by Josh Tovey
GRANDVILLE, MI – In Spring 2015, we planted Redemption Church, and then we adopted our three kids in the Spring of 2018. When we planted a church, we were always processing what kind of culture we wanted as a church. Especially, what does it look like to build a Gospel culture in our church?
When we adopted our three kids (ages 8,7,6) we started processing the same question, but from the perspective as parents. As I think about being a godly father, I am always processing the culture I want my home to have for my kids to thrive physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Our kids have experienced a significant amount of trauma, so at times we do not feel equipped. Yet, God in his sovereignty has allowed us to be their parents. As we study the scriptures, we learn that the kind of culture God wants for the church is the same culture God wants in my home. The kind of culture God wants in my home is the same culture God wants in his church.
So, the question is, as fathers, how do we create a Gospel culture in our homes? This past winter, as a church, we spent 13 weeks in the book of 1 John, processing a framework for transformation. While studying 1 John we saw the kind of culture God wants every Christian to experience in their life. The culture God wants directly applies to every role in our lives, including fatherhood.
In other words, the culture John unpacks is for every church and every home. John repeats a pattern in the book to help us answer what a Gospel culture is (see 1 John 2:1-6). A Gospel culture is like a three-leg stool. If one leg is broken the whole thing collapses. The strength of a gospel culture is found when all three legs are equally celebrated.
Three Aspects of Gospel Culture
1. A Gospel Belief: What You Know
A gospel culture first requires the good news of Jesus to be the focus of my home. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection changes everything - my identity in him, my intentionality for him, my eternity with him. A Gospel belief speaks to the story of the Bible in creation, fall, redemption, and restoration.
As a father I want my kids to know that Jesus is the hero not me. I must point my kids to the beauty of Jesus whenever possible. Talk about Jesus at the dinner table, pray to Jesus with them, talk about Jesus in discipline, etc.
2. A Gospel Behavior: What You Do
This means what I know changes what I do. I don’t obey for God to accept us, but I obey because I have been accepted. Teach your kids that the good news of Jesus motivates a specific response in our hearts. Showing your kids Jesus’ unwavering acceptance will empower obedience to him. Behavior is striving to make the things of Jesus visible.
3. A Gospel Belonging: Who You Are
1 John uses the word “beloved” many times, which speaks to the idea that God fully knows you yet fully loves you. Why? Because you belong to him. You are a part of his body, the church, and his kingdom. Belonging speaks to your identity, and when you know you belong you will never wish for anything else.
I want these three things to speak to the culture we have in our home.
Our world is offering a completely different worldview that produces counterfeit gospels and challenges each aspect of the three-leg stool. While the world is pulling at your kids’ hearts, how will you respond?
The question each father must answer is what kind of culture do you want in your home?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Tovey serves as the Lead Pastor of Redemption Church in Grandville, Michigan. Josh’s heartbeat is for people to experience life change that can only be found in Jesus and to see God advance a gospel movement through church planting.