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If you want to grow a vine or other climbing plant at the side of your house, you’ll need a trellis for it to climb on. But you don’t stand back and admire the trellis. Eventually, you want to see a fruitful vine cover it. The trellis is a useful support and gives structure, but it’s not the goal.

Our goal as Grace Church is not to grow programs or an institution (the trellis). We want to make disciples (Mat 28.19). And that is the church because church is people.

Disciples making disciples

All of us are disciples. All of us sit at Jesus’ feet and walk with him and learn from him. But all of us are also disciple-makers. We help each other to know and love Jesus. So in a church family, every one of us has the privilege of encouraging others to look to Jesus. And that’s ‘ministry’. We often think of ‘ministry’ as something Pastors do, but it’s a word that simply means ‘service’. And we serve one another best when we point each other to Jesus. So Paul writes: “[Christ] gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” –Ephesians 4.11-12 Ministers and staff within a church are not the ‘do-ers’ of the ministry of all the saints. They are equippers. Our goal in Grace Church is that every one of us is a disciple-maker with the gifts God has uniquely given each of us (1 Corinthians 12). The church is about people. And we want to help each other grow for God’s glory.

Disciples making disciples

Building capacity

Life is full. Work. Family. Friends. Church. It’s all too easy for church activity to fill every gap in your diary. And if there is too much church stuff crammed into your week, you will find meeting people informally either becomes a burden or simply doesn’t happen. Church shouldn’t make relationships difficult. So when we plan our church calendar, we want to build in capacity for us to meet each other. This means we are intentionally program-lite. But that is so that we can be intentional about being richly involved in the lives of non-Christian friends and others within the church family.

Building capacity

Working it out in practice

Good intentions are a good start. But to help us put them into practice, we’ve put ‘Encouraging One Another’ into our monthly calendar. So for one week per month, we don’t have Home Groups. Instead, we’d encourage everyone within the church to meet up with others: perhaps a one-to-one before breakfast, a triplet meeting in Starbucks, two couples together, a group of friends sharing a curry. We want to get beneath the trivial in our conversations. We want to be intentional about encouraging and praying for one another. We want to create a culture where we ‘minister’ to one another by helping each other grow as disciples of Jesus Christ. And that this culture becomes normal and natural for us. This is core to our vision: to be joy-filled disciples who are hungry to learn and grow. And that as we do this, we find we are driven to be more dependent on God through prayer. “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5.11

Working it out in practice

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