On June 18th this year we had a fantastic party to celebrate Grace Church turning ten years old. We had a BBQ, baptisms, bouncy castles, pic’n’mix, games, volleyball, a barn dance and more! Over 300 of us were able to attend and it was lots of fun!
I can’t believe we’ve been here ten years already; it’s gone very quickly. In that time we’ve grown from one small meeting through to a church with three congregations. Some friends have been with us since the beginning; others have joined us along the way; some have come and gone; some have come and gone and come back again. We’ve sent people all around the world!
Lots of things have changed since we started (although, as you can see, Jo and I haven’t changed a bit!).
It’s good to look back and remember, and it’s good to look forward and dream, so here are ten reasons that Grace Church exists today, looking back first and then forwards!
Looking back: we exist …
because Jesus called us into existence
In 2005, to our surprise, God very clearly called Jo and I to plant a new church in Chichester. As we began to explore that call we also found others who felt the same.
because people responded in faith to that initial call
It wasn’t enough just to hear that call, we needed to respond with faith-filled actions. Along with some others we moved house to begin establishing a new church in a new place.
because people have continued to respond to that call
All through those ten years people have felt drawn to get involved with what God has been doing with us. We have an ongoing vision to fulfil:
“To grow a dynamic Christian church, serving communities from the South Downs to the sea”
because of the faithful commitment and service of so many people
So many people have shown so much commitment in so many ways over the years. Lots of time and service and money and commitment has been given so that Grace Church can be and do all we are called to!
because of God’s ongoing grace, protection and blessing on us
In Matthew 16v18 Jesus said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it”
Philippians 1v6 says to a church, “He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion”
Jesus started this work, Jesus watches over us, Jesus will finish what he began – which leads nicely on to …
Looking forward: we exist …
to make disciples of Jesus
Jesus said, “Go, make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you, and I will be with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matt 28v19-20) – Jesus left his church with a big job to do!
to be a family
We need to live out our Christian life in community together; God’s church is his family! That means loving one another; caring in times of trouble; giving support and encouragement. It also means getting our rough edges knocked off – but that’s family!
to be a light in the darkness
As the world gets darker we need to shine more brightly! The message of Jesus brings reconciliation with God and with other people! Local churches are the hope of the world!
to care for the poor and needy
Our GraceWorks are so important – those we do locally and those further away.
to tell people the good news of Jesus
Ultimately this is why we are here! We have an amazing message:
“God so loved the world that he gave his only son, so that whoever believes in him might not perish but have eternal life”