What Makes Grace Church Different?
- The services will be substantive and biblical, not a waste of time with trivial things.
- There will be no manipulation or manufacturing of God’s presence.
- We will not make much of ourselves, but we will make much of the Lord Jesus Christ.
- We are not numbers-oriented, but people-oriented.
- We desire to see what God can do through His Word, not what man can produce.
- There will be no pressured invitations, but a cultivated atmosphere for obedience.
- We are more focused on inward change than outward response.
- We want to bring God maximum glory, and you maximum joy.
9 Marks of a Healthy Church
At Grace Church, we are committed to making the priorities the priorities. These 9 Marks are the key elements that we have sought to make evident in the life of our church. These are the things that matter most to us, because we believe that they are essential to building a healthy church.
This is preaching which expounds what Scripture says in a particular passage, systematically and carefully explaining its meaning and applying it to the congregation. It is a commitment to hearing God’s Word and to recovering the centrality of it in our worship.
Paul charges Titus to “teach what is in accord with sound doctrine” (Titus 2:1). Our concern should be not only with how we are taught (style), but with what we are taught (content). Biblical theology is a commitment to know the God of the Bible as He has revealed Himself in Scripture and to respond to it in submissive and glad obedience.
Biblical Understanding of the Good News
The gospel is the heart of Christianity. But the good news is not that God wants to meet people’s felt needs or help them develop a healthier self-image. We have sinfully rebelled against our Creator and Judge. Yet He has graciously sent His Son to die the death we deserved for our sin, and He has credited Christ’s righteousness to those who repent of their sins and believe in Jesus’ death and resurrection. That is the good news.
Biblical Understanding of Conversion
The spiritual change each person needs is so radical, so deep, that only God can do it. We need God to convert us. Conversion need not be an emotionally heated experience, but it must evidence itself in godly fruit if it is to be what the Bible regards as a true conversion.
Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
How someone shares the gospel is closely related to how he understands the gospel. To present it as an additive that gives non-Christians something they naturally want (i.e. joy or peace) is to present a half-truth, which elicits false conversions. The whole truth is that our deepest need is deliverance from our sin and transforming spiritual life, and that new life only comes by repenting of our sins and believing in Christ alone. When we preach and witness, we present the gospel openly, and leave the converting to God.
Biblical Understanding of Membership
Membership should reflect a living commitment to a local church in attendance, giving, prayer and service; otherwise it is meaningless, worthless, and even dangerous. We should not allow people to gain or keep membership in our churches for sentimental reasons or lack of attention. To be a member is to make a spiritual commitment and to be knowingly traveling together as aliens and strangers in this world as we head to our heavenly home.
Biblical Church Discipline
Church discipline gives parameters to church membership. The idea seems negative to people today – “didn’t our Lord forbid judging?” But if we cannot say how a Christian should not live, how can we say how he or she should live? Each local church actually has a biblical responsibility to judge the life and teaching of its leaders, and even of its members, particularly insofar as either could compromise the church’s witness to the gospel, and to hold them accountable according to the Scriptural guidelines and process.
Promotion of Christian Discipleship and Growth
A pervasive concern with church growth exists today – mostly with growing numbers, but not with growing members. Though many Christians measure other things, the only certain observable sign of growth is a life of increasing maturity through holiness and God-centeredness, rooted in Christian self-denial. These concepts are nearly extinct in the modern church. Recovering true discipleship for today, not merely more church programs, will build the church and promote a clearer witness to the world.
Biblical Understanding of Leadership
Although there are obvious differences, one thing that eighteenth-century Baptists and Presbyterians often agreed upon was that there should be a plurality of elders in each local church to shepherd the members. This plurality of elders is not only biblical, but practical — it has the immense benefit of rounding out the pastor’s gifts to ensure the proper shepherding of God’s church and ensuring more thorough shepherding of member’s needs, as well as providing better and more biblical leadership of the church as a whole.
Our mission and passion at Grace Church is to help you enjoy God and all of His grace. In fact, that’s why we exist – to know Jesus Christ, glorify, and enjoy Him…forever!
Everything we do here at Grace Church, from providing sound biblical teaching and God-centered worship to being a warm and loving fellowship of friends, is aimed at magnifying our great God and bringing you great joy.
Therefore, our mission is to passionately glorify God through several key areas of ministry focus:
1. Evangelizing unbelievers both locally and globally.
In addition to several annual events of organized evangelistic outreach, the primary way we encourage believers to do evangelism is to utilize existing relationships to reach out to neighbors, families, and friends with the message of the Gospel, to take a real interest in the lives and needs of others, in order to build a relationship with them that opens the door for the sharing of the Gospel. We believe that this is most natural and effective way to reach unbelievers with the good news, and avoids manipulative methods and pushy pressure.
World missions is a growing passion for us at Grace Church. Beyond financially supporting missionaries and missions projects, we are building a missions strategy that will foster personal involvement in short and long term missions trips, and in international mission projects that contribute to the planting of local churches. We have big dreams, and pray for God to do great things.
2. Developing believers in spiritual maturity through a process of intentional discipleship.
Jesus said in John 8:31-32 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
We take spiritual maturity seriously at Grace Church. We believe that discipling believers to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth, is a nonnegotiable responsibility and deep joy of the church.
Therefore, we take seriously the responsibility to train up children and adults that are strong in the Lord and in His Word. Through our Sunday School, children and youth are taken through a thoroughly God-centered and doctrinally-sound curriculum aimed at raising up a godly generation. Jesus said to make disciples and teach them, and that’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
For adults, we have developed a 2-year process of discipleship in the key doctrines and disciplines of the Christian faith. We take the time necessary to teach, love, pray, hold one another accountable, and encourage one another in such a way that fosters an environment of grace and personal growth in Christ. We’ve had to joy of watching God use this process to take the newest of believers and make them remarkably strong in the truth.
Discipleship is something we take as a core function of the church, and we seek to accomplish the task of 2 TImothy 2:2, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.”
3. Equipping disciples to use their gifts in effective service to Christ’s body.
Because God has sovereignly endowed every believer with spiritual gifts for the work of the ministry, we believe in equipping believers to serve in what we call gift-oriented ministry. We seek to encourage and equip believers to use the particular gifts that God has given them to serve the body of Christ in ways that fit their giftedness. This not only brings maximum joy and fulfillment to the believer, but greater glory to God.
Too often, many Christians function in a ministry that does not match their spiritual gifts. They’re doing things they weren’t meant to do, and therefore not fulfilling their purpose. That is counterproductive to both the spiritual flourishing of the individual Christian, and the church.
A healthy church is a church where members are doing the jobs God designed them to do. So we believe that one of the roles of church leadership is to identify those gifts and place people in the corresponding ministries, and then release them by empowering them to do the work of the ministry.
God does not fulfill His plans through super-gifted superstars, but through humble servants who faithfully serve according to their gifts. Therefore, the task of the leadership is to train the people to use their gifts effectively. In other words, church leaders are not simply to lead, but also to develop other servants and leaders!
Each week adults gather every Sunday morning at 9:30am for approximately forty-five minutes to study the truths of Scripture and to pray for one another in an intimate setting. The teaching seeks to compliment our pulpit ministry through studies in God’s Word that will produce an “applied theology” in the lives of our people. We strive hard to provide ample opportunity to grow in “grace and knowledge”, from our Sunday School Bible study hour, to our Sunday evening Bible Study classes structured to explore crucial doctrine and lifestyle issues related to Christian living.
Here at Grace Church, we take the Great Commission seriously – all of it. Jesus said, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20). After a person believes on Christ, the next step is to begin to grow spiritually.
Unfortunately, many believers never get going on the journey – the journey to maturity. At Grace, we make discipleship a priority. We are committed to coming along side of you and helping you in your journey to greater Christ-like maturity. That means teaching believers more of God’s Word and God’s ways. It’s what He’s commanded us to do in the Great Commission.
At Grace Church, we lead believers through a 2-year process of in-depth study of systematic theology and church history, using Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology and other important books. Men and women meet bi-weekly on alternating weeks.
Growing in maturity doesn’t happen overnight. It’s not an event, it’s a process. A process that Jesus Himself used with the 12 disciples, which made them the kind of men who “turned the world upside down.” (Acts 17:6) Christ made that kind of impact on the disciples through having a mentoring relationship with them. And that’s the approach we take here at Grace.
At Grace Church, we understand that parents are the daily mentors and primary disciplers of their children. So the role of the church is to come alongside parents to support, encourage, and assist them in raising godly young people, helping them become godly adults.
Our objective is to actively shepherd the families of our church in spiritual growth by evangelizing and discipling youth in both formal ministries and informal discipleship relationships.
Currently, we have two formal ways of doing this.
First, on Sunday mornings, Middle School and High School classes meet before the main worship service. Youth are taught the great doctrines of Scripture and why they matter so much. We want to lay a solid foundation of Scriptural truth so that the next generation will stand on Christ and His Word for lifelong Christian faithfulness.
Second, we host a bi-weekly Sunday night gathering made up of both Middle and High schoolers for worship, Bible study, fellowship, and games. The Bible is taught in a way that is relevant and easy to apply. The aim is to train their hearts to walk in the ways of Jesus.
These two formal settings provide the teachers and the leaders a tremendous opportunity to get to know youth more personally and form spiritually intentional relationships. So, these formal teaching ministries open the door to many informal opportunities for personal discipleship beyond the classroom setting.
We want to disciple young Christians to become strong, dedicated, lifelong Christian disciples and leaders. And beyond teaching and discipling them, we know that youth must be also involved in serving. So, across a wide variety of church ministries you will find our youth serving alongside both the young and the old, ministering to the church body in edifying ways.
We provide opportunities for service and ministry under the direction of adult leaders, providing a team-based approach to ministry where the older are investing in the younger to practically apply doctrine and Biblical principles with the intent of seeing belief turn into behavior (James 2:26).
Our goal is to “pass the baton” to the next generation. This imagery represents our desire as a church to develop teens into mature disciples of Christ, to develop those who are young in their faith to be mature, Christ-honoring believers.
Children are a precious treasure – a true blessing and heritage from God. At Grace, we welcome children, teach and minister to children, and want to love children like Jesus Himself did, because He loves them and wants to save them and meet all their deepest needs.
Our aim is to direct every child’s heart to God through providing a balanced atmosphere of instruction and fun. At Grace, we realize that part of why the church exists is to help parents bring children up in the nurture and instruction of the Lord. (Eph. 6:4) To that end, we have a variety of ministries designed to assist parents in shepherding their child’s heart.
At Grace Church we believe that children need purposeful, intentional, formal instruction in the Word of God. If we use a hit or miss approach to teaching the Word of God, there will be gaps in their knowledge. This will limit their faith in God; or there will be a misunderstanding of God because of an incomplete picture of who He is. This mandates us to use an accurate, God-centered, complete, formal curriculum which acquaints young disciples with the whole counsel of God. In essence, children need a theology. They need doctrine. They need to know the Word of God intimately. They cannot be kept from error or superficial faith if they do not know the Word.
So, rather than repeating familiar stories over and over, and ignoring vast portions of Scripture, we have decided to utilize a curriculum which encompasses the full counsel of God by implementing a formal, step-by-step training in the Bible through a God-centered perspective. Thus, we employ a curriculum which is true to the intent of Scripture. Much of the curriculum written for children today is moralistic in nature and teaches the Bible with the aim of simply producing good behavior in children. Yet, teaching which is true to Scripture presents the Bible as one continuous, interconnected story of the revelation of the character of God and His plan of redemption of man. Acquainting children with God is the goal of our Bible teaching. Good morals follow when children fall in love with God and His character and want to please Him and to be like Him.
We have designed a special service aimed at children age 4 to 4th grade on the 2nd and 4th Sunday Mornings of each month, (the other Sundays the children stay in the main worship service so they can participate and learn how to worship the Lord alongside their parents). Trained leaders minister to the children through a message from Scripture, object lessons, songs, missionary stories, and much more. This special time is aimed at not simply being a childcare time, but a significant time for teaching them important things about God’s Word and God’s ways.
These trained leaders also include our Youth, as this provides them with an opportunity to teach and develop leadership gifts under the direction of adults. So this service’s purpose is really two-fold, one to present the gospel in a more age-specific manner, but also to provide our Youth a vehicle to apply the truths they are learning in leadership positions within the church.