The Gospel-Centered Community

Robert H. Thune
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In this nine-lesson small group study with leader's notes, participants will learn how the Spirit shapes diverse people into a Christ-centered community that reflects Jesus. Gospel-Centered Community is a wise, biblically solid guide inviting readers to take the plunge toward deeper, richer relationshipsÑcentered on Christ.

In today's culture, the word "community" has almost lost its meaning. It's used so often, but what does it really look like to share our lives in the church through the gospel? Will Walker and Robert Thune offer thought-provoking questions to confront your small group head-on with the transforming power of the gospel.

Any small group looking for real, lasting change to take root will find this practical, gospel-saturated study to be immensely helpful. Each lesson is self-contained, featuring clear teaching from Scripture, and requires no extra work outside the group setting. The leader notes contain discussion questions and background material that clearly explain and apply the gospel truths from each lesson.

Real community is hard to come by. Gospel-Centered Community serves as an easy-to-follow road map for applying the gospel to relationships at church and in the community. Learn how Christ changes us and calls us to be a light to our communities.


Bob Thune, MA (Reformed Theological Seminary), is the lead pastor of Coram Deo, a gospel-centered church he planted in 2005 in Omaha, Nebraska, after serving as a megachurch college pastor and a Campus Crusade staff member. He is the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Life, The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, and The Gospel-Centered Community, and he is the author of Gospel Eldership. Bob and his wife Leigh have four children.

Will Walker, M.A. (Covenant Seminary), is the lead pastor and church planter of Providence Church in Austin, Texas, a gospel-centered church plant sent out from Coram Deo, where Will was on staff. He is the coauthor of The Gospel-Centered Life, The Gospel-Centered Life for Teens, The Gospel-Centered Community, and Journey to the Cross: Devotions for Lent. Will and his wife Debbie have two children and are looking forward to planting more churches in Austin.

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"This wise and biblically solid guide cuts beneath platitudes to address how the gospel seizes the heart and transforms our desire to do more than merely exist in community, and instead allows us to participate together in God's merciful kindness."
Dan B. Allender, PhD, Professor of Counseling Psychology and Founding President, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology; Author

"Using this resource is a no-brainer. It's a practical, biblical, gospel-saturated study that connects the dots between community and the rich Christian life, without losing anyone's attention! Pastors, your people will thank you for using this small group studyÑand you will thank God for the fruit!"
Dave Harvey, Pastor; Author of Am I Called? and ;When Sinners Say I Do

"The word 'community' has become such a buzzword in Christian circles that it has almost lost its meaning. Bob and Will bring us out of the land of the buzzword and into the biblical definition and application of what it means to share our lives in the church through the gospel. I highly recommend this book."
Darrin Patrick, DMin, founder of The Journey, St. Louis, MO; author of Church Planter: The Man, The Message, The Mission

"Will Walker and Bob Thune offer probing questions to confront your small group head-on with the transforming power of the gospel as it works through a community. If you are looking for a resource that could bring real change to the small group environment of your church, this is it."
Matt Carter, Pastor of Preaching and Vision at the Austin Stone Community Church and coauthor of The Real Win: A Man's Quest for Authentic Success

"I'm a cynical old preacher who knows that real community in the church is hard to come by. But Thune and Walker's gift to us of this wonderful and practical small group resource gives this old preacher hope. It should be read and underlined by every leader in the church. Use this small group resource and then you, with me, will 'rise up and call them blessed.'"
Steve Brown, Key Life radio program Bible teacher; author of Three Free Sins

"Everyone longs for community. And pastors long to shepherd churches that are deeply, authentically communal. In The Gospel-Centered Community, Robert Thune and Will Walker provide church planters, pastors, small group leaders, and all Christians a clear, accessible tool for working through the messy challenges of living in community, and for growing together as the body of Christ."
Daniel Montgomery, Lead Pastor, Sojourn Community Church, Louisville, KY

"This is an incredibly helpful resource for fostering gospel-centered community in your church. Whether you are planting a new church, or aiming to strengthen an existing community, you will find this resource profoundly valuable. The Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. This book will help you develop a healthy, biblical view of Christian community."
Ben Peays, Executive Director, The Gospel Coalition

"The Gospel-Centered Community is an incredible introduction and practical guide for helping us live out the radical implications of God's grace and love together. The gospel is personal, but it's definitely not private. Why do we need each other? How does grace reframe and refocus our relationships? What's the difference between an ingrown 'club-ish' church, and a community of believers who are learning to live and love missionally? That's what this little gem is all about!"
Scotty Smith, Founding Pastor of Christ Community Church; Teacher in Residence at West End Community Church; author of Everyday Prayers: 365 Days to a Gospel-Centered Faith

"Thune and Walker's first small group study, The Gospel-Centered Life, had a profound and life-changing impact on our church. Our small groups worked through the book, and everyone responded with great enthusiasm. With the publication of The Gospel-Centered Community, it appears they've done it again. I'm certain this short volume will take us even deeper into what it means to live in a community fashioned by the gospel of grace. Every church that longs to experience the development of healthy, Christ-centered and gospel-shaped community should avail themselves of this excellent resource."
Sam Storms, Lead Pastor, Bridgeway Church, Oklahoma City, OK

"Thune and Walker deftly diagnose our tendencies to hide and isolate, and then show how gospel practices enable us to live in rich, real community. Loneliness is lethal, and the faint hope we've harbored for more finds fulfillment in gospel-centered community."
Glenn Lucke, President, Docent Research Group; coauthor Common Grounds: Conversations about the Things That Matter Most

"We desperately need to apply the gospel to our life together so we can live out our calling to be 'the light of the world' and a 'city on the hill.' Thune and Walker give us an insightful, clear, easy-to-follow road map for applying the humility, kindness, and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ to our relationships at church and in our community."
Angelo Juliani, Church planter, Bridge Community Church (PCA), Philadelphia, PA

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17 Reviews

  • 4

    Posted by David Schwingle on 08 26 2019

    Helpful for adult bible study

  • 5
    Excellent Guide

    Posted by Craig Wood on 10 01 2018

    A fresh application and adaptation of Jack Miller's Sonship materials to building groups and communities around gospel principles. I used this study with a "test" small group and they loved it, so I plan to use it many more times. In the modern world of cyber-relationship, we need to learn how to reconnect in personal, sprirtual and biblical ways to build authentic and redemptive communities. This book paves the way.

  • 5
    Forming Your Community Group in the Gospel and Bearing its Fruit

    Posted by Craig P Hurst on 10 01 2018

    Central to the nature of God is His triune nature. That is, He is three in one. He is a triunity. This communicates community within the trinity. It is out of this community in the trinity that forms the foundation for man's communion with both God and man. This is what lies behind the idea of gospel-centered communities. We form community as God is community and we form this community around the gospel God has revealed to us. Being gospel-centered is the rage today. And this is a good thing. There are those who use the label but do not deliver on gospel-centered content. With the goal in mind of actually producing gospel-centered material, World Harvest Mission (WHM) has released a small book, The Gospel-Centered Community, in an effort to help small groups do just that. The authors are Robert H. Thune and Will Walker who have previously written the accompanying material The Gospel -Centered Life. Their goal is to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the gospel and in turn help us to apply that so that we are actually gospel-centered individuals and communities. WHM's material is short but very focused and intent on offering solid Biblically based gospel content in order to form grounded and purposeful communities around the gospel. The book follows the basic four part storyline of the Bible and the gospel presented in it: creation, fall, redemption and consummation. The material is designed to be used in a small group and is divided into a section on gospel foundations followed by a section on gospel application. As the first section lays down a gospel foundation Thune and Walker cover the basics of the gospel itself and then looks at how it shapes community. Community is created in the nature of God, broken in the fall, redeemed in Christ and transformed in the community of the church as we wait for its final consummation in the return of Christ. In fleshing out the gospel further the authors discuss both what makes and breaks community. The application portions of the first section have very pointed questions and statements designed to get the readers attention so they can be brought out their selfish comfort zones of isolation from others. The second section of the book addresses what a gospel-centered community looks like when the gospel begins to take over in the life of a community. The basis for this is "faith working through love" as found on Galatians 5:6. After laying a foundation in this verse the authors discuss what the fruit of a gospel-centered community looks like. There is a joy in our salvation, humility in our living, honesty in our sharing, grace in our accepting and finally "moving towards others as God moves towards them." (85) This final step is the goal of the gospel shaping our communities. Our growth in understanding the gospel results in our living out the gospel in our lives which in turn pushes us out towards others in sharing the gospel. In short, a gospel-centered community is a gospel-sharing community. It proclaims to the world in word and deed the message and implications of the gospel. The Gospel-Centered Community material is perhaps the best first book to walk a small group through in order to provide a Biblical foundation for its existence. Whether you are leading or are in a new group forming or an old group that needs to refocus, this material is for every group. NOTE: I received this book for free from New Growth Press in exchange for an honest review. I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review and the words and thoughts expressed are my own.

  • 4
    Now is the time for churches to study this truth

    Posted by Kevin Sorensen on 10 01 2018

    The church which I pastor has been on a long run of experiencing God's grace and goodness in their love for one another. I have never, in over 16 years as their pastor, seen a group of people who want to love one another and care for one another like we do. Yet… You knew there was going to be a 'yet' or a 'Yes, but…' I know we can do better, do more and grow deeper, as well as see that broaden our outreach and contact with unbelievers. But how? Along comes New Growth Press, asking me to review a study guide in a series of 'Gospel-Centered _______' books from World Harvest Mission. The timing of receiving this particular book, 'The Gospel-Centered Community' is about as perfect as I've ever seen. One of the primary focal points of ministry for our church in 2014 will be developing and growing true fellowship and community. This study guide will become one of the key tools in helping our congregation understand what that is, what it looks like and how to carry it out. Each chapter (there are nine) starts out with a one-page description of the 'Big Idea' for that chapter. Then there's an article to read (usually about 5-6 pages) that will give the participant a good grasp on that 'Big Idea' principle. Then, to close things off and to ensure that no one is merely a hearer of the Word without being a doer of the Word, there's an exercise to carry out. Once a person or a group has studied the very foundations of a gospel-centered community, they move on to see what the fruit of such a community will look like. I believe, if this study guide were to be used by churches and their small groups (whatever name they give such groups) would benefit them greatly. I've become more and more convinced that this is one of the acts of the early church that made them grow in the respect of the general public. And goodness knows, we could use that in our American culture now.

  • 5
    The gospel

    Posted by Paul J Records on 10 01 2018

    The small group bible study that I attend on Tuesday evening is studying this book and series.

  • 5
    It took a little longer than I thought it should to get here but it finally arrived and the product is great!

    Posted by Margaret on 10 01 2018

    Book was exactly as described, many thanks; it took a little longer than I thought it should to get here but it finally arrived and the product is great!

  • 5
    Rich material and clear applications

    Posted by Anonymous on 10 01 2018

    A great vision for discipleship that everyone can grasp and take part in. We are seeing great growth (in depth and in numbers) in our campus movements as a result of using these great "Gospel-centered" works.

  • 4
    Four Stars

    Posted by Jan on 10 01 2018


  • 5
    Five Stars

    Posted by Mark W on 10 01 2018

    Item was described accurately and arrived promptly.

  • 4
    I enjoyed using this book with my small group and has ...

    Posted by Jeff Leung on 10 01 2018

    I enjoyed using this book with my small group and has helped us to open up and look deeper into scripture about how a community should look with Jesus at the center. This is very detailed and has plenty of scripture passages

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