In the first major section of their book, Chester and Timmis discuss “Gospel and Community in Principle.” The first chapter is called, “Why Gospel?” They defend the preaching and teaching of Scriptures as a way of extending their community because Christianity is word centered. It is word centered because God rules through his gospel word. God extends his rule through his word.
Christianity is also mission-centered because God extends his rule through his gospel word. To tell people the gospel is to announce the kingdom or kingship of God and Christ. Their concern to be word-centered does not conflict with a concern to be Spirit-centered. The community formed by the gospel for the gospel is the community in which God dwells by his Spirit. In the Bible, word and Spirit always go together.
This means that Bible study and theology that do not lead to love for God and a desire to do his will have gone terribly wrong. True theology leads to love, mission and worship.
They sum this up by saying: The gospel is a word so the church must be word-centered
Being gospel centered has two dimensions. First, it means being word-centered because the gospel is a word. The gospel is good news. It is a message. It is a word that has become incarnate in Jesus Christ. It is this word that brings new life to people and shapes the life of the church.
Second, the gospel is a missionary word so the church must be mission-centered.
They begin to flesh out missional living with some very challenging thoughts to their community members (not just “called” missionaries and ministers). To think mission centered, they ask people to imagine they are part of a church planting team in a cross-cultural situation in some other part of the world:
• What criteria would you used to decide where to live?
• How would you approach secular employment?
• What standard of living would you expect as pioneer missionaries?
• What would you spend your time doing?
• What opportunities would you be looking for?
• What would your prayers be like?
• What would you be trying to do with your new friends?
• What kind of team would you want around you?
• How would you conduct your meetings together? (33)
For them, they believe the UK will never be reached until they create open, authentic, learning and praying communities that are focused on making whole-life disciples who live and share the Gospel wherever they relate to people in their daily lives.
The challenge for them (and passed on to all of us) is to make the gospel the center of our lives not just on Sunday mornings, but on Monday mornings. (36)