I often talk about being a “gospel-centered” church. What exactly do I mean by that?

Being gospel-centered doesn’t just mean that the church affirms a written doctrinal statement that’s consistent with the gospel. It means that the gospel message of who Jesus is and what he’s done to save us is the functional center of church life.

The church should have a deep and abiding sense of what we were before Jesus saved us—sinful and condemned before a holy God. This may seem a bit depressing, but in reality, keeping this in mind will make the splendor of our rescue shine that much brighter.

In addition, the church should have a deep awareness of the fact that God was under no obligation to do anything to rescue us from our hopeless situation. And yet, in his great mercy, he sent his own son, Jesus, to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins.

Finally, the church should never forget our new identity in Christ. Through no merit of our own, we’re forgiven and clean before God. We’re children of God. We’ve been made new from the inside.

Basically, a gospel-centered church is a church that can’t stop talking about this message. They view their identity in light of the gospel. They view their mission in light of the gospel. They view all of life in light of the gospel.

The church is preoccupied with the gospel message and absolutely captivated by the glorious God that message reveals. And this shows up in their conversations, it shows up in their relationships, it shows up in every aspect of their lives. That’s what we mean when we talk about a gospel-centered church.