Establishing a church culture of “gospel + safety + time” is critical to the church’s health and effectiveness. Why?
Let’s make an assumption. The assumption is this: the more a church is like the way the Bible says a church should be, the healthier and more effective it will be. Or to put it in the form of a question, “What does the Bible say a church should be?” Whatever the answer is to that question should be the definition of “success” and should shape a church’s goals.
I would argue “gospel + safety + time” is what the Scriptures call a church to be. Let me explain.
The Garden of Eden
The Promised Land
The New Heavens and the New Earth
What do these have in common? They were, are, or will be the dwelling place of God. Space prohibits me from unpacking this in detail, but the dwelling place of God is one of the unifying themes in the Bible. In other words, there are overlapping ideas and concepts contained within each of them; similarities they all share.
Therefore, the church is meant to be a harbinger of the new heavens and new earth. When people experience the community of people called ‘the church’ they should be given a taste of the new heavens and the new earth. Read that last sentence again...
I don’t think the church can be a harbinger of the new heavens and the new earth if any one of those three are missing. Can the church be a harbinger of the new heavens and the new earth if there is safety and time, but no gospel? Can the church be a harbinger of the new heavens and the new earth if there is gospel and time, but no safety? You get the point.
“Gospel + safety + time" aren’t arbitrary concepts pulled from thin air. They are rooted in the Scripture’s blueprint for what God intended the church to be.