Compelling Community to Act

2013 Austin Stone Worship Conference

In this 15-minute session from the 2013 Austin Stone Worship Conference, Odd Thomas unpacks Romans 12:1–2, giving four points that bring clarity to our call to foster gospel communities. Odd Thomas is a hip-hop and spoken word artist. He is owner of Humble Beast records and a member of the group Beautiful Eulogy.

Romans 12:1-2 (ESV)

A Living Sacrifice

1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Odd Thomas gave 4 characteristics of gospel community from the passage above:
  1. Gospel communities are defined by a responsive knowledge of the gospel.
    They are rooted and grounded in the richness of the gospel message. The intellectual knowledge of the gospel must lead to an experiential response to the gospel.
  2. Gospel communities are defined by a life of fidelity to the gospel.
    They are called to a total devotion to Christ, seeing that all of life is worship. Lives in gospel community are given as living, holy, and acceptable sacrifices to God.
  3. Gospel communities are defined by a willingness to be transformed by the gospel.
    They experience a transformation and a renewal of the mind. They are engaged with the world for the purpose of sharing the message of the gospel.
  4. Gospel communities are defined by a growing maturity in the gospel.
    A transformed mind leads to a transformed will. Gospel communities are rooted in a deep trust in the Hand of God, that what he ordains is right.

In your own words, how do you define gospel community?
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How are gospel communities realized in your church (small groups, Sunday school classes, Bible study groups, etc.)? How well do you feel they are exhibiting the characteristics that Odd Thomas presented above?
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Who is in your gospel community? How can you, personally, foster the characteristics of gospel community among the people you share life with?
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In what ways do you think that songs, worship, and the arts can encourage and equip the people in your church as they pursue gospel communities?
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Like Odd Thomas said, as a leader in the church—even if your primary role is leading worship—it's your responsibility to show those in your congregation what gospel community is. And you do this not just through words or songs, but with everything you are, completely engaged with your head, heart, and hands.

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