Below are some common questions about Grace Fellowship that are organized into categories. Didn’t find the answer to a question you have? Submit your question and we’ll get right back to you.
We expect nothing from people who visit. We simply want to serve you in your search for spiritual truth. We do expect people who are followers of Jesus and members of our church to support Grace Fellowship so that we can better spread God’s fame. We do not view it so much as an obligation but an expression of gratefulness of all Jesus has done and given us. After all, God is the source of our material possessions. In our service we do not “pass the plate.” We actually just have baskets that are placed on our program tables that people and members of our church can place their financial support in.
We believe that the family is God’s lab for learning how to “do life.” Therefore, the family needs to have regular times in which it worships in reading the Bible, discussing Biblical truth, serving, praying together, etc. The father is responsible to take the lead in this area. However, if there is no father or if the father is not a follower of Jesus, the mother may be the primary spiritual leader of the family. At our church, we seeks to reinforce this family dynamic in the service. Although we do have times in which younger children have a more age-appropriate environment; most of the time we want families to be together in our service.
We believe it is a privilege to tell others about Jesus. We also believe it will be an overflow of the person who has trusted in Jesus as Savior. We also believe God commands us to “make disciples” (Matt. 28:19). So, we seek to equip every follower of Christ to be able to articulate his or her faith in a way that is clear and compelling to others.
One of the fingerprints of Grace Fellowship is that we believe that God doesn’t play hide n’ seek. God tells us to seek and you will find. Our “seeking” very often is expressed through questions. Many of us came to Christ from backgrounds that inspired serious doubts about religion and religious people. Some of us still move through times that we don’t have great answers to all of life issues. But, what we do know about Jesus and the truth of God’s Word enables us to face our questions with sincerity and honesty. So, bring it on.
I guess that would depend on how you define “intense.” While we do not chase after people screaming of their imminent doom, we do warn people to flee the wrath that is coming. We seek to do this in a way that doesn’t cloud the Gospel message with intense emotions and loud voices. We don’t want to be a stumbling block to people. We want the message to be the focus and not the messenger. One thing is for sure, we will never shy away from seeking to extend the truth and love of Jesus to a needy world.
Doctrine & Teaching
We teach in an expositional style. This means that we teach from the Bible in a way that conveys the original meaning and then apply it to our lives as well. We teach this way because we realize the Bible was not written to us but it was written for us. This does not mean that we teach over the heads of people. We recognize truth that isn’t applied simply doesn’t have a chance to “work.” So we work really hard to help our people know how the truth of Bible relates to them where they live. Depending on the needs of our Church, we may do an examination of a letter or book of the Bible and take a long time seeking to digest it or we may examine a smaller section of Scripture in a series focusing on a particular issue. Either way, we love getting into the Bible and wrapping our lives around what it says.
Doctrine is as important to living as air is important to breathing — without it you will die! In 1 Timothy 4:16 the Apostle Paul warns his apprentice, Timothy, to “Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do you will save both yourself and your hearers.” The Bible portrays doctrine as how we view God. Therefore, everyone has a “doctrine” since everyone has a certain view of God. It is a matter of whether a person has a biblical view of God, or if a person has an unbiblical or distorted view of God. We are never ashamed to chase hard after God and examine how we view God in comparison to how the Bible describes God as fact.
At Grace we believe God can choose to move a person supernaturally to speak in another language to spread His fame. We believe what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:39 that we are not to “forbid speaking in tongues.” With that being said, we would also apply biblical truth to the expression of any and all spiritual experiences to make sure that it is truly from the Spirit and in line with the goal of strengthening the Church (1 Cor. 14:26). God has been so generous by supplying us with guidelines for this type of communication such as, speaking one at a time, in order, with an interpreter present, under control of the one speaking, etc. (14:27-33) We invite the God of the universe to refresh us with His Spirit through the expression of gifts of the Holy Spirit, but we also are aware that the truth of God’s Word is the final arbiter between what is true and right and what is false and wrong.
The title of “senior pastor” in today’s church has in many ways betrayed the intent of the Biblical role of a pastor/elder/bishop within the leadership of the modern church. Too often there is a centralizing of influence/power in the life of one man for the care, direction, teaching, and vision-casting for a church. In the early church we see a plurality of leadership expressed within a group of godly men acting as shepherds in the church called pastor/elder/bishop. Within the office of pastor/elder/bishop there is no indication of final rank.
Each pastor/elder/bishop is an equal among equals. While it is true that there may be an aspect of seniority organizationally (i.e. a pastor may be accountable to another pastor in an organizational function or a pastor/elder/bishop may have oversight and the freedom to create, plan, lead within an area of the church) we are concerned that the title “senior pastor” has concentrated too much ministry responsibility in the life of one man. While it is true that vocational pastors will have a very strong influence and directional impact on a church since they have more time to devote to ministry, the New Testament is clear that there is no “seniority” among elders/pastors/bishops and we feel that a title like “senior pastor” actually hinders the Biblical intent of pastoral leadership.
We believe that a single pastor having essential authority over the other pastors does not represent what the Bible teaches. It also shows a lack of wisdom within the expression of church leadership — how can one man care for, disciple, teach, and equip all the people of a church? Therefore, we have decided to not have a designation of rank among our pastors since it helps us to model the Biblical structure of leadership.
An Elder is a man who cares for, guides, and protects those who call Grace Fellowship their home. Elders are the core leadership at Grace Fellowship and are responsible before God to lead this church in the character and priorities of Christ. To better serve you, we have created a Position Paper concerning the role of Elders according to the Bible.
The Elders at Grace Fellowship are accountable to the church body in three ways. One; they are accountable personally. If there is any time that a member of the Leadership Team (Elders) sins against a person they are to meet with that Elder with two or three witnesses (see 1 Timothy 5:19-20) and if restoration is not made then it proceeds to the Leadership Team (Elders) and, if restoration is not made, it proceeds toward a public rebuke. Two, each Elder is held accountable to other Elders who are members of Grace Fellowship. If an Elder is violating Biblical standards then the other Elders (who are part of the church body) are responsible to deal with their brother in Christ who needs help to turn from an attitude or action that does not fit a follower of Christ. Third, if the Elders as a group are perceived or accused as not acting according to Biblical standards then, according to our church By-Laws, any ten members who feel the Elders are acting in sin can initiate a meeting with the Elders. If this meeting does not bring restoration then these ten members can call for a church-wide meeting in accordance with special meeting guidelines set up in the church’s By-Laws to address their concerns. We hope to never see this happen, but it does create accountability at the “highest” level of authority within Grace Fellowship to provoke God-centered leadership.