The Process of the Gospel is a simple, practical paradigm for working with the living systems that God has made. I know it can help us relearn community, and become involved in doing God’s work in God’s way because I have used it successfully for almost fifty years. It is a pivotal part of Living System Ministry.
The six stages of the Process of the Gospel are:
- Positive Appreciation
- Relevant Communication
- Meeting Perceived Needs
- Meeting Basic Needs
Our Lord Jesus provides the perfect example of how to do the Process of the Gospel. God observed his fallen creation, condemned to death by sin and eternally lost without him. Because he loved us, he sent his Son. Most of Jesus’ lifetime fell into the critical observation stage, being prepared for the day when -- with positive appreciation of people -- he would begin to relevantly communicate the Kingdom of God through his life, parables and teaching. When Jesus walked among us, he identified and met our perceived needs for healing, forgiveness and deliverance. Then, once and for all, he met humankind’s most basic need for rebirth and redemption by dying on the Cross as the ultimate atoning sacrifice for sin of the entire universe and rising from the dead. Finally, he prepared his disciples for his leaving, laying the groundwork for the multiplication of his Kingdom through his Spirit-indwelt Church.
These six stages describe a pattern that God designed to allow the power of his redemption working in and through living relational systems to grow his Kingdom. When people come together, living systems like families, churches, cities and nations are formed. This ability to work within living systems is why the Process of the Gospel is such an integral part of Living System Ministry. Because it helps us to align with and engage God’s living systems, it can be used not only for ministry with individuals, but with groups of people—a local church or an entire city. It works in one-on-one relationships, in ministry development, in cross-cultural missions, in church planting, and in community organizing. With it, you can reach the poor and the rich. It can work in both sacred and secular settings. It can and has transformed entire cities, and has allowed Christianity to grow throughout the world.
In the next few blogs we will look a little more deeply at how Jesus carried out these stages in his relationships with people.