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Intentional Disciple-making

How do you summarise what God’s family should look like?

Every page of the Bible is about how God’s people should live in his presence. But below is a brief summary of the ways we can best live out in practice what we have been made by grace.

Joy-filled disciples

We want to be a community of disciples, not merely group-members. We will be serious about our sin and heart’s default settings of idolatry and unbelief. We want daily to be quicker to repent, to believe the gospel, and to rest on the finished work of the cross. We want to know the security of our union with Christ, and so with joy become softer-hearted disciples who love Jesus more and are being changed from the inside-out

Living for God’s glory in all of life

We want to know that God can be glorified in everything we do, and so actively seek to bring him pleasure every moment and in every relationship. We will ensure church-gathered (a few hours a week) intentionally serves church-scattered (who we are 160+ hours a week) for the sake of discipleship and mission

Building a real community

We are not like people waiting for a job interview, all presenting our best faces and ready to sell ourselves. We are like people in a doctor’s waiting room, knowing we need help and willing to admit it to each other. So there should be no pretence. We will be increasingly quick to carry each other’s burdens, even if it costs us. We want to be open and welcoming so that gatherings always also include not-yet believers and first-time visitors. We value hospitality enormously. Our homes are central to who we are and how we share our lives with one another

Passionate about mission

We want increasingly to be cut to the heart for the sake of outsiders. We recognise our hearts will always default instead to comfort and safety. For the sake of mission, we want to help everyone in Grace Church to live distinctive and deeply attractive lives where the Father has planted them, rather than uproot them and pull them into centralised programmes

Hungry to learn and grow

The more we know we are safe in the gospel through Jesus Christ, the more we will be teachable and humble. We will use every means to grow by seeking excellence and depth in preaching, home groups, and one-to-ones. We will make the most of different teaching methods and learning styles. We want to be stretched in depth, whilst ensuring truth is riveted into life so that we grow to become more like Christ

Dependent on God through prayer

Our every breath is from the Father. Apart from Christ we can do nothing, and we need the Spirit’s enabling for all the above. We therefore aim to be a people whose lives are prayer-shaped and bring everything we do joyfully and humbly before the Father. We are not ashamed to be completely dependent on him, and so relax in his Fatherly care and sovereignty

…working it out – what this might look like in practice

1.   We will focus on outcomes not practices. So we will look at what we want to see happen, not just what we’re doing or have always done.

 

2.   We will be people-focused not programme-driven. Our goal is always to grow people to become more like Jesus Christ. Our programmes must serve people and therefore be always up for revision and change.

 

3.   We will invest in people. It will take time (and therefore often money) to invest in people’s lives, but we’ll prioritise that even though it looks more risky than building structures.

 

4.   We will build a culture of training. This includes all involved in leading of any sort (home group leaders, Sunday Club teachers, Elders, music group), but also a culture for every member of wanting and expecting to be taught and to work into their lives what they’ve learned. Training therefore includes the idea working things out in practice, not just listening and ‘being taught’.

 

5.   We want to live out the gospel first in our homes, workplaces and everyday life. It is in the context of these relationships that the reality of the gospel is actively demonstrated, seen and experienced (or, tellingly, is not evident).

 

6.   We will ‘go’ rather than ‘bring’. We want to live and speak for Jesus wherever he has placed us. We therefore want to equip every church member to take the aroma of Christ into every corner of their lives, not feel they are just about inviting friends into a Christian sub-culture.

 

7.   We will seek to not add to the busyness of people’s lives whilst recognising that our cultural assumptions always need to be challenged. We will be intentional about making space for members to spend time with their families and non-Christians.

 

8.   We will aim for excellence and depth in fewer activities rather than mediocrity in too many, recognising that the good can be the enemy of the best.

9.   So we will have courage to stop things that no longer help us fulfil our vision or that prevent us from doing what most needs to be done.

 

10.   We seek to work in teams so that we help share the load and are protected by the wisdom of others, rather than to appoint lone-rangers.

 

11.   We will be contemporary in culture. We want to be clear and confident at the core of what we believe in the gospel and who we are as God’s people. This will allow us to be flexible culturally so that we are speaking and worshipping in 21st century language and in ways that are accessible to outsiders.

 

12.   We will try things that might fail. We’re a family of God’s people and safe in him.

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