“How’s the church going?”
“Where is your church’s building?”
“Oh, y’all aren’t a church yet?”
These are just a few of the questions that have been asked directly to me just in the last month. As interesting as some of the questions are, I honestly have grown to love them. Here’s why:
- It gives me an opportunity to not be offended or shocked by a question someone throws at me and to practice grace.
- It gives me an opportunity to answer them in ways that those who ask are not expecting.
- It gives me an opportunity to share the specific vision of our church(and often the Gospel) with other people.
- It provides more opportunities to share the vision with myself, because I need to hear it over and over again.
- It challenges me to continually be in prayer and preparation for the direction the Lord is leading us.
It also reminds me that I have been the person asking uninformed questions before, and how much I benefitted from the patient, graceful, intentional time and thought others have spent with me sharing about why things are the way they are.
My goal here is not to answer these specific questions, but to provide some information about where we are headed as a church in the coming weeks.
Since September, we have been meeting as a team each Sunday Night. We have spent some pretty intentional and intense time walking through some foundational aspects of the Gospel and some foundational aspects of the mission and culture of Grace Harbor. Our Mission and Culture is purposefully simple in its presentation, but extremely broad in its exposition. In fact, by the end of March, we will have spent 12 weeks covering the content and meaning of this simple idea:
Grace Harbor Church exists to bring glory to God by making disciples.
We seek to accomplish this Through the Gospel, In Community, and On Mission.
If you ask any of those who have led or participated in these discussions, they would agree that we could have spent more than 12 weeks on this. The truth is, we will be spending more than 12 weeks on it! Our goal is to keep these things ever before us and to continually communicate and practice these things.
So what exactly does life look like for Grace Harbor after March?
We will begin a weekly Sunday morning corporate gathering. We will worship together corporately on a Sunday morning for the first time on Easter(April 1). As much as we love the small and intimate setting of our Sunday night community group time, we sense that it is time for us to provide an opportunity for our people to gather corporately to hear God’s Word preached, to exalt Christ through song, and to observe the ordinances of the church together. Our people are eager and ready for this and we believe this will create an opportunity to become more of a tangible presence and blessing to our city. We have been very intentional about communicating with our people that this is not intended to become the primary way we bless our city, but it is one of the ways we can bless our city. We will continue to communicate that the primary way we desire for Grace Harbor to minster to her people and those who are far from Christ is through our Community Groups as they live on mission with one another.
We will begin to see our Community Groups(CG’s) multiply. Right now we gather as one group, but are immediately ready to see that CG become two groups. We will not rush into this transition, but over these last 6 months we have identified and equipped three other leaders who will be prepared to lead a group when it is time. We will commission our second group to meet specifically together for 4 of our 8 CG nights from the week following Easter through the last week of May. Our hope is that when we launch later in 2018, we would already have multiple community groups happening in various parts of OKC.
We will continue to cast a strong vision for multiplication. Though we are barely off the ground ourselves, we are casting a strong vision for multiplication. When asked about what our goals are for the next 3, 5, 10, 40 years, we try to stick very close to these three things: multiplying disciples & leaders, multiplying communities(CG’s), and multiplying churches. We are finding this is not an easy task to naturally keep at the front of our minds. We are also finding that there is nothing more fulfilling than praying, preparing, and dreaming about this. Ray Ortlund recently said, “Dear church planter, stop thinking in terms of survival. Plan more than two years out, even more than 20. Think and pray 200 years out– up to, through, and beyond the historic revival that is coming, when your city will be re-Christianized. Your church matters that much.” We think a healthy and robust vision and plan for multiplication is what will carry us not only for the next decade, but the next century.