Grace Hills is a simple, purpose driven church. That means that we try to do what we’re told to do by Jesus, and little else. There is plenty of debate today about what a local church ought to look like, with plenty of criticism directed at large churches, in particular, for pouring so many resources into the weekend worship service.
I’ve been reflecting quite a bit on our direction at Grace Hills, and I keep going back to a message I shared before we ever held our grand opening service. I had shared that in the gospels, you can find at least three distinct invitations of Jesus. He invited seekers to come and see, believers to come and die, and followers to go and tell. We tend to argue over which of these approaches is best for the church to take in ministry but I think Jesus would say, all of them.
Much of what we do as a local church relates to the Sunday morning corporate gathering. That’s where we come together to exalt Jesus and worship God. We sing. We preach. We give thanks and offerings. We serve other believers. And, very importantly, we welcome new friends and show them the kind of hospitable family we’d love to be for them. That is to say, we gather, and it’s very important that we do it well.
Another huge part of what we do happens behind the scenes and beyond what the public normally observes. It happens in homes where small groups gather for Bible study. It happens as individuals practice the spiritual disciples such as prayer and Bible study. And it happens as members serve other members in various capacities. As a community, as micro-communities, and as individuals, we’re getting closer to Jesus. In other words, we grow, and it’s vital that we clear the pathway for this growth to happen, and do it well.
And finally, another big part of what we do pertains to causes beyond the doors of the local movie theater where we meet, and beyond the circles in which we do Bible study together. We send missionaries to other places on the planet to pave the way for the gospel. We support local schools and charities with resources and volunteer hours. We take up the causes of the poor, the marginalized, and the oppressed. We go, and going is as important as anything else we do. In fact, if we stop going, our gathering will lose its luster as we fade into irrelevance in our disobedience to God.
Years ago in his best-seller The Purpose Driven Church, Pastor Rick Warren famously said, “A great commitment to the Great Commandment and the Great Commission will grow a great church!” Out of those two key passages of Scripture, we’ve chosen to be about the business of three things, and very little else:
And as we invite the rest of the world to join us – those who are yet unattached and unadopted – we enjoin people to do those three things with us. Come gather with us and see the life-giving power of worshipping King Jesus… Come grow with us as we connect with others, mature spiritually, and serve each other… Come go with us as we tackle global giants and take the gospel to the uttermost part of the earth, starting in Northwest Arkansas.
That’s our mission. It’s simple. Let’s keep it that way.
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