Those four words are arguably the most encouraging ones for a church planter to hear. It is an expression that reflects the heart of someone who has heard the mission, vision, and core values, seen them put into practice with sincerity, and received confirmation from the Holy Spirit that this is the body of believers to be part of for this next season of their life.
They're also perhaps the most frightening words to hear. We haven't launched yet. We're still growing and awaiting for the Lord to put the remaining pieces into place. The mission, vision, and core values will not come into full fruition until we launch and yet with those words, "Grace is my church!" the responsibility and burden for caring for God's people has increased. Our focus has always been to care for the people who the Lord already brought, (rather than on designing ways to gather more people) but this declaration from those who have come alongside us puts an exclamation point on it.
It has been 7 months since embarking on this journey, and only 5 months since we started our twice-a-month Bible study. During that time the Lord has grown us individually and as a group in obedience to His Word, in our faith in Him as we see answered prayer, and in our relationship with one another. This, not coincidentally, is the mission of Grace Bible Fellowship:
Bringing others together to grow closer to God, His word, and His people for His glory.Those four words were also the cause for more prayer and reflection as to the next step. There's been a collective hunger to meet more frequently and to have something on Sunday. There were some practical reasons for that in addition to the tradition equating church with Sunday. Work schedules prevented some from being able to attend. Others have difficulty driving at night. There was also the downside of meeting only two or three times a months. If one couldn' attend a session, it might be another 3-4 weeks before we'd see them again... that's not good.
As a result of prayer, reflection, and conversations with the group, we have announced that starting on Sunday, October 5th, we will be meeting for Bible study every Sunday @ 11:00am at the Prescott Adult Center. It's not going to be a church service, but it will be a Bible study with a message from the Bible (verse-by-verse exposition with an emphasis on application) followed by a time of discussion on the teaching, fellowship, prayer, and socializing.
We're responding to the needs of the flock and to what the Lord is doing, and as a result we're going to have a pretty unique opportunity during this next stage of planting. An interactive corporate gathering where we can discuss the sermon and application points so that we'll be ready to start the week putting these truths into practice. These have truly been "family gatherings" and we're excited for this next step.
Church planting is hard work but the Lord Jesus Christ has been so kind and gracious to us. There are many times when the burden seems so great, and the Spirit is faithful to remind us:
"Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,  casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you." - 1 Peter 5:6-7
We are so blessed for the opportunity to be part of this work, for the people the Lord has gathered thus far for the journey, and look forward with eager anticipation to growing closer to the folks here now, who else He will bring, and what He will do to bring glory to Himself through this work.