I have a Dream

I HAVE A DREAM…

I dream of a Gospel-driven church…

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is…
We are more sinful and weak than we ever dared to admit and…
We are more loved and accepted than we ever dared to hope.

I dream of a church where the Gospel goes deep into the hearts of people as they see it in action through relationship, and through the surprising way that the people love each other and those who have never darkened the door of the church. I dream of the Gospel making its way deeply into relationships…liberating people from hypocrisy, phoniness, and “putting on their Sunday best” while living lives of silent, isolated desperation. I dream of a church that rejects “church-ianity” and replaces it with authentic Christ-ianity. I dream of a safe place where people can express openly and specifically their personal struggles with sin, and find a community that will not reject them or merely “put up with them,” but come alongside them for their healing. I dream that the depth of our prayers go beyond surface requests to earnest, thirsty pleas for our own, personal rescue from anger, self-righteousness, perfectionism, gracelessness, lust, a critical spirit, and anything else that prevents us from enjoying and living out of the freedom of the Gospel as a community. I dream of a church where no cliques or “closed sub-communities” can be found anywhere, where nobody feels they have been ignored, overlooked, or marginalized—ever. I dream of authentic unity amidst diversity rather than mere tolerance—black friends eating at white friends’ tables, white friends appreciating black friends’ music and babysitting black friends’ children, younger people seeking to learn from older people, older people respecting the ideas and dreams of younger people. I dream of a church climate where the Pharisee and the sinner in all of us can be openly challenged, in a sinner-safe environment saturated with love and grace. I dream of religious legalism and the more subtle forms of “grace-legalism” (having an unloving Pharisee’s attitude toward unloving Pharisees) being completely absent. I dream of people hanging in there with each other when they disagree. I dream of the complete absence of rejection from one person to another—of people who treat their relationship with the church like they do their families—sticking together in sickness and health, in riches and in poverty, for better and for worse, ‘til death do them part. I dream of spiritual beggars telling each other, and re-reminding each other, where the bread is. I dream of a church whose gatherings are more compelling, life-giving and necessary to people than any other gathering—where people want to return from vacation on Saturday because they can’t bear the thought of having to miss out on the Gospel’s activity in the corporate gathering.

I dream of a church on a Mission…

Our Mission is…
To help Christians and spiritual seekers become Gospel-driven followers of Jesus.

I dream of a church filled with people who are on a forward-moving spiritual journey. I dream of fifty or more new Christians every year. I dream of complacent, unmotivated Christians forsaking religion, coming alive to the love of God, and staying alive to it—and becoming lavishly generous, Gospel-Driven servants and leaders in the church and in the world. I dream of a church that emphasizes people over programs—that stops “plugging people into empty gaps” and instead places people with ministry teams where their passions can be fulfilled as they do God’s work, in the way God has uniquely designed them to do it. I dream of overtaking the high school and university campuses within our reach with an irresistible love and acceptance for which every young person longs. I dream of a church that comes alongside parents in loving and raising their children to adulthood and maturity in Christ. I dream of a church that gives seminary students something meaningful to do, a larger story than their own in which to live, learn, and develop into the Gospel-driven servants God is preparing them to be. I dream of an internship program that provides them with enough resources to live without worry, and enough real training to prepare them for life outside the Christian bubble. I dream of several of these students becoming grace- and Gospel-driven men and women who serve lifelong at our church, or who become catalysts in the planting and developing of other Gospel-driven churches in our city and cities throughout the nation and world. I dream of a movement that gives Jesus and the Gospel a great name in the city and communities that surround it—where the only offense that exists is the offense of the Gospel, not offensive people. I dream of spiritual beggars who love the bread so much that they cannot be satisfied until Gospel-starved people from the city in which we live have a taste too. I dream that skeptics and irreligious people feel the love of God from us, whether they ever become Christians or not. I dream of a church where it is impossible for any Christian not to feel at home, and where it is impossible for any earnest spiritual seeker not to find what he or she is looking for.

The bottom line…

The bottom line is that I dream of a church that takes people to Jesus, and where the Gospel captures the hearts of people…all types of people, Christian and not yet Christian…in such a way that the Gospel actually works to change lives…creating more humble, gracious, loving, peace-filled and always-repenting people. I want the Gospel to become a huge influence on our city and its various communities, and on the world beyond us…rather than just some nice, safe, sentimental story to help us get over the bumps of life. I want my life, and the church I serve, to count…I want to look back at the end of my life and see the fingerprints of God all over what I was part of. I want to die knowing that I attempted God-sized dreams that were doomed for failure unless God was in them. I want to die knowing that many of those God-sized dreams were fulfilled on my watch. I want to die knowing that I did it all together with others who shared the same dream.

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6 thoughts on “I have a Dream

  1. gladwellmusau

    Hi Jon. It reminds me of the Lord’s prayers before he was arrested. He prayed for himself, his disciples and eventually for the believer in his time and the one who would believe in Him in later times. This is not only your dream…but rather ITS THE LORD’S DESIRE for the church he died for to be blameless and perfect when he return for the second time. That’s my prayer too.

    Blessings,

    Gladwell

  2. Jim McNeely

    I love this dream! I have a similar dream, I’m even looking into doing a church plant to fulfill this. I want gospel centric counseling, discipleship, financial mentoring, teaching, everything. Grace everywhere. I truly believe that the movement of the Holy Spirit to enlighten us to His grace is the primary word He wants to speak, and that He doesn’t just want speakers or books or whatever, He wants Churches to come together and get planted in this. Thanks for you wonderful site!

  3. centralityofthegospel Post author

    It was actually used with permision from a Church in St. Louis. The pastor that was there, Scott Sauls, is now at Redeemper Prsbyterian and under Tim Keller.

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