How we do church...
How do we seek to live out what the New Testament instructs the church to be?
…BY GATHERING TOGETHER ON SUNDAY MORNINGS
This is the central gathering of Gospel Grace Church where all of its members meet to intentionally worship God, read Scripture, submit to the preaching and teaching of God's Word, practice the ordinances of baptism and the Lord's table, and fellowship. This central gathering is absolutely essential to carrying out God’s intention for how His church is to assemble, worship, learn, and grow.
…BY GATHERING TOGETHER IN COMMUNITY GROUPS
Although it is possible for the church to gather weekly at a central meeting (Sunday morning gathering) and accomplish God's design for the church, it is unlikely in our day for people to give themselves to the type of fellowship and mutual edification that is assumed as part of the life of the church. In order for Gospel Grace Church to be the healthy church the New Testament calls it to be, we believe that it is essential to provide additional times for the church to instruct each other in the Word, care for one another, proclaim the Gospel, and disciple one another to learn practical ministry skills.
How do we foster this biblical, healthy community?
Fellowship (Koinonia) is not incidental in Christianity. It is part and parcel of what it means to follow Jesus. Koinonia is the close association that involves mutual interests and sharing. As believers, we should find our identity not only in what Jesus has done for us, but also in the relationships God is creating with other believers. Acts 2:42-47 shows a description of the early church interacting as a community of people that was growing. Together.
And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship [koinonia], to the breaking of bread and the prayers. ...And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. Acts 2:42,46-47
So, if we as believers are called to live our lives together, what should this togetherness look like, or to put it another way, what should we be doing in community?
We live in homes or apartments that have a number of rooms, and each room serves a different function or activity of our lives. In the same way, believers live together in community where there are different activities and types of care for each other. We use a picture of a house to describe the way we are to live with those that are part of Gospel Grace Church.
Dining Room - INSTRUCTING
The Dining Room picture reminds us that the word is our life and we must speak it and share it one with another. In the dining room, we have guests over and share food and conversation together. In biblical community, we share literal food together as well as the food of studying, listening to, and speaking the word to one another. Each of us prepares a part of the meal of the Word and we share it with one another.
"And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching…" Acts 2:42
But [Jesus] answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
Living Room - CARING
In the Living Room, we remember that the gospel causes us both to care for the needs of those around us and to open up about the needs of our own lives. In our living rooms, we share our lives with others, spending time with one another, laughing at stories, working through difficulties and rejoicing in triumphs. In biblical community we also share our lives by practicing hospitality, listening to each other, offering words of encouragement and even confronting sin when necessary.
"… that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it." I Cor. 12:25-27
Basement - DISCIPLING
The Basement pictures our discipleship of one another. In our basements, we learn and practice our skills. Maybe there's a workbench or a sewing room setup to enjoy a hobby or work on a broken appliance. We learn those hobbies from each other by participating together in a task. In Christian community, trained leaders welcome others into their skill. Servants are discipled by one life touching another in mutual participation of ministry. As God-given gifts are identified, they are employed for service for the benefit and blessing of the whole Body.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." Matthew 28:19-20
"As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace" 1 Peter 4:10
Front Porch - PROCLAIMING
The picture of a Front Porch is our reminder that community reaches out. From our front porches, we welcome others into our home. In biblical community, we proclaim the gospel through our words and actions both to those outside community and those already inside it. We invite others to join us in community and display living, Christlike love one for another in front of those we welcome in.
By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." John 13:35
"You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Matthew 5:14-16