So much of life is ordinary.
In Part 1 of this series, I gave some practical ways to speak the gospel, focusing on core doctrines and implications. In Part 2, I would like to talk about some of the contexts for speaking the gospel with people, as well as helpful things to remember.
Ordinary Moments with Immortal Souls
I mention this point first out of importance. So much of life is ordinary, filled with seemingly insignificant, trivial moments that make up the rhythms of our lives. The gospel needs to be spoken into this everyday space of our lives. I believe the Holy Spirit works mightily when we speak the good news of Jesus in the midst of our humdrum routines. As well, we need to remember that in many of these ordinary moments, we have interactions with people. According to C.S. Lewis, these commonplace moments with people are weighted with glory. People are not just random humans; they are immortal souls with earthly stories and eternal destinies. It is sobering and humbling to be aware of this reality in our disciple-making. Our encounters with people in everyday life may seem ordinary, but our interactions with them have far-reaching implications. Let us speak the gospel often to people who so desperately need to hear it.
Speak the Gospel Proactively
Typically, we speak the gospel reactively to situations, rather than proactively. But, there is a need for both. Reactive speaking is responding to a situation where someone is sharing about a sin or difficult circumstance. We bring the truth of the gospel to bear upon their situation. With proactive speaking, we are not waiting for someone to confess sin, but speaking the gospel as a blessing or encouragement. Even when it’s been a rather heavenly day in the Hiebert house, I often remind my kids of how much Jesus loves them, died for their sin and resurrected to new life. I am still learning how to do this well with adults. My speaking tends to be more responsive in adult situations, rather than proactive. We need to have the gospel spoken in both ways, because we don’t want to teach people that the gospel is a mere doctrinal band aide we apply to our sin and pain. It speaks passion, comfort, depth and strength into any situation, bad or good.
Speak to Yourself, Family, Community
Here are a few things to remember when speaking the gospel in everyday life. First, we need to speak the gospel daily to ourselves. You will not be able to lead other people in this unless you are first leading yourself. This is an aspect of my discipleship which I have been greatly convicted. In morning-prayer, commuting in the car, during breaks between projects, before sleep, I have been practicing this discipline. It has been powerful for my own discipleship, because I’m constantly reminding myself of how much God loves and accepts me in Christ alone, regardless of how my day is going.
Speak the gospel to your spouse and kids (or close friends if you are single). Spouses are the most intimate form of community, and they are called to mutually shepherd each other. As a parent you are called to raise your children up in Christ. Part of that task is teaching them the Christian language of the gospel. If children primarily learn a language from their parents, who are naturally speaking it in the home, then the best way to teach them the language of the gospel is by speaking it to them often.
We need to be speaking the gospel actively with our missional communities or community groups, and encourage them to do the same with each other. I have done this with our missional community, and I believe it has greatly affected their discipleship. I want them to, like Jeff Vanderstelt’s Gospel Fluency, be able to think and speak fluently with gospel-language and worldview, both for their own growth and the growth of other believers.
Organic, Not Mechanical
Finally, speaking the gospel with each other is not meant to be a mechanical exercise, as if you have to make it sound exactly right for it to work. You want it to be genuine and organic, not canned. When I’m speaking the gospel, I try to keep it simple, straightforward and as relevant as possible to the moment. I am not worried about getting all the words right, or whether I distinguish accurately between each doctrine. And you don’t want the gospel to sound cute or cheeky. It is universal, living truth that contains transformative power. Speak it with confidence and courage. There have been numerous times when someone is sharing with me honestly how life is going for them, and there is not much time to work through their struggles (everyday life moments usually last only a few minutes anyway), the only encouragement I think to give them in that moment is how deeply our heavenly Father loves them and cares for them. For example, at one of our recent missional community gatherings, one of our leaders was tearful toward the end, as he sensed the work of the Holy Spirit. I asked him if his tears were from joy or sadness, and he said mostly joy. I then felt compelled to speak the gospel to him and just simply proclaim how much Jesus loves him and cares for him because of his death and resurrection. Even in peaceful moments, the gospel gives us the most comforting words to hear.
 In his Epistles Paul the Apostle will often provide multiple truths of the gospel written as one long sentence, instead of individual sentences or statements distinguishing each doctrine. See Eph 1:3-6 and Titus 3:4-7 for example. For Paul, the gospel is so multi-faceted and overwhelming that he cannot help but combine multiple elements of the gospel in one thought.