Our first Vision Focus evening on 25th January gave me my first proper opportunity to lay out what I see for the future of Grace Church. Thank you to everyone who was able to be there. I love these times we get to bring all three Grace Church sites together in one place. It was good to see the room packed out again!
Of course, not everyone can make these evenings, so if you were not there (or you want a reminder!), please have a look at this video which gives a summary of what I said on the evening.
I won’t repeat it all again here, but let me tell you what I am particularly excited about as I look forward to the months ahead.
Playing to our Strengths
I believe that God has called us to be a multisite church. It is certainly not the only way to be a biblical church that Jesus loves! But it is the character and shape that God has given us. He birthed it in us through prophetic gifting, and it is my vision for the future of Grace Church.
There are many aspects of being a multisite church that are hard work, and I am so grateful for the hundreds of people who give their time and energy to serve each week to make it possible. However, there are also real strengths in doing church this way. Number 1 is that it enables us to be visible in the communities we serve. Much of what we do to connect with people is only possible because we are a church that meets close to where people live. We can connect with people in Bognor and say, “We are a church for Bognor.” We can meet new people in Midhurst and say, “God loves Midhurst and so do we!”
Our priority for the season ahead is to play to our strengths. We need to become even more visible, blessing people with fun things, presenting the gospel in accessible ways, and serving the poor in our communities.
Working with a New Eldership Team
Surely the most exciting bit of news on Wednesday was the announcement of new elders for Grace Church! My proposal is that we add Simpson Charlton and Joe Leach into our eldership team. If you are a part of Grace Church then I would love to hear your feedback on that.
These men both bring a unique mix of gifting to the team: Simo with his passion for worship, Joe with his depth of theology and clear thinking. No doubt I will miss Steve when he leaves the eldership team at the end of April. It’s like saying goodbye to a brother. But that doesn’t lessen my excitement about forming this new team, with Chris and Thomas of course.
I am convinced that this is the right team to lead Grace Church into the future. That said, remember that nothing stands still. I would be surprised if we were not announcing more new elders before very long!
Joining the Havant Life Group
One of the things I am looking forward to is joining the Havant Life Group. There are two reasons for doing this. One reason is that I want to take every opportunity to raise the profile of our Life Groups. Sometimes they can seem a bit hidden away, when the truth is that the two big pillars of church life are ‘gathering on a Sunday’ and ‘attending a mid-week group’. So I feel it is important that I am a part of a group myself.
But why Havant? Well, I believe this is a small but significant step towards making a Grace Church site in Havant a reality. When I was praying recently for our Chichester site, I felt this sense of God stretching my arms out wide to encompass, not just Chichester, but Havant to the West as well. I have a vivid recollection of God speaking to me in the same way over four years ago, but that time God was stretching my arms around Chichester and Bognor. We started planning for our first multisite shortly after that.
I feel a prophetic nudge to place myself physically in Havant. Let’s see what God does with that!