“Of all the places I work with and see, this place feels different—it’s not so much a church as it is… a movement.”
We were not exactly sure what he meant, but nonetheless we took it as a compliment. For those of us who have lived in Atlanta (or any other part of the “Belt Belt”), we can easily slip into thinking that church is a building, an event, or a program. But in the Bible, church is the movement of God’s People on Mission Together.
And if we can unpack that phrase a bit more, our calling will emerge more and more clearly.
The Bible begins with a portrait of a world drenched in beauty before quickly spiraling into darkness because the people on the planet chose to walk away from their good God. In spite of this, God has doggedly and continually pursued a people who would bear his Name and extend his reign. From the stories of Abraham to the nation of Israel to the practice of the early church united around Jesus, God’s people have always been at the heart of his plan. Every week, we hear from the Bible because in its stories–our “family” stories–we find our place among God’s people.
What is God’s heart for the world? Nothing less than healing, wholeness, restoration, and redemption. In the Gospels, Jesus talked about the Kingdom of God more than any other subject, and he taught his followers how to live the humble, redeeming life of the Kingdom by relying on his grace and truth. Then, after his death and resurrection, Jesus told those gathered around him to “go and make disciples” (Matt. 28:18-20). At Grace, we continue to take those words incredibly seriously. This is why we often say our mission at Grace is to make disciples in the neighborhoods, nations, and next generation.
“Our mission at Grace is to make disciples in the neighborhoods, nations, and next generation.”
Life in God’s Kingdom is never meant to be isolated. In fact, all the way back in the Garden of Eden, God said that it was “not good” for Adam to be alone (Gen. 2:18). Jesus sent his disciples out two-by-two (Mark 6:7), and the early church in the New Testament was always seen doing life as a family. “Together,” however, is not always easy, because all of us have weak spots and brokenness even as we are learning to follow Jesus. That’s one of the reasons we call the church “Grace”–we all need grace from God and from one another as we learn to live in community.
Thus, our calling is to be God’s People (firmly rooted in the great story of God) on Mission (to make disciples in the neighborhoods, nations, and next generation) Together (living in gracious and enjoyable community).
We are WORSHIPERS, loving God with all our heart, soul, mind, & strength.
We are LEARNERS, hearing God’s Word and doing what He says.
We are FAMILY, loving one another in grace.
We are CITIZENS of the Kingdom of God, establishing the way of heaven on earth.
We are DISCIPLE-MAKERS, committed to raising up the next generation.
We are NEIGHBORS, living intentionally & honorably with those around us.
We are PIONEERS, adventurously going with God to the nations.
We are DREAMERS, seeing the invisible, hearing the inaudible, & expecting the impossible.