Purpose: The purpose of this Vision is to provide our congregation a trustworthy framework (guideline, pathway, vehicle, set of filters) to personalize and execute our mission (Know God, Grow in Faith, and Go Serve) to the glory of God.
GracePlace Church of Christ is an autonomous and evolving church servant-led by Shepherds who work closely with a trained Ministry Team and the Congregation to make decisions in line with our mission of Know, Grow, Go. Below are the filters we use to carry out our mission of Know, Grow, Go:
The Greatest Commandment (Loving God first, Matthew 22:36-40) – We seek to love God first and foremost above our own desires, fears, and comforts. So we come before Him humbly and in prayer as our initial step above anything else to pursue His desires before our own.
In addition, we believe in the authority of scripture and use it as the foundation for any decision, event, celebration, or confrontation within our church family. When we are uncertain, we study the scriptures together and seek God’s wisdom. We may even call upon trained and experienced consultants to help guide us in our study of tougher issues. However, we distinguish between what is God’s absolute truth in scripture and tradition. Tradition is important to our church but does not govern us and we are not bound by it. We extend to all the privilege of holding personal preferences, but they must not be imposed on others. Our goal is to present Jesus in a relevant way to our local, contemporary culture in order to serve God’s kingdom even if it means changing tradition but not changing the gospel.
The Second Greatest Commandment (Loving Others, Matthew 22:36-40) - We value love above all things (1Corinthians 13). We accept one another. We forgive one another. We extend grace to all. We are known as welcoming servants: in our homes, in our groups, in our assemblies, and in our hearts. We hold one another accountable to holy living. We disciple first ourselves under the Lordship of Jesus, then our families and finally we bring others to Him and under Him.
In order to love one another, we prize unity in the Spirit, even in the midst of great diversity, believing an authentic faith can subdue our divisive instincts. We are sensitive to and respectful of the economic, generational, gender, and ethnic varieties among members of the Body, as well as our neighbors. We expect Christians to get along, "giving preference to one another in honor" (Romans 12:10). The Body cannot bear selfish, me-first, entitled attitudes (1 Corinthians 12). Grumbling and gossip are toxic and potentially sinful. We maturely tolerate disagreements, but not disagreeable spirits. Conflicts must always be headed toward peaceful and charitable resolutions to protect and honor both strong parties and weak parties (1 Cor 10:23-33). Unity of the Body often depends on the "sweet reasonableness" of long-standing members to seek, accept, and disciple "new babes in Christ," even when different forms (models, styles, schemes) are practiced to attract them. Scripture is plain: "We are all one in Jesus, all chasing maturity." (Col 1:28)
The Great Commission (Go and Make Disciples, Matthew 28:18-20) – Growth is essential to both individuals and the Body. We can't suffer stagnation or complacency. We are a church on the move. Change is not our adversary; every living organism adapts to survive and thrive. We are not afraid to try new things or ways if they promote the Gospel. We expect flexibility and adaptability from our members. We judge all things by our Lord's standard: Is it bearing fruit?Are we making new coverts?Are we maturing in faith, hope, and love? Are we impacting the community ("a crooked and perverse generation") with light and salt and truth?
Discipleship begins within our church family in teaching and training them to Know the gospel, Grow in the gospel, and then Go serve others and share the gospel. We believe in the importance of every member being involved in a small group that helps them grow, but also helps them serve others and share the gospel. Our primary goal is to bring others to know Jesus Christ crucified, resurrected, and present in the Holy Spirit. We expect all to make sacrifices, including stretching our comfort zones, to advance His Kingdom. As a Disciple-making church we require gospel participation from everyone. We need players in the Go, not spectators. We will not subject our calling to "be the pillar and support of the truth" (1Tim 3:15) to the scrutiny of opinion or postmodern subjectivity. We do, however, speak the truth in love with gentleness and reverence reflecting Jesus' concern for attracting new disciples. We condemn with great caution, and only then, destructive practices contrary to the Royal Law of Love (James 2:8-13).
Therefore, the Great Commandments and Great Commission encourage us as a church to ask the following questions in order to fulfill our mission in all we do:
If it is Jesus-Centered and Spirit-led, then the following questions are invited as guidance in carrying out our mission: