By Joy Allmond
NASHVILLE, Tenn.—J.D. Greear, Southern Baptist Convention president and pastor of The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham, N.C, exhorted Southern Baptists to place the “Gospel Above All” at the recent 2019 Southern Baptist Convention Annual Meeting in Birmingham, Ala.
And now, he aims to mobilize the Church to take gospel action in congregations, homes and communities through his Bible study—aptly named “Gospel Above All.”
LifeWay Christian Resources released “Gospel Above All,” an eight-session Bible study that includes videos featuring conversations between Greear and other Christian leaders, including David Platt, Jen Wilkin, Walter Strickland, Vance Pitman, Rosaria Butterfield, Kevin Smith, Greg Laurie and R. Albert Mohler Jr.
Greear says this study is timely, not because “Gospel Above All” was the theme of the SBC annual meeting, but “because there are a lot of other things—good things, but secondary things—that compete with the one essential thing, which is the gospel,” he said.
“It’s the source and strength of our power. It’s what occupies our bandwidth. And when you peel back the layers, it’s what moves us and keeps us going.”
The sessions, filmed in Nashville, Raleigh-Durham and Washington, D.C., cover the following topics:
- Gospel Above All (introduction): What does it mean to identify as a gospel people, making the gospel central to everything we do?
- Gospel Change: Why are we tempted to enact change through our flesh, rather than let the power of the gospel work through us to achieve real transformation?
- Gospel Multiplied: How does the gospel empower us to make disciples who make other disciples?
- Gospel Mission: Why should believing and living the gospel compel us to share the gospel?
- Gospel Grace: How do we balance truth and grace in carrying out the work of the gospel?
- Gospel Community: Are we willing to set aside preferences in order to reach our neighbors with the gospel?
- Gospel Unity: Does the way we approach secondary issues hinder the advance of the gospel?
- Gospel Victory: How will we look forward and take gospel-focused action?
Greear hopes the messages in the study will reach our self-reliant culture—a culture than has heavily infiltrated the Church.
“We tend to want to perfect in the flesh,” he said. “The flesh is easier for us to turn to. And in some ways, it feels more reliable to us. But the gospel requires us to admit our incompetence and forces us to walk in humility.”
Another purpose of “Gospel Above All,” Greear said, is to keep the Church looking ahead, knowing that the gospel is timeless as God works just as powerfully today as He did yesterday.
“We have to ask: ‘How is the gospel going to change this generation?’ he said. “How is the gospel going to answer the unique questions our community will ask? If the gospel doesn’t re-express itself in every generation, it becomes nostalgia.”
Greear says it’s important to look at the great movements of the gospel that came before this generation—not to stay in the past, but to inspire and to demonstrate what the Holy Spirit can do and how He can work.
“I hope ‘Gospel Above All’ will lead to a sober self-reflection on whether or not anything has displaced the gospel as being of first importance in people’s hearts,” said Greear.
“I also hope it leads to an analysis of our witness. I want individuals to ask, ‘What am I known for?’ and I want church leaders to ask, ‘What is my church known for?’”
For more information, visit LifeWay.com/GospelAboveAll.
Joy Allmond is a writer for LifeWay Christian Resources.