WE KEEP THE GOSPEL CENTRAL TO EVERYTHING.
Living Grace Church holds to the historic Christian Gospel without compromise. The Gospel is everything. The Gospel is enough. It is the center of our church. It is the center of our lives. It is the filter through which everything else in our church and lives is sifted. It is the incredible, stunning, unexpected, life-altering, propositional truth that God has in Christ redeemed sinners like us from the curse of our sin. It is the story of a loving and holy Father sending His son to take our place on a cross, pay our debts, forgive our sins, cleanse our filth, make us right, adopt us as sons and daughters, give us eternal life, and conform us into the image of the One by whom we were created. It is such good news. We could speak all day about what the triune God has done for us in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And we do. We talk about it. Sing about it. Preach about it. Study it. Meditate on it. Wonder at it. Click here to view our Doctrinal Statement.
We talk about Jesus all the time.
Jesus is what differentiates us from all the 'spiritual' confusion that exists in our pluralistic culture. Talk about "God" and everyone is cool with it: he/she/it/they are all just different ways of saying the same thing, right? But mention Jesus and the questions come and the (good) sparks fly. Jesus is the line in the sand. At Living Grace Church, we say the word Jesus more than any other. We proclaim His uniqueness as the way, the truth, and the life, and the only path to God. We affirm His atoning and bloody death on a cross in our place as the only hope for sinners to be freed from their sin. We long to walk as His disciples and we eagerly await His return. We maintain a high view of the Bible as God's Word. The Bible is the inerrant Word of God. We serve a God who works through words. God created the heavens and the earth by saying the word. Jesus was the Word and became flesh. Preaching (spoken words) is an instrument that God uses to convict our hearts and birth faith. And for thousands of years believers have responded to God's Word with words of their own... songs, chants, prayer, praise and more. And so words are important to us at Living Grace Church. Whether it is time spent reading and studying the words of the Bible, laboring over the words we will use in our sermons, or selecting the lyrics for our songs of worship, our hope is to be shaped by the God who speaks. This whole exercise in words begins with His inspired Word, captured on the pages of the Bible. We cling to our Bibles and allow God's truth revealed there to define for us right and wrong, good and bad, worthwhile and worthless. We long to sit under the text of Scripture, allowing it to guide, correct, inspire, convict, shape and teach us.
We value highly the importance of preaching.
Every Sunday at Living Grace Church, we preach from a Biblical text. We are not ashamed of it, we don't hide from it, and we don't apologize for it. Our pastors stand there and preach. Our church sits there and listens. Our God does the work. He doesn't walk in the back door or float in through the wall. When the Word is preached His Spirit comes and works a hearing miracle in our heads and hearts and spirits. Faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the Word of Christ. This 'hearing-miracle' is not a one time thing. There can be a first-time faith response in our hearts when we initially hear the incredible Gospel message. But our faith is increased every single Sunday; every time we come with humble hearts and open ears and say, "Speak, Father, for I am listening." This is why we highly value the importance of preaching. A quote that captures our heart for the vital role of preaching and hearing in the life of our church is, "In the multitude of tasks of a pastor, his identity as a preacher may be lost, the quality of his preaching may decline as he fills other functions and neglects the disciplines required for effectual preaching. Confidence in the superior efficacy of preaching may fade as other ministries appear more redemptive. But, history proves that the church can exist without buildings, without liturgies, without choirs, without Sunday schools, without professional clergyman, without creeds, even without women's societies. But the church cannot possibly exist without preaching the Word. Preaching has power like nothing else the church has or does. Moreover, preaching reaches more people than anything else the preacher can do, whether it's visiting, administering or counseling. The time has come to restore preaching to its rightful place, its primary position in the work of the ministry. In preaching there is power. The power of the Spirit is the power of the Word and as the Word is proclaimed the Spirit is busy working in the mind and hearts of the hearers. Rise up, O men of God, and preach."
We believe in authentic community.
Church for us is not just a Sunday event. So an invitation to Living Grace Church is not an invitation to an event, but to a life. A new life. A different way of living life. And ultimately, eternal life. A church is not a place, it's a people; redeemed people who are knit together and being conformed to the image of God. Coming to Living Grace Church is not about attending a 'religious service'. It's about responding to a life-altering message in concert with a community of people who are responding the same way. Our desire is for Living Grace to be a church where friendships run deep and our shared culture is significantly different than anything that our unbelieving friends have ever experienced. Our people gather regularly for prayer and discipleship and also just to become friends... eating together, playing together, reading the Bible together, and just being together. This reality will enable trust, accountability, and a connectedness that will move us from individuals to a community.
We believe in church planting.
Read the New Testament and you will learn that starting new churches is a significant way the Gospel spreads. There is no better way to connect with unbelievers than by planting churches near them. The local church provides the perfect context for effective evangelism: people who love and follow Jesus, gathering weekly to hear the Word preached, and walking through life together in Jesus-centered friendships. How can you beat that? At Living Grace Church we are committed to raising up leaders who have been called of God to plant churches. We believe in constantly addressing myths that keep people from responding to the Gospel message. It is vitally important for our leaders and our people to be aware of the cultural myths that drive people away from Christ. For our culture this includes false ideas like: people are basically good, God never gets angry, all roads lead to heaven, love is all that matters, Darwin was right, I can earn my way into heaven, there is no such thing as truth, God isn't there because there is so much suffering in the world, I am free right now, God is obligated to save everyone, all Christians are hypocrites, and the Bible can't be trusted. By repeatedly addressing these myths and deconstructing them with the truth, we can break down the barriers that prevent people from hearing the Gospel and surrendering their lives to Christ as their Lord and Savior.
We believe that every Living Grace member is a missionary. As a missional church, we see ourselves not only as a gathered people, but as a sent people. We are sent into the world to honor God with our lives, worship Him at every moment of our lives and to announce to the people around us the good news of the Gospel. Our pastors are not the only people called to do this. Everyone at Living Grace Church is a missionary; on mission with Jesus to see His kingdom overcome the kingdoms of this world. The entire tenor of our lives should bear witness to the gracious work God has completed in our hearts; from the way we work, to the way we parent, to the way we study, to the way we play, to the way we spend our money, to the way we speak, to the way we love the poor, to the way we do anything at all. As missionaries for Christ we should live Gospel-drenched lives fully aware that it is a great God, a worn out Bible and a good church that form the foundation of that life. Over the years we pray that our church will build a reputation in our community that causes people to discover the One who has transformed our hearts and lives.
We believe in being a giving people.
When it comes to money, there's something about about our self-indulgent nature that makes our hands sticky... we don't want to let it go. But what if the people of Living Grace Church held their money with 'kingdom' hands? What if part of our forging a redeemed culture at our church was to be redeeming in the way we give? What if instead of asking, "How much must I give?" we asked, "How much dare I keep?" What if we lived like life is a vapor and, by faith, stored up treasures in heaven? What if Christ was truly our greatest treasure? These are the attitudes we long for in the giving and spending at Living Grace Church. We pray and expect our people will give generously, joyfully, faithfully, and sacrificially, and that our checkbooks reveal faith-marked obedience.
We believe in an elder-led church.
We are convicted by the Scriptures that an elder-led ecclesiology, in which qualified men shepherd the church and lead the members of the congregation, is a distinctly Biblical way of governing the affairs of our local church. The leaders of Living Grace Church understand the gravity of this responsibility. The Scriptures call pastors/ elders to fight like soldiers, train like athletes, and work like farmers. There is heavy lifting involved. When God calls you to be a pastor/elder, He calls you to be an ox. Hopefully, by God's grace, if you do your job well, one day you will lift up your head, look over your shoulder, and see a beautiful harvest of faith, obedience and redemption bursting forth from the soil you've tilled. Because leadership is such an important call, we will only install men of God who are clearly called, gifted, and qualified for the task. Men whose lives reflect a humble awareness and repentance of sin, a diligence to walk in obedience, a God-honoring relationship with their wives and children, a good reputation with outsiders, a burden on their hearts to lead, and an incessant passion for Jesus.