What We Do & Why
We foster individual and collective lifestyles of prayer. We believe the most powerful way to affect change is to invite God to fellowship with us and to ask Him to participate in everything aspect of our lives.
Each year we have at least one season of collective, focused prayer and fasting. Our vision for moving forward is to have collective prayer opportunities available for our church-family and community twice a day, 7 days a week in whatever community we are planted.
We have heard the good news and we have something to celebrate! We gather together in Weekly Worship Services in which the message of grace is consistent, the music compels soulful interaction with a present God, and people have the opportunity to respond to the fullness of grace and truth.
There is no way to have authentic community with hundreds of people, but weekend worship services allow all of the smaller communities to reconnect in one identity and purpose. Weekends also give people a place to bring their people to be exposed to the glory of God’s grace.
WE BUILD TRUSTED RELATIONSHIPS
Growth happens best in the context of knowing and be known, loving & being loved. God has created us as relational beings, and as a church we strive to be a community of belonging.
We utilize small groups and ministry teams as environments for building relationship and for growing in our identity in Christ, in order to fulfill the function of spreading His love wherever we go. Being in regular, consistent contact, prayer, study, fun & service with a small group of people has more potential to grow our understanding and application than any classroom or workshop. Our goal is that everyone is actively involved in a small group or ministry team.
WE REPRODUCE WHAT WE ARE IN OTHERS
Leadership takes on many forms, as our community has a rich and diverse pool of people. We believe that the most rewarding and purposeful thing we can do as disciples is to help others grow in their walk with God. Jesus told his disciples, “freely you’ve received, now freely give…” Matt. 10:8. We, likewise, encourage everyone to be teaching what they’ve been taught, giving what they’ve been given, leading in what they’ve been led in.
We also focus on growing leaders through mentorship and training within ministry teams. Our responsibility as growing disciples, is to spread God’s promises in our community. You may not see yourself as a leader, but we know that God has given you the tools you need to reach people in your own way.
Our Mission at Grace Gate Community Church
Our mission is to be the gate to which God’s grace enters our world.
1. ALL GOD IS
In an article interviewing Diane, the oldest daughter of Walt Disney, she reflected on a day as a young girl when she had come home from school after being asked by a school mate for her dad’s autograph. With great disgust, she wielded her accusatory question, “Why didn’t you tell me you were Walt Disney?” Her experience with her father had not been unpleasant but until that moment she had not realized she had a unique relationship with an iconic genius that people all over the world were envious of.
She had a partial view of her father. She had a very personal knowledge of Walt Disney, however, a significant gap in her experience of his life caused a significant gap in how she perceived what he did every day.
As it pertains to God, we all suffer gaps in our knowledge that profoundly limits our perception of who He is. Nobody is more grieved by this fact than God, Himself. Even without anything unpleasant shaping our perception of God, we have the difficulty of finite minds comprehending an infinite being. As if that isn’t challenging enough, we are surrounded by jaded and skeptical interpretations of His character illustrating their accusations from a distant viewpoint neglecting sound context or civilized empathy. To top it all off, it is the unfortunate reality of human existence in a corrupted world that we all experience pain, confusion, and tragedy.
With each soul-hardening circumstance we become gradually more resigned to varying degrees of hopelessness. As a futile attempt at self protection, we snuff out the feeble spark of vision and with it the resilient hope that God has something better for us than the repeat cycles of disappointment we grow so accustomed to. As a result, we grow ever gradually less vibrant in our experience and expectation of life.
We grow ever gradually less anticipatory of deep, satisfying connection with others. We grow ever gradually less confident that our lives will ever produce significant impact. And worst of all, we grow more difficult to reach with the kindness, redemption and restoration that God, unimaginably good, eagerly desires for us to live in. The only answer is grace.
Most have some exposure to the idea of grace, but few have personally felt it’s life altering impact.
But, not all at once. Like Diane Disney, we need to look from another angle at the name we’re so familiar with that we may have somehow missed its significance. We need a thousand small revelations of enormous significance that reshape our perspective of God and more importantly our interaction with Him. We need more than a partial view of God. We need ALL He is. This is a lifelong relational adventure with a patient and loving God.
2. ALL GOD IS, IN ALL I AM
If we keep our distance, our understanding of “all God is” remains superficial. In the midst of all He created, God created mankind with a unique function. He created mankind to be with Him while all other aspects of His creation were merely from Him.
He designed the heart, mind, strength and capacity of mankind to uniquely know God and be known by Him, to love God and be loved by Him, to trust God and be trusted by Him. And despite the corruption of our creation, there still remains within us a responsiveness to His drawing near. Every thought we have in God’s direction is a response to an intangible spiritual invitation we’ve received. Even though in our spiritual dullness it seems as though we’re pursuing the possibility of God, the bigger truth is that we are merely noticing His pursuit of us. The beginning of “All God is…” is the realization that God is drawing near to my heart and I get to choose how near He comes.
The beginning of of “All God is, in all I am” is recognizing that He is the one pursuing me. This is grace. Even while I am indifferent, or even opposing the love, the acceptance and the kindness He is extending, He hasn’t ever give up or changed His mind. When I can receive His unconditional acceptance, I can then begin to allow Him to dig deeper and draw nearer to the innermost parts of my existence. The deeper I allow Him to come into my heart, mind, life and relationships, the more opportunity I get to know Him as He really is. Only when I allow Him to reach the deep places of my heart do I get to understand the deeper aspects of His.
“All God is, in all I am” is a lifestyle of intentional responsiveness to God’s grace transforming the ways in which I think, feel, do, and relate. This reveals the truest form of me and releases me to do with Him that which I was designed to do – impact the world around me.
3. ALL GOD IS, IN ALL I AM, IN ALL WE ARE
We all have blind-spots.
Every one of us has aspects of ourselves that we can’t see. Also, we all have propensities to see God, others and circumstances from a biased perspective that has been shaped by our strengths and weaknesses, by our good and bad experiences.
Alone, these blind-spots keep us from seeing what we need to see to grow and to flourish. But together, we can see for each other what we cannot see for ourselves. God designed us as dependent beings. He made it impossible for us to be all we can without Him and without each other. Dependence, in the context of grace and growing relationships is a beautiful thing.
Most Americans describe their close relationships as more valuable than anything else in life. Despite this stated value, most Americans, say they feel lonely and less connected to the people around them than they prefer. At Grace Gate Community Church, our being and our doing are entirely relationship dependent. We are always “people before task.” For any of us to engage and fulfill the our mission, we have to grow together. We have to commit to the process of becoming together what we can’t be apart and doing together what we cannot do apart.
This process is the one of the greatest part of the adventure. In order for “all God is” to get into “all we are” each person has to commit first to their preceding responsibility to allowing “all God is, in all I am”. Then through the organic process of getting to know people, we discover more intimate groups of people within the larger community that we relate to and with whom we could enjoy growing together.
Relationships grow through the process of a person making a decision to risk vulnerability in order to build trust. That doesn’t just happen overnight. Each person sets the pace of connection and trust building for his or her self. We can help someone take steps but we will never force them. Everyone starts as a stranger and through the process of being invited into smaller circles of more personal interaction, we will all eventually find/build our “inner circle” of friends.
The inner circle of friends are the people who watch each other’s blind spots and draw the very best out of each other. We know each other’s worst and yet nobody withdraws as a result of it. It is a truly grace-based community. Acceptance and connection have nothing to do with performance. We pray for each other daily. If one weeps, we all weep. If one rejoices, we all rejoice.
Best of all, in common pursuit of a common cause, we develop a different, deeper, level of connection called communitas.
4. ALL GOD IS, IN ALL I AM, IN ALL WE ARE, AND IN ALL THE WORLD AROUND US.
With God unconfined by the limitations I formally put upon Him, free to be “all God is” – alive and at work in the unrestricted depths of “all I am” – and moving beautifully to draw me and others into the power of communitas to be joyfully growing together in “all we are,” there is an inevitable outcome – a movement of God’s unfettered grace begins to change the world.
In a life surround by people, we naturally find ourselves noticing those around us. We notice people’s behaviors, personalities, what we like about the, what we dislike. We also notice when people change.
The gospel of Jesus Christ is the hope of change. Often it begins with the hope that He is willing and able to change something that we need help changing. But the gospel ultimately leads to the hope that my whole life can change. As we continue to trust the truth of the gospel, allowing God nearer and growing together with others, an authentic transformation occurs in the way we think, feel, do and relate to the world around us. We begin to change – and people notice.
When that life is one that I have personally observed and that I can personally relate to the gospel becomes more real than ever.
Our mission is unfulfilled unless it reaches through everyday people into the everyday places they live. It is more about sending people out than it is bringing people in. We equip everyone to bring the life-altering power of grace at work in identity, relationships, and purpose to the communities of people they do life with.
When the people who surround you in your everyday life begin to notice the beauty of the transformation that God provides, you begin to reach their hearts in a way only you can. You take what you have received, and you give it back. Grace, relationship, prayer, and purpose. This kind of growth is powerful and contagious! It can lead to church plants, mission projects, and new forms of outreach. Grace Gate Community Church can assist in these efforts with education in leadership development, and support necessary to get things off of the ground. We want to see “All God is” go into “All the world around us” – and we cannot do it without you.
What you need to remember, is this: if we all can simply shift our perspective of life from “coming to Grace Gate” to “becoming a Grace Gate” we can bring the impact, the beauty, the hope and the embrace of God’s life changing grace wherever we are and wherever we go.
Jesus, an ordinary 30-year-old carpenter, chose 12 men for his inner circle. With the fullness of God at work in every aspect of his life, Jesus began to share his experience and life with them. He gave what he received from his Father.
Those 12 men went on striving to do the same, until the entire Greco-Roman culture was filled with the grace of God overflowing from millions of ordinary people – all in less that 100 years. Even in the midst of ordinary lives, a handful of people who were intentionally living a life filled with God, literally changed the future of every civilization on the earth. That is the glory of God’s amazing grace when every person is willing to live a simple but profound mission: All God is, in all I am, in all we are and in all the world around us.