“These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also.”  Acts 17:6

In the days of the apostles, outsiders disparaged the church, but they couldn’t ignore the church.  Today, here in the Bible Belt, our task is to re-create those conditions.  We want to be a force for wonderful gospel upheaval.  How?  By planting so many gospel-centered churches that the presence of the living Christ cannot be ignored.  Being spoken against, as ones who turn the world upside down, is not a problem.  Being ignored is, because this isn’t about us.  It’s about Jesus.

In the corporate psychology of every city, there is a threshold of non-ignorability.  Here in Nashville, many things can be ignored.  But the Titans cannot be ignored, country music cannot be ignored, Vanderbilt University cannot be ignored.  But the gospel remains ignorable.

An organic, from-below, non-big-event strategy of church-planting — some churches small, some medium, some large — but churches with a clear message of grace and a beautiful culture of grace, churches of gospel + safety + time where sinners can rethink their lives without pressure, churches where sinners can admit their needs without being humiliated, churches where there are more and more stories of divine renewal, and Nashville will wake up one morning and sense that something has changed.  It cannot be ignored, it cannot be dismissed, it cannot be written off, because it is not just another big event down at the Ryman Auditorium that comes and goes but is embodied in a growing network of radiant churches that just keep coming.

May the Lamb receive the reward of his suffering in Nashville.

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2 thoughts on “My favorite post in 2012”

  1. Gerald says:

    This should be a common vision for all of us as we seek to expand the borders of the Kingdom in every area that God has placed us to proclaim His Good News through word and deed. Here in Southern Utah we are invading the culture with love and respect without theological compromise. God is giving us increasing measures of impact on multiple levels.

    BTW, Your commentary on Isaiah has been extremely helpful recently. Latter Day Saints love Isaiah and your book has made it easier to distill and deliver the message of grace that they need to hear, as we all do.

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Ray Ortlund


Ray Ortlund is senior pastor of Immanuel Church in Nashville, Tennessee, and serves as a Council member with The Gospel Coalition. You can follow him on Twitter.

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