...As the Father sent me, I am sending you. John 20:21
THE WAYS WE ARE TRYING TO THINK ABOUT MISSION AT GRACE
At Grace, we believe that Jesus has called us to be a family of Christ Followers sent to celebrate and declare the gospel in our homes, neighborhoods, workplaces, and to the ends of the earth.
As Grace's pastor, I'm sometimes nervous that we would be faithful only to a portion of this calling. I'm nervous that we would connect as family, which is beautiful, good, and right. I'm concerned that we would learn to grow up into Christ, which is essential, glorious, and productive.
But I fear it would stop there. That we would become focused on all that has to be done to love each other and grow in our faith that we would forget we are God's sent people.
The good news, however, is that these things are not in competition with one another. The ministry of a local church, thankfully, is not a zero-sum game, where an emphasis on one aspect of our identity somehow necessitates a diminishing of the another portion.
Instead, our fellowship with each other, and our discipleship in the way of Jesus, when understood rightly, should propel us outside of ourselves to love, serve, and be the faithful presence of Christ in our world. Instead of Mission being relegated to a department of our church, our sense-of-having-been-sent must pervade all aspects of who we are and what we do.
We want to create a church culture that thinks like this about Mission.
ON A PRACTICAL NOTE
We understand that putting the thinking, stated above, into action doesn't just happen without intentional steps. As a young church plant, we must "plant" this part of our identity too.
We've chosen to begin this process through partnership — both local and global. We're seeking to build relationships with organizations in order join in on the things that the Lord is already doing in our community, in our city, in our nation, and in our world. We've begun giving financially and seeking ways to be involved with the partners listed HERE.
Further, this Fall, we hope to bolster some of our local outreach efforts. These are some initiatives we'll pursue in-house to extend the love of Christ around us. Our ESL program is one example of these efforts.
IMAGINE WITH US
* Imagine members of our body "scattering" thoughtfully each week, intentionally practicing hospitality and inviting outsiders in and purposefully having gospel conversations throughout the week.
* Imagine our folks paying attention to the needs around us and, in Spirit-led fashion, beginning to lead the charge for our body as we engage.
* Imagine Grace people knowing their neighbors, hosting neighborhood gatherings, and importantly, living at a humane and sustainable pace to allow the space for these relationships of gospel intentionality to flourish.
* Imagine our church becoming a refuge and resource center for internationals as they transition to Birmingham.
* Imagine our people forming teams to go and serve our partners for a short-term duration, outside of our city, and maybe throughout the world.
* Imagine an intentional structure in place within our body to identify, train, encourage, and send folks, long term, to the uttermost parts of the earth. Imagine Grace becoming a training center, and a sending center.
* Imagine church planting initiatives where we send out members from our community to begin new works. Imagine a residency program that brings church planters into our body, so that we can send them out.