How the Gospel Impacts Community

2012 RightNow Conference

This year’s RightNow Conference focused on surrender … putting others before self and Christ above all. We explored ways to help people surrender in three specific areas that touch everyone: through their groups, through their work and with their families.

In this 30-minute session from the 2012 RightNow Conference, Matt Carter, Lead Pastor of The Austin Stone Community Church in Austin, Texas, explores how the gospel must impact every area of our lives and how the gospel informs us on how we ought to live and dwell in community with one another. 

Take a look at how The Austin Stone Community Church equips and unleashes their small groups to have an impact in Austin for the sake of the gospel.

How do you encourage and equip your small groups to be on mission together? What are some creative ways you can convey this message?
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What is the focus of your small groups; are they focusing on community or mission? Is there anything you need to change?
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It's encouraging to see people living on mission together as the gospel works in them and through them. What is it in life that actually builds the kind of authentic community that we see occurring in Scripture? 

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact your ministry.

Matt Carter explained the Greek meaning of euangelion. It has a military context that refers to when a city is waiting for news about the outcome of a battle, a messenger is sent with the euangelion (gospel or good news) that the battle had been won. Isn't it incredibly good news to realize and live in the power that our battle has already been won!

How do you lead others in the message of victory that a battle has been won? How are the people you lead living in that good news? How is it evident?
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Matt gave a number of comparisons between living according to religion vs. gospel (works vs. grace). What do you teach? What do you model? Are they different? Is there anything that needs to change?
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Matt asked, "If someone who did not have any biblical knowledge spent time in your church and with your people, seeing how you live; would they see a community of faith that adheres to rules or would they see people repenting, believing and walking in the power of the gospel?" How would you answer?
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Matt gave four questions to evaluate if you are leading people toward the gospel.
  1. Are people confessing, repenting and being restored from their sin?
  2. Do people feel like following Christ is a burden? 
  3. What is the motivation for obedience? 
  4. What is the spiritual temperature of the worship in the church? (corporate and private)

Take some time to reflect and pray about those questions for your own life. How would you answer? What would you change?
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Now take some time to reflect and pray about those questions in how you are leading? How would the people you lead answer? What would you change?
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Read Rev. 2:1–6. Matt referred to the church in Ephesus, which did three very good things but was harshly chastised for leaving its first love—the Savior. 
  1. Defends sound doctrine
  2. Carries the mission without growing weary
  3. Is salt & light

And the harsh consequence for leaving its first love comes in verse 5. If you love your mission more than you love your Savior, your Savior will have no part of your mission.

Matt reminded us that the gospel will never be powerful through us until it is powerful in us. How does that statement reflect in your faith community? In your own life?
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How does the gospel impact the community? In every way! A gospel-centered community will always have the gospel…at the center. 

For information about the upcoming RightNow Conference, go to

For more RightNow Media training posts, teaching videos and Bible study resources with Matt Carter, click here