Beginning in September, Grace Fellowship will be holding several different small home-based groups throughout the week. These vibrant new small groups will center around community, Bible study, and spiritual growth.
You can find out more about being part of a Grace Discovery Group by filling out an info card during one of our Gatherings on Sundays or by emailing us at email@example.com.
As residents of one of the fastest growing cities in the U.S, Maricopans have a unique opportunity to connect to one another. Our city is filled with new homes, clean streets, and new families looking for a fresh start. Maricopa is a great place to call home.
As followers of Jesus, the people of Grace Fellowship Church engage our neighbors in a proactive way and seek to be involved in the life of our community. We believe that what our community needs most is not more churches for people to attend, but for more churches to attend to the people of the community. We believe that more followers of Christ need to practice the “art of neighboring.”
This is the kind of church we are planting. It is the kind of church we want to continue to be in the future. It’s the kind of church Jesus called us to be when he said, “and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
“I don’t need fixing.” “God accepts me just the way I am.” “Don’t tell me I have to change.” These are statements we may hear often from friends and family with whom we share Christ. The spirit of our time is tolerance. The more tolerant a person is, the more our society respects them. But what are we to tolerate? At what point does tolerance become license?
God does accept sinners (us) just the way we are. But what does this mean? It means that we have done nothing to merit Jesus coming to die for us on the cross. It means that God came to us because of his love and mercy, not because of our attractiveness or qualities. But it doesn’t mean that when we stand before God at the end of this life, that God will simply accept us into heaven just the way we are. He will only accept us if we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ, his son, who died in our place on the cross. He will only accept the redeemed.
The Bible says that the redeemed are all who believe in Jesus and follow him. We are not redeemed by our qualities or our works. We are redeemed only by the person and work of Jesus. God accepted us just as we are today many years ago way back in Bethlehem where Jesus was born and at Calvary where Jesus died. He will not accept us as we are at the end of this life. But he will accept us as new people: people who have been forgiven of all sin through faith in Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ came to redeem us from the curse of sin. He personified God’s grace on earth as he touched lepers, healed the blind, and shared food with prostitutes, traitors, and extortionists. Jesus is God’s acceptance of people just the way people are. However, Jesus called such people to believe and follow him. He would not allow them to remain as they were: living a life separated from God.
So come to God now just as you are by believing in Jesus and following Jesus. But don’t expect Jesus to allow you to stay the same. He left heaven for you. He suffered and died for you. He paid a debt for you that you could never pay. So come as you are and accept God’s free gift: his son, Jesus. Accept God’s gift and then give him everything. Give him your life, and prepare to beforever changed. This is redemption. Have you been redeemed?
Who is the church? What is the church made of? Some people consider the church a piece of architectural material. Others may even consider the church an organization or corporation. The Bible describes the church as a gathering/body of certain people: whosoevers.
The church is distinct. It consists of a certain type of people. The distinction does not concern sex, race, ethnicity, or age. The only distinction is faith. People of faith make up the church. To be more specific, people who possess and express faith in Jesus Christ as the risen Son of God and Savior of the world. Any type of person in the world can place their trust and faith in Jesus Christ.
There is no distinction between people of faith. Jesus dined with sinners and outcasts and He offered healing to the sick and broken. He also invited the proud, the rich, and the powerful to forsake their way and follow Him. Many rejected Him, but “to those who received Him, to them He gave the right to be called children of God.”
In the book of Acts we learn that the “many” who received Him were “added to the church’s number.” The church was made up of anyone and everyone who believed and followed Jesus as Lord and Savior. There was no distinction between “Jew or Greek, slave or freedman, male or female.” But all were “one in Christ Jesus.” Even today, each person in society is on a level playing field when it comes to faith. “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
Grace Fellowship Church is just a group of “whosoevers.” We are nothing but a gathering of broken people who live passionately for the One who saved us from our sin. We seek to give the love of God generously to our neighbors. If you are a perfect person, you might struggle to fit in here. But if you are a whosoever, you’ll feel right at home.
Some things are hard to believe. It was hard for me to believe that my wife of sixteen years actually went through with it and said “I do” on January 8, 2000. I was flabbergasted! It seemed too good to be true then, and still does today. I doubted the possibility of her hand in marriage because I was keenly and constantly aware of my unworthiness.
The same is true about God and our relationship with him through Jesus Christ the Son. Grace is so hard to believe in fact, that mankind has invented myriads of religious systems which attempt to recreate a salvation story that ultimately credits man himself as his own savior. Even some Evangelicals will explain salvation through Jesus Christ as simply following his example of a moral life dedicated to God the Father. Still to others, the person and work of Jesus Christ is a simple footnote in their own religious schema. For many, Christianity is no different than other religions who have a messianic or prophetic figure to whom allegiance and obedience are required in order to obtain eternal benefits. But that is not the gospel of grace.
The gospel is grace and grace is the gospel (or good news). Anything short of grace is not good news. The gospel is that God stooped toward sinful mankind as a baby born in a manger. He clothed himself in flesh in the person of Jesus Christ. Jesus died the most brutal death on a cross of shame and suffering in our place, giving full pardon and life to those who would believe in him. Our contribution to such a transaction is simple belief (faith). We bring nothing of value to the table, and nothing can ever be added from our hands to make the good news more plausible or make ourselves more worthy to receive it. The gospel of grace is hard to believe, but it is true. It is God’s story. It is radical.
The gospel of the grace of God in the person and work of Jesus Christ is the only thing that has the power to save and change the lives of people. Grace is more than a word, name, or title for our church. It is the essence of our identity and message. It reaches past religious denominationalism. It supersedes all of academia’s theological constructs. It frustrates the anthropocentric modern mind. It is foolish, scandalous, and simplistic. It is absurd and beautiful. It is life to everyone who believes, and therefore, the very fabric of our mission as a new church in Maricopa.
As a new church plant, we believe in the power of partnership. As the Apostle Paul traveled on his missionary journeys through Asia and Greece, he counted upon local churches to partner with him in the work of the Gospel. Likewise, GFC depends upon the prayer and financial support of our sending churches like The Vine Baptist Church in Davis, Oklahoma, and Mountain Ridge Baptist Church in Glendale, Arizona. Both churches provide leadership counseling, prayer support, and financial partnership to GFC.
Other partners include Prairieville Baptist Church in Prairieville, Texas and Emmanuel Baptist Church in Sun City, Arizona. We are thankful for the sacrificial giving of missional churches and the giving of Southern Baptists through the Cooperative Program. We will continue to carry the cooperative spirit of partnership as we launch a new church in Maricopa, and look for other opportunities to give and support as we grow.
If you or someone you know may be considering a partnership with Grace Fellowship Church, please leave your name and contact information in the comments above, and we will be sure to contact you.
Grace Fellowship Church leaders and launch team members will be hosting our first vision meeting at Copper Sky Recreational Center, April 17th from 3-5pm. Leaders will share short term and long term vision goals as well as testimonies about God’s direction for planting a new church in Maricopa. Our team looks forward to meeting all who come out to catch the vision of this new church. We are in prayer for God to begin directing the minds and hearts of people who will partner with us as launch team members leading up to August.