Discipleship

This is of first priority for Grace Fellowship.  Our desire is to help you become a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.  During our transition we are attempting to provide multiple opportunities       outside of Sunday for discipleship.  Whether one on one, or a few people, we are always willing to help you on your journey.  Stay tuned for church wide opportunities for discipleship.    

Family Ministry

The Family Ministry of Grace Fellowship Church seeks to form a strategic partnership between the church and the home for the purpose of equipping both parents and children with the timeless truths of God's word.  The following outlines our vision for Family Ministry: 

Mission:
Grace Fellowship Church Family Ministry exists to glorify God by raising up a Christ centered & Christ exalting generation (Psalm 78:4-7) of children & youth who spread a passion for the glory of God. While upholding parents, and especially fathers, as the primary disciple-makers of their children (Genesis 18:19; Deuteronomy 6:4-7; Ephesians 6:1-4), we will raise up this generation by forming a partnership between the church and home for the purpose of equipping parents to disciple their children (Ephesians 4:11-12) and equipping children to live Gospel-centered lives.    

Grace Fellowship's 3D Vision for Connecting Church and Home:
DEFINE the church and home as “co-champions” of one another
DEVELOP an authentic partnership between the church and home
DESIGN a strategic discipleship process from birth to graduation

Define
First, Grace Fellowship Family Ministry seeks to clearly DEFINE the church and home as "co-champions" of each other. As co-champions, the church recognizes and celebrates God's design for the home as the initial staging ground for the advance of the Gospel.  As the husband and wife embody the essence of the Gospel, the union of Christ and his Church, the home serves as the primary context for the discipleship and spiritual formation of children in order that the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ would be established for generations to come (Psalm 78).  As the husband shepherds his home, he represents God to his family, leading discipleship, spiritual growth, and mission.
The home, in turn, recognizes and celebrates God's design for the church.  The church is God’s ultimate model of reconciliation consisting of a multiracial & multi-cultural people living in right relation to God & each other.  This reconciliation is displayed & experienced in Kingdom communities who acknowledge & submit to the reign of Christ.  This model is ultimately the pattern for all future cosmic reconciliation when creation will once again be rightly related to God & itself.  As creation awaits this glorious event, the church also serves as a sign or picture of the future new creation where God will personally and visibly dwell forever with his people.  At this time, the church is the dwelling place of God by the Spirit being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.  This superstructure & its model of reconciliation gloriously displayed in the church was God’s plan in Christ from all eternity.  (Eph 2:19-22, Eph 3:9-11, 1 Cor 3:16-17, 2 Cor 6:16, 1 Peter 2:4-8)

Common Questions Regarding the Home:

What do we mean by “co-champions?”
For the church, the term “co-champions” means that the leadership of the church recognizes and celebrates at every level the centrality of the home in the discipleship and spiritual formation of children.  The church thus seeks to acknowledge, encourage and equip parents, especially fathers, in this God-given task, treating the home as the ultimate spiritual small group for children.  Parents, in turn, champion the church by recognizing and celebrating God’s design for the church as the unique gathering of believers, called out by God to be a community of disciples who do not neglect fellowship together, who corporately submit to God’s Word, and who corporately pursue God’s mission.  Parents champion the church as the family of faith which has experienced redemption in Christ.  As a result the church stands as a missional community that brings light to the nations with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The church and home not only acknowledge one another, but champion each other’s roles as divinely designed by God himself.

What do you mean by the home as the “initial staging ground for the advance of the Gospel?” 
From the foundation of the world, God desired to fill the earth with human beings who worship, serve, and enjoy him.  Though humanity rebelled and the divine relationship was severed, it is through the Gospel that God is completing his original purpose to fill the earth with his people.  Though many people come to believe the Gospel outside of the home, God designed the home to be the primary context in which children learn the Gospel and commit their lives to Christ.  Thus, the Gospel advances most effectively within the personal and intimate relationships of the home, and God’s purpose to fill the earth with his people continues toward completion. 

What do you mean by “husband and wife embody the essence of the Gospel?” 
In Ephesians 5:22-33, the husband-wife relationship is presented in terms of the union of Jesus Christ and his church.  Because of sin, humanity was separated and alienated from God.  However, through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the relationship between God and man is restored, for believers are united by faith to Jesus Christ, who is God in the flesh.  Like marriage, everything that belongs to Christ now belongs to his bride, and the church now finds her identity and life in him.  As wives submit to their husbands and husbands sacrificially love their wives, the essence of the Gospel is displayed to their children and to the world.

Common Questions regarding the Church:

What do you mean by a model of reconciliation? 
The biblical concept of reconciliation centers on the idea of a restored relationship or friendship.  Reconciliation proper is the bringing together of two estranged parties for the purpose of peace.  Ever since the fall of man, we have been estranged from God & in desperate need of reconciliation because of sin.  Sin resulted in an estrangement between God & his creation.  The gospel is so powerful because even though our sin has offended God, He still initiated and authored reconciliation with us.  This reconciliation was accomplished through the death & resurrection of Jesus Christ (Rom 5:9-11, 2 Cor 5:18-19).  Once people enter into a relationship with Jesus, they are fully reconciled to God resulting in a restored relationship with their creator.  These reconciled sinners then become part of a reconciled community known as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ.  This community is built on the very notion of reconciliation.  The church is full of broken sinners who were once estranged from God but through the blood of Christ have now been restored to their creator.  Thus, the church consists of people who are rightly related to God & rightly related to each other.  Our relationships have been restored both vertically & horizontally.  This picture or image is ultimately the model of reconciliation upon which the new creation is based.  It serves as a model or sign of what is to come.   

Why is the church multiracial & multi-cultural? 
Simply put God has reconciled people from every tribe, language, people, & nation (Rev 5:9).  The people of God are not defined by race or color but by being rightly related to God.  As a result both color & culture are celebrated & enjoyed by the people of God.    

What is a Kingdom community? 
The Kingdom of God refers to God’s reign, rule, & sovereignty.  This restorative reign entered the world in the person of Jesus Christ.  Although we await the fullness of God’s reign at the consummation of the Kingdom, God is currently ruling through his Davidic Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth.  This reign is currently seen and experienced in Kingdom Communities called the local church.  The local church is a Kingdom Community where believers unite together and live under the reign of Jesus.  In these communities of faith, believers enter God’s reign, live under God’s reign, and are governed by God’s reign.  Together, they grow in the grace and knowledge of the Lord as they strive, with the power of the Holy Spirit, to produce Kingdom ethics.  The very mission of these communities is to live in such a radical way that the Kingdom of God & the reign of His Christ are visibly evident.  The church has been commissioned by Jesus to bear witness to these Kingdom realities through verbal witness and changed lives. 

What does it mean to acknowledge & submit to the reign of Christ? 
Simply put, it means that Jesus is your Lord and you follow him.  More specifically, it means that you have repented of your self-worship & sin and you have trusted in the finished work of Christ for your salvation.  Living under the reign of Christ has radically affected both your vertical and horizontal relationships.  Vertically, you are now accepted by God and in right standing with God.  Horizontally, you are now capable of truly loving your neighbor as yourself and living relationally with others as God intended.  Living under God’s reign in Christ restores relational harmony.  The sign of a person living under the reign of Christ is displayed in ethics that are informed and influenced by the Kingdom of God.
 
What does it mean that this model is the pattern for all future cosmic reconciliation?   
From all eternity God’s plan has been to reveal His glory for His own enjoyment and for the enjoyment of His people.  The greatest display of God’s glory is found in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ.  God’s plan has always been to unite all things in Jesus, things in heaven and things on earth so that Jesus is Lord of all.  The glory of God displayed in the cross of Christ paved the way for cosmic reconciliation.  The first sin resulted in the judgment of both man and creation.  Since that time, creation has also been awaiting its release from captivity and curse.  The church is the model for all future cosmic reconciliation.  In the church, we see reconciled and redeemed saints living in community because of the substitutionary death and sacrifice of Jesus.  It just so happens, that this sacrifice is also the means of release and reconciliation for the entire cosmos.  In this way, all things in creation are united in Jesus such that he truly becomes Lord of all.  Just as man is reconciled to God through Jesus Christ thus creation itself will be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ.   Thus the church is the model of things to come specifically things pertaining to cosmic reconciliation and restoration. 

What does it mean that the church is the dwelling place of God by the Spirit? 
The Bible is full of vivid word pictures that describe the people of God.  One picture is that of a temple or dwelling place.  Since the beginning of creation, man was created to dwell with God in a personal and intimate way.  This personal relationship was catastrophically destroyed as a result of man’s sin.  Throughout the rest of the biblical storyline, God consistently pursues & initiates his redemptive plan for a restored dwelling place with man.  This plan began with covenants and promises which then led to shadows of what was to come.  One such shadow or sign of the future was God’s reestablished presence with his people through the tabernacle and temple.  These shadows or signs find their ultimate fulfillment in the God-man Jesus Christ, the one who tabernacles with His people in a close and personal way.  Currently, Jesus is expanding his reign across the globe by building his church.  As people come to Christ & are indwelt by the Spirit of God, the church is being built brick by brick, member by member, with Jesus himself being the cornerstone of the superstructure and the head of the body.  To say that the church is the dwelling place of God means that when the church gathers for worship there you will find the presence of God dwelling with his people through the Spirit.  This reality is also a sign which points to the future unabated and unhindered presence of God dwelling with His people in the new creation.  This is the end to which all redemptive history is moving.

Develop
Second, Grace Fellowship  Family Ministry seeks to DEVELOP an authentic partnership between the church and home by engaging and equipping parents and families.  As the church engages families in love, fellowship, and accountability, parents are equipped to embody the Gospel before their children and to embrace their divinely designed roles as the ones primarily responsible for their children’s spiritual maturity.  The church also seeks to develop authentic relationships with children and youth, serving and equipping them, alongside their parents, with Gospel-centered truth so that their growth in spiritual maturity would be supported, encouraged, and surrounded by the intergenerational family of faith.

Design
Third, Grace Fellowship Family Ministry seeks, in partnership with parents, to DESIGN a strategic and intentional discipleship process that will prepare children and youth for adulthood.  This synchronized ministry effort will equip and prepare each generation to live lives that are glorifying to God.