How did we get here?
Let me introduce myself.
My name is JJ Hefley and I am the Lead Pastor of Gospel City Church.
Me and my wife, Brandi, began this journey back in August of 2019. We were called to serve at what was Christ Chapel Warner Robins.
Over the past four years, the Lord has moved us from a traditional, legacy church to a disciple-making, church planting, movement focused church. The journey has been difficult and frustrating, however, we believe that the Lord is shifting the paradigm in the Western church.
How did we get here? Three years ago, I began researching the decline of men in the church. Long story short, I concluded that the overall problem is a discipleship problem. The reality is that the American church is failing to disciple men, women, and children.
As a result, we began to reimagine the church and simplify our method. The way forward involves mobilizing existing believers to share the Gospel, make disciples, and plant missional communities throughout our community.
The birth of the church is highlighted in Acts 1-2. After the disciples are filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, Peter preaches the Gospel to thousands of men, women, and children. After the Gospel proclamation, the crowd states, "What must we do to be saved?" Thus, the church is born as 3,000 men, women, and children repent of their sins and get baptized.
I can't emphasize this enough; the church was born because Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, stood up and proclaimed the Gospel to people far away from God. What happens next is a simple but effective gathering of new believers as they devoted themselves to prayer, the sharing of meals, the Apostle's teaching, and fellowship. Acts 2:42-47 details how the early church gathered and served one another:
As a result of the Gospel, people repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus.
These new believers devoted themselves to the word of God, prayer, the breaking of bread (sharing their meals, including communion), and fellowship.
These believers were unified and generous by meeting the needs of those around them.
They met from house to house with sincere, glad, and humble hearts.
This results in goodwill among all the people, and the Lord added to the number daily.
Following Jesus requires simple obedience. Following Jesus involves dying to self. Jesus calls his church to follow him and become fishers of men. Reimagining does not mean forgetting God's faithfulness to the past but acknowledging that the current paradigm is flawed, and change is needed. It means to put our faith and trust in Christ alone and boldly walk into the future in the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish God's mission to go and make disciples.