Cultivating gospel transformation means that we are privileged to play a critical role in the gospel transformation process in peoples’ lives, but that only God causes the growth. The apostle Paul uses an agricultural metaphor to illustrate that although we “plant” the gospel seed and “water” with prayerful care, only God causes the growth. Cultivating means we are responsible to enhance and work at what we can to bring about gospel transformation, but acknowledges that God is the key agent of actual change and growth (1 Corinthians 3:5–7). In the mission mandate, we acknowledge that it is the Holy Spirit working by and with the gospel that brings about the transformation in peoples’ lives.
The gospel is the central message of God’s comprehensive story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Consummation that gives meaning to our individual stories. It is the main message of good news to all peoples from Genesis to Revelation (1 Corinthians 15:1–4). The gospel proclaims grace—it is not what we do for Christ, but what God has done for us through Christ. Our mission is to cultivate the transformation of lives with this one main message—the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. This gospel is both the milk and the meat for our people. For there is nothing more than the gospel, yet there is always more of the gospel to fuel us on to growth, strategy, and vision.
The gospel is designed to change us from “one degree of glory to another” (2 Corinthians 3:18) into the likeness of Christ himself by the power of the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Scriptures, wherever the gospel was spread, there was the transformation of people into new creations. Transformation is a process, which describes becoming mature, being sanctified, and becoming holy or godly. The more transformation takes place, the further the gospel spreads through the stories of how God changes lives. Transformation happens when our heavenly Father’s mercy meets the message of the Son by the means of the Spirit. Christ Church’s mandate is not merely for people to hear and believe the gospel. Rather our aim and purpose is to see peoples’ lives changed by the gospel. The way we cultivate through strategies, events, and ministries is designed for one great end—transformation. Gospel transformation brings about true freedom as opposed to the deadening moralism, legalism, relativism, and other “gospels” of our day that offer empty promises and promote faith on one’s own performance and righteousness.