident among specific groups: the poor, the brokenhearted, those in captivity, prisoners, those in mourning, and those in despair. Where do you interact with people from the identified groups in your daily life?

  • List places where your life intersects with God's activity in the lives of others. Consider practical ways to be "good news" to them in the next few days.

  • Reflect on how living an ordinary life with Gospel intentionality can contribute to a tangible Kingdom life.

Listening, Learning, and living the Gospel

In the coming days, let's challenge ourselves to be intentional about bringing the Gospel into the lives of others. Whether it's through acts of kindness, lending a listening ear, or supporting local and global causes, let's embody the Good News in tangible ways. Gospel Competency is not a lofty ideal; it's a call to action. As disciples of Jesus, let's move through the stages of competence, embracing the Gospel not just on Sundays but in the intricacies of our daily lives. The Gospel is transformative, and as we live it out intentionally, we become vessels of Good News, bringing the Kingdom to our communities.

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