GRACE CHURCH NWA

2828 NORTH CROSSOVER ROAD

FAYETTEVILLE, AR  72703

SUNDAY WORSHIP  10:15 AM

Have you ever stood in the expansive shadow of a California redwood tree?

 

Of all the stunning reminders of God’s majesty and artistry, this magnificent behemoth is one of the most breathtaking. The tallest redwoods stretch higher than a 35-foot skyscraper and grow to weigh almost two million pounds over a lifespan of 2,000 years. The tops of their branches support an ecosystem entirely different than the one far below.

But even redwoods, with their imposing power and bulk, aren’t as strong when they stand alone.

 

A redwood’s root system can extend more than a hundred

miles. As it grows, its roots become entwined with those of its neighbors; together, they give each other support, strength and stability to stand against the destructive winds and floods of the Northwest. Scientist have recently discovered these interconnected roots also share nutrients and pass along information.

 

At Grace Church, we see a profound and beautiful picture there of what it means to live in community with followers of Jesus Christ. It resonates with us, because we’re committed to pursuing Him and walking out our faith in communion with a family of believers. We might differ from time to time in the way we define “community,” but we understand that it begins for all of us with being connected. Rooted together. Gaining strength and learning from one another. Loving God and serving others and the world while building relationships within our Grace Church family. Being engaged in an ongoing conversation about what Kingdom living is, listening to each other, seeking to learn about each others’ opinions and experiences. Practicing our faith together.

 

Realizing nobody has all the answers.

 

During Discovering Grace, you’ll hear about the basics of what we believe. You’ll learn about our vision, mission and values; how we’re organized, and why. You’ll discover that we want to know one another’s stories; you’ll hear the stories of others in the group, and you’ll be encouraged to let them hear yours. If you’re a veteran of Grace, you’ll be reminded of all this and given the chance to grow in a much deeper understanding of who we are and why we practice things the way we do.

 

If sharing your story is uncomfortable for you—even a little scary—we get it. But when we love God with all our mind, soul, heart and strength, and love others as we love ourselves, we experience the power of grace to defeat fear. With fear out of the way, there’s room for the Holy Spirit to encourage vulnerability and transparency—which, in turn, helps us grow authentic relationships, and authentic community.

 

Discovering Grace will also give you insight into our pledge to Love, Live and Serve. We hope you’ll see something of what it looks like to be part of the ministry of Grace Church, too.

 

And if Discovering Grace confirms for you that God is leading you to connect with our faith community, welcome!

 

PART 1 /

THE SUPREMACY OF CHRIST

 To know the body of believers at Grace Church, you should begin with the heart — the One Thing that drives us, the reason we exist.

 

And here it is:

Jesus is everything. Period.

 

Jesus is the image of the unseen God. All creation testifies to Him as author and creator. All of Scripture and life is informed by Him, and

informs us about Him. The Church belongs to Him. When He became flesh, lived among us, died and was raised, He changed everything, forever! We believe these truths passionately, and we want our belief to be reflected in all we say and do.

 

Rabbinical tradition in Jesus’ day held that students would aspire not only to learn from their teacher, but to be exactly like him; to emulate him so thoroughly that anyone would know who he was simply by knowing them.

 

As followers of Jesus Christ, we’re being transformed by Him. Our aim is to emulate Him so thoroughly that anyone who knows us will know we belong to Him. And the more we cooperate with Him, the greater our transformation will be.

 

But transformation is a journey meant to be walked out together with other believers. That’s one of the reasons community is vital: Beyond praying and studying God’s word together, we live life together. In community, we’re loved, accepted, challenged, encouraged. We care what happens to each other. We allow God to work in us, among us and through us.

 

We help each other learn what Kingdom living is, and how we’re to walk it out. 

 

We make mistakes. Our attention wanders. But in community, we help keep each other focused on the One Thing, the very reason we exist: Jesus is everything. 

PART 2 /

THE PRIMACY OF SCRIPTURE

To pursue a relationship with Jesus Christ, we have to get to know Him. We believe He invites us to know Him, and that He wants to be known — so much so that God inspired a collection of writings to serve this purpose.

 

We believe Scripture reveals Him.

 

We believe those inspired writings are contained in the 66 books of the Biblical canon. Scripture tells us about God’s plan for humankind, shows us a history of His dealings with His creation and invites us to understand our own lives as part of this gigantic story.

 

Of the ways that God chooses to teach us about Himself, Scripture can seem the most comprehensive. It was recorded by people who encountered and were inspired by Him; we can put our hands on it and get our minds around it differently because it’s tangible. So we want to be vigilant to resist giving it life and power that only belong to God, recognizing that it’s informed by — not equal to — the Father, Son and Spirit.

 

As a community of Christ-followers, we want to be grounded in Scripture; to let it inform and inspire our imaginations about how to participate in the Kingdom, and to guide every aspect of our lives. We want to create an environment where we’re all digging into the timeless truths it holds. Keeping a proper perspective on what Scripture is helps us best handle its content as we grow in relationship with God and one another.

 

The Holy Spirit in each of us and among us when we get together allows us to learn from, sharpen and shape one another. We want to receive the message of Scripture eagerly, examine it personally and focus energetically on learning who we should be as a result.

 

A primary role of our elders at Grace Church —especially those who help infuse the Word into the church body through music and teaching — is to provide structure and encouragement to us as our understanding of Scripture deepens, which in turn helps us better understand the nature and character of God and His plans for us.

 

We’re not big on creeds or confessions that explain the Christian faith. None can fully state what we believe. But in order to connect with historic Christianity while leaving room for disagreements on what Paul calls “disputable matters,” we’ve adopted the Nicene Creed. Like all declarations, it’s a product of a particular time and place; of people like us, sorting through what they believed and confessing publicly what they understood to be the building blocks of their faith. It’s also an interpretation, not intended to replace Scripture.

 

Read this version of the creed, and interact with it; consider its strengths and shortcomings, as well as its application in light of our desire — individually and as a faith community — to come to a loving knowledge of Christ through Scripture.

 

“We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and of all things visible and invisible.

 

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of His Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made; who for us and for our salvation came down from Heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate.

 

He suffered and was buried. And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures, and ascended into Heaven and sits at the right hand of the Father. And He will come again with glory to judge both the living and the dead, whose Kingdom will have no end.

 

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets.

 

And we believe in one holy Christian and apostolic Church, we acknowledge one Baptism for the remission of sins, and we look for the resurrection of the dead and the life in the world to come.”

PART 3 /

THE VALUE OF COMMUNITY

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are My friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from My Father I have made known to you.”

                                                       — John 15:12-15

 

The disciples following Rabbi Jesus were more than two years into their journey with Him when He spoke these words from John 15. They had listened to His teaching, challenged Him with questions, talked with Him about the Kingdom of God.

 

And they watched Him. As He healed, blessed, rescued, encouraged and provided for the people they encountered, an interesting pattern emerged: Most often, it was the least, the oppressed, the outcast, the unclean, the broken and the hurting who got His undivided and loving attention.

 

He never took into account their beliefs, resources, social standing or character — only their need. And He always responded with love and compassion, completely unconcerned about whether He would contract a disease, break a cultural taboo or bring trouble on Himself. His only consistent motivation seemed to be His compassion.

 

There’s no quid pro quo with Jesus. We can’t earn what He offers us. He loved us first. We don’t have to prove to Him that we’re worthy, or that He can count on us. He freely gives us His love, grace and mercy, whether we accept them or not.

 

This is the example He lived out for His disciples. For us, too.

 

Jesus began His ministry with the work of restoring things to the way God intended them to be, and offering a glimpse of true Kingdom living when He set captives free, repaired brokenness, loved sacrificially, healed sickness, invited outcasts in and offered grace, mercy, encouragement and hope.

 

He said we’re able to do greater things than He did because the Holy Spirit is alive in each of us, and we can make a powerful impact on the world for Him by loving each other as He loved us.

 

When we accept His invitation to join in the restoration process, we allow His Spirit to love, live and serve through us. When we encounter things that are not as God intended them to be, we can show others in a tangible way what life is like in the Kingdom of God.

 

At Grace Church, we believe the best way to do that, to support one another as we seek to live out the Kingdom, is through community.

 

 

COMMUNITY

“How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life.”

— Psalm 133:1-3, The Message 

 

At different times throughout his remarkable life, David experienced loneliness, physical and spiritual isolation, exile and the fear of a fugitive. He also knew deep friendship and the warmth and necessity of community. In Psalm 133, he takes great care to let us know that community is better. Hands down.

 

He compares community among believers to the sacred oil reserved for use in the ordination of high priests, beginning with Moses’ brother Aaron. And the word picture he gives us to illustrate “unity” describes living in one accord, delighting in one another, giving each other strength and support.

 

So we take a cue from David and place a high premium on growing Grace Church into a deeply-connected community of believers. Being rooted in community doesn’t look the same to all of us. It’s not always comfortable or easy to stay engaged, but we believe it’s vitally important because we come to know things about ourselves in community that we could never learn on our own. And because disconnection from the Church makes us numb to the needs of others and exacerbates our brokenness, sickness, isolation and hurt. 

 

Knowing none of us have all the answers, we want to figure out together what it means to live in the Kingdom, in community, in a way that demands a Gospel explanation. We want to listen to one another. Serve God and “do life” together. Share meals, have fun and make memories. Grow together in our faith. Encourage each other as we become willing stewards of the gifts God has given us. Learn each other’s stories, experiences and opinions. Engage in discipleship.

 

And keep Jesus at the center of it all.

 

 

GRACE GROUPS

“He said, ‘That you love the Lord your God with all you passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence — and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.’ ‘Good answer!’ said Jesus. ‘Do it and you’ll live.’"

— Luke 10:27-28, The Message

 

To really know and love each other authentically, we have to spend time together. That’s why being an active part of a smaller group, or Grace Group, is central to being involved in the life of our church.

 

If the Grace Church community is a whole body, think of Grace Groups as its heart: necessary for life, a more relaxed microcosm of how the Church should function. Defined by the Gospel and focused on the life and work of Jesus, Grace Groups offer a way to experience inclusion in the family of God — and the Grace Church family — by walking out the Kingdom especially closely with a smaller group of people, and amplifying the Kingdom message in tangible ways.

 

Ministry and discipleship happen in our Grace Groups, and connection is critical to their strength. This is where loving, living and serving take place, where deep friendships are often born; Grace Groups represent our first lines of “offense” and “defense” when it comes to meeting each others’ needs. The goal of a Grace Group is to offer a safe place for hurting, struggling, questioning and pursuing a deep, intentional relationship with Christ.

 

When we study, talk together, challenge and encourage one another around the Bible in our Grace Groups every week, we grow a bigger vision for the ministry Jesus calls us to. We call this vision an “active Gospel imagination.” But these meetings are a piece of Grace Group ministry, not its purpose.

 

Bottom line: In your Grace Group, you’re most likely to find the people who invite you in and make you feel completely at home. People you can have fun with, whether you’re sitting around a table or wandering around Crystal Bridges; who’ll forgive you if you break something every time you offer to wash dishes at their house, or if your knowledge of writers and musicians is found lacking.

 

You might have an unspoken agreement with them about where to meet for lunch after worship on Sundays. We hope you’ll find that you can talk with them about all kinds of stuff — your family, your job, your favorite movies, your successes and disappointments —without judgement.

 

Having never met your dad, they might drive six hours in the rain on a Saturday to attend his funeral just in case you need a hug. They’ll probably be the first people you text when your kid has an emergency appendectomy at 5 a.m., and the first people on your doorstep delivering dinner when you’re home from the hospital. 

 

Not everyone in your Grace Group will be just like you. There will be people who challenge and maybe even offend you, but in the context of the group, those things that might otherwise divide us can be used to grow us up, mature and strengthen us. 

 

Your Grace Group should keep Jesus in front of you, encourage you to stretch yourself spiritually and give you grace when you flake out. Often, they’ll be your family when your family is far away, love you just as you are, pray for you and with you.

 

They could grow to mean more to you than you can possibly imagine.

 

At Grace Church, that’s our brand of community. And we invite you to find your place in it.

 

 

COMMUNITY, JUNIOR

We want our children to grow up knowing they’re essential and valuable members of the Grace Church community. From their first Sunday in the nursery until they graduate to middle school, they learn in Grace Kids Groups that they’re created in God’s image and loved unconditionally by God’s Son.

PART 4 /

THE RELEVANCE OF WORSHIP

As we experience the Kingdom and learn together how to live in it, we want to make Jesus Christ the focus of everything we do. That means answering His call to love, live and serve on His behalf out in the world, but also

gathering each week as a faith community to exalt Him. 

 

Worship is relevant to growing a relationship with Jesus. 

 

We worship God one-on-one and as part of our faith community; our individual and corporate worship influence and inform each other. Worship can be — and should be — happening within us all the time. It’s an individual expression of our personal relationship with Christ. When we actively participate in corporate worship, we experience community in a larger way: inclusion in the Grace Church family, as well as the family of God.

 

Worship at Grace offers a safe place for anyone who is hurting, struggling or questioning. Through our songs, prayers, fellowship and Bible study, we’re motivated and encouraged to live holy and righteous lives that glorify God. Our identities are shaped by Scripture, our community and the Holy Spirit.

 

We believe regular, committed participation in worship, as individuals and as a community, helps us recognize where things in our world are not as God intended them to be, and insert ourselves in those situations in tangible ways to give people a glimpse of the Kingdom, our Creator and His Creation. Two elements are especially important to a vibrant, fruitful time of worship: prayer and communion.

 

PRAYER

Jesus’s disciples lived in a culture that was steeped in prayer. For pagans and Gentiles, it was contractual, like a negotiation based on legalities. The gods were distant to them, to be approached methodically and persuasively from a place of fear, need and anxiety. 

 

But the disciples saw something very interesting in the way Jesus prayed, and they wanted to learn how He did it. They didn’t ask Him only to teach them to pray differently — they wanted to learn to pray just like He did. 

 

So He offered them an example that illustrates a critical difference: Pagans prayed for God to show up, to come near. But a Christian prays to be drawn closer to God, because God is already near.

 

We believe that through prayer, we’re drawn into the presence of God as His children. Because of that we can approach Him from a position of safety and security, and count on Him to bring Heaven to earth as He invades our lives, addresses our problems and works on problems we don’t even know we have. We believe prayer is about relationship: how we allow the Holy Spirit to transform us into the image of God, and whether we’re willing to forgive, and be forgiven.

 

Prayer isn’t intended to be a contract; contracts are only necessary where relationships break down. Ultimately, it’s an invitation for Jesus Christ to transform us into His image; into sources of light, warmth and fragrance in the world.

 

Prayer isn’t a way for us to get something. It’s a way for us to become something.

 

COMMUNION

We have to be diligent to keep Jesus Christ as the head of the Church. The Gospel has to be central to everything we do, and communion helps us keep it there. It orders us to ourselves, to those around us and to God.

 

Whenever Jesus sat down to eat, everyone was welcome to join Him. That kind of inclusion was revolutionary in His day, and it’s central to the way we practice communion at Grace Church. We believe communion is the great equalizer, a time to put our differences aside, a table set for anyone who wants to take part.

 

Jesus sends us out into the world to love, live and serve; to spiritually “exhale.” Our lives are informed along the way by our relationships and experiences. When we gather to worship, communion informs who we are. We pray by ourselves or with someone else; we take a close look at what’s going on in our hearts and ask God to make it right. And as we take the elements, communion offers us the opportunity to “inhale,” to be put back together as individuals and as a faith community.

 

Because we submit ourselves to it and allow ourselves to be nourished by it, communion is a meal that sustains us. In a bite of bread and a small cup of juice, we find a seed that grows, expands and never runs out. Jesus promises us that it will never disappoint.

 

When we come to the table, He divides Himself among us so we all get what we need. He’s the portion that satisfies.

PART 5 /

THE NECESSITY OF YOU AND I

We take the phrase “love, live, serve” to heart at Grace Church. These three words sum up our mission and vision as a family of believers; we know that the desire to walk them out grows naturally in all of us when we follow Jesus Christ.

 

We believe God gives purpose and opportunity in the Kingdom to each of us individually, and to our church as a faith community. Take a look at what Peter had to say about how God glorifies Himself through the Church:

 

"You yourselves, as living stones, are built up as a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood and to offer spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

—1 Peter 2:5

 

We believe Church is a team sport, that we’re stronger when we participate in the Kingdom together.

 

So we need to understand the necessity of you and I.

 

Everything starts with God’s love for us. Loving God because He loved us is what motivates us and gives us passion for ministry. His love working in us through the power of the Holy Spirit can produce in all of us love for each other, a desire to serve and an excitement to share the Gospel.

 

One of our priorities at Grace is to create and maintain an environment of sensitivity to the Holy Spirit’s presence and work, because this is what enables us to minister to one another and to live in a way that draws others to Jesus.

 

Peter also tells us that we’re all part of a royal priesthood, each responsible for and capable of ministering. With that in mind, here are a few principles that help us recognize our roles in the Kingdom:

 

  • Jesus is the head of the Church, and we yield to His guidance and authority over it.

 

  • Every member of the body is equipped to live out and share the Kingdom, and to be a minister of the Gospel.

 

  • We’re all encouraged to be passionate followers of Jesus, regardless of where we are.

 

  • Everyone is encouraged to develop personal relationships with the Creator and with each other, and to look for opportunities to serve in Jesus’ name. We want to actively influence our world for Christ.

 

As we grow in relationship with God and each other, we learn to live and serve together in ways that offer concrete demonstrations of God’s love. We believe that our fellowship at Grace Church is a small part of the larger body of Christ, and we want to cooperate with our brothers and sisters any way we can, being faithful with the resources we’re given.

 

So what does it mean to be “plugged in” to Grace Church?

 

Most importantly, it means being accountable to God above any human being or human system. Keeping that priority in focus is really the only way we stand a chance of having healthy relationships in the Kingdom. When we’re secure in our relationship with God, we’re free to commit to, interact with and serve others with clean hearts, clear heads and pure motives.

 

In his book Let God: The Transforming Wisdom of Fenelon, author Winn Collier reminds us how important it is to keep our eyes on Christ as we serve others:

 

We think our eagerness to serve others is always a noble thing. Unfortunately, too often it actually surges from only natural inclinations of human generosity. Worse is when our supposed generosity spurts from a polished up version of plain selfishness, where we gain something (like a good image or a good dose of self righteousness) from the transaction. If this is the case we will often find ourselves disdaining the people we are serving or simply growing spent and frustrated with the whole thing. However, true charity is simple. It stays steady, always offering the same genuineness, the same love, towards our neighbor. True love gives itself away, stays humble, and ignores all the selfishness that obstructs its flow."

 

So as we serve, we try to see our world with the compassion of Jesus; to love and serve others the way He did, sacrificially — without fear; without regard for their beliefs, brokenness and hopelessness; without concern for ourselves.

 

We want to continually ask ourselves and each other: Where do we encounter things that are not as they ought to be, or were intended by God to be? How can we insert ourselves in those situations in a tangible way to give people a glimpse of the Kingdom, the Creator and His Creation?

 

We work toward that goal in a lot of ways, including:

 

  • being committed to praying and being active in studying Scripture personally and along with the Grace community.

 

  • being committed to regularly participating in worship, Grace Groups, personal discipleship and other activities that are part of the life of Grace Church.

 

  • being committed to sharing our different gifts, talents and resources as the Spirit provide opportunities.

 

  • being committed to building the Kingdom within our fellowship, in our communities and beyond.

 

  • being committed to sacrificial sharing of our physical resources as modeled in Scripture.

  • being committed to serving like Christ in the fellowship at Grace, but equally — if not more importantly — in family, job, community, overseas; wherever He leads us.

 

Of course, this is not an exhaustive or exclusive list. More important than any particular expression is the motivation behind it. Basically, our desire is to be passionate followers of Jesus.

 

We hope that in sharing that passion, you will also have a growing passion for His word and be dedicated to working out your beliefs in the context of this community of believers.

PART 6 /

THE REALITY OF GRACE

There are many different religious traditions and experiences represented by the people in our faith community, but Grace Church doesn’t look exactly like any of them.

 

We hope the way we’ve chosen to organize ourselves shows what we’re most committed to: the absolute lordship of Jesus Christ, the value of shared leadership and the importance of reflecting the Kingdom as we love, live and serve. Because it’s the work of the Holy Spirit in us all that enables the spiritual growth and prospering of the Church, the way we do things best reflects what we believe the Bible teaches us about how to live in community as brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

Are we a well-oiled and perfectly-tuned organization of believers? Um, no. 

 

But our goal isn't to live in a state of perfection.

 

It's to rest in the reality of grace.

 

God's grace makes it possible for us to even exist as a faith community. We count on His endless supply, because our structure — like any other — only functions as well as the people who are part of it. In order for it to work, we all must display 

 

     humility (Philippians 2:3)

     peacefulness (Matthew 5:39)

     sacrificial love (John 15:13)

     understanding (1 Peter 3:15)

     servanthood (Matthew 23:5-12)

 

As individuals and as a church, we’ve wrestled at times with the very things that make our fellowship unique; as you learn more about us, maybe you will too. So, ask questions. Reflect on how our structure compares or contrasts with what's important to you as a believer, and allow that to inform your decision about whether God is leading you to be a part of Grace.

 

 

ELDERS

Our church is elder-led. Each elder is equal in position, but all have different gifting. Everyone is encouraged to participate in ministry; everyone is a pastor of sorts. It’s definitely easier to hand over much of the ministry of a church to paid staff, but we believe this approach often robs people of the blessing and gifting God has for them.

 

Here are some important things to know about elder leadership at Grace Church:

 

  • We believe this model closely resembles New Testament examples.

 

  • We want a leadership structure that releases people into ministry and puts Christ at the head.

 

  • We ask our elders to agree unanimously on all the decisions they make.

 

  • We encourage plurality of leadership in all areas.

 

This model isn’t always efficient, but it's proven helpful in protecting us with sound decisions and teaching us how to love and listen to one another. It keeps the elders focused on spiritual direction and oversight, and less on decision-making in day-to-day matters. At the same time, all of the elders are active in different aspects of life at Grace.

 

The elder structure is a collective leadership; those who are ordained share equally the position, authority and responsibility of the office. No one has any particular authority apart from all the others.

 

The process of choosing elders goes like this:

 

  • The serving elders are always looking for, praying about and discussing those in the body who might be qualified to become an elder.

 

  • If they agree on an individual, they’ll ask that person to pray about whether or not they'd serve in this role and share with them the requirements for ordination.

 

  • If the candidate agrees, their name is submitted to the congregation.

     

  • Feedback from the body is either delivered to an elder or given anonymously. This isn't a vote; it’s a way to identify concerns or issues that would disqualify the candidate.

 

After this process is completed, the candidate is ordained as an elder.

 

Serving as an elder isn't a role to be taken lightly. Sometimes the responsibilities can seem overwhelming, which we think confirms the wisdom of establishing a group of people who share these tasks.

 

An elder’s role can be defined this way:

 

  • Seeking to live openly and honestly a life submitted to and continually transformed by Jesus and fellow elders

  

  • Feeding the fellowship by teaching

 

  • Leading the fellowship

 

  • Protecting the fellowship from false teachers

 

  • Working with fellow elders to meet the fellowship’s many practical needs

 

Deciding who should be nominated for ordination as an elder is a daunting task. Scripture names qualifications that relate mostly to a candidate’s moral and spiritual qualities, and whether his most important relationships are healthy ones.

 

In learning more about a candidate, we’re not looking for perfection in all areas; we’re looking for progress, maturity, an excitement about the vision of Grace and a passion to serve God. We believe a candidate should have a Spirit-given motivation to serve and a heart for servant leadership, as well as strong moral and spiritual character. He should be someone who manages his family household well, whose life provides a model for others to follow. And he should be able to teach and share his faith.

 

There are three points that shape our approach to church leadership:

 

  • The Church is a non-clerical community. The early Christian church was a people’s movement. The distinguishing mark of Christianity was the fact that God’s Spirit came to dwell within ordinary, common people; through them, the Spirit manifested Jesus’ life to the world.

 

  • The Church is a humble-servant community. When it functions as it's supposed to, shared leadership requires a tremendous and on-purpose exercise of humble servanthood.

 

  • The Church is under Christ’s headship. Biblical eldership guards and promotes Christ's position over the local church. Elders should be highly accountable, and shared leadership offers them accountability to Christ first, then to their fellow elders and to the faith community they serve.

 

LEADERSHIP

Shared leadership is an important part of our vision, with leaders giving spiritual direction and oversight to our Grace Groups. Networks of leaders in each group can count on each other and share responsibilities, like elders do. This also helps balance and protect the teaching, as well as the teachers.

 

Selection of leaders is an important process; we want to find the right balance of gifting in those who lead our small groups.

 

MINISTRY TEAMS 

There are areas of responsibility at Grace Church coordinated by teams to help us carry out ministry. When you become part of our faith community, we'll encourage you to get involved when you see a need you can fill in any area, including one of these. Because the more people there are serving in a particular area, the lighter the load is for everyone. Similar to other areas at Grace, we encourage shared leadership on our Ministry Teams.

 

     They are:

         Audio/Visual

         Building and Grounds

         Communications

         Connections

         Finance

         Global Workers

         Grace Kids Groups

         Outreach

         Teaching

         Technology

         Worship Coordination

         Worship

         

   

PLUGGED IN

The most visible expression of our love for God is our service to each other, our communities and our world. It’s how others will know we’re different, set apart; where we move from hearing the Word to doing what it says. This service begins and grows in our fellowship at Grace Church.

 

There are plenty of ways you can help out, for instance:

  • greeting at the door on Sunday mornings

  • running sound or slides during worship

  • serving communion

  • helping out with GKG 

  • writing or emailing visitors to welcome them and invite them back

  • mowing and weeding the grounds

  • keeping the kitchen organized

  • rounding up our recycling and taking it to the recycling center

  • serving as a Grace Church liaison to area programs that help the needy

  • encouraging the global workers we support and reporting back when you know of needs we could help them with

 

And that's just for starters. If you'll keep an eye out, you'll probably come up with several ideas of your own. We keep church simple so that we can be in community both inside Grace and out. We believe it's equally important to serve in the places where we live, work, travel, play and socialize.

 

Serving others is a vital part of a passionate Christ-follower’s life, and a person’s passion and commitment should grow through their involvement at Grace.

 

 

Think about what you’ve read. What does it tell you about Grace Church? Do these beliefs intersect with your story? How? Are there things you’d like to share or questions you’d like to ask during our next class?

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