We praise God for prospering Grace City Church at the corner of Park Avenue and Broadway over the past five months. Though construction delays, COVID shutdowns, and collaborative efforts with another church all impacted our plans and timeline, we’re now thriving, by God’s providence, in the heart of downtown Denver.
As we head into a new fiscal year beginning July 1, we want to highlight some key elements of a Strategic Plan the leadership team has been developing.
A Strategic Plan is a way to focus our energy and resources around a set of shared priorities and goals. Out of all the good things we could potentially do in pursuit of our mission, what are some specific things we believe God is calling us to do?
Our plan is not exhaustive. And it’s not simply a restatement of our mission, vision, or values. Rather, all of those core beliefs and objectives are assumed – and are the foundation for what you’ll read here.
First, some observations that inform our strategy:
- The biblical literacy of our culture is rapidly declining, and widespread intolerance for Christian beliefs is rapidly on the rise. Jesus followers will need to be equipped and encouraged to live in a post-Christian world.
- Christians are far more catechized by our culture than we realize. We believe more and more things contrary to Scripture, not because they’re true, but simply because everyone around us believes them.
- Society is increasingly polarized and shrill over political and social issues (revealing irreconcilable disagreements on theological, ideological, and epistemological levels).
- Progressive cultures are waiting longer to get married, or not marrying at all, even as they radically redefine what marriage, sex, and gender are, and hyper-sexualize virtually everything.
- The internet, smart phones, and particularly social media have transformed the way people learn and interact with one another. There’s been a significant shift away from real, face-to-face community to “virtual community.” Opinions are reinforced, rather than challenged, by the groupthink of one’s chosen online community combined with the dangerous confirmation bias of internet algorithms.
- Many young people are “de-converting” from Christianity or are never following Christ at all.
- Homelessness, drug addiction, and mental health crises have reached epidemic levels, especially in our city centers. We are proximate to overwhelming needs, yet successful, holistic treatments and solutions are virtually nonexistent.
- We’re located in the middle of an extraordinarily diverse population, representing several distinct demographics. God calls us to love and serve all our neighbors without prejudice or partiality.
- We’re exceptionally well resourced for a church of our size and maturity. We have a beautiful and functional auditorium and meeting rooms, children’s ministry, office, and storage spaces, and off-street parking. Our cash reserves are very healthy. Our teams of lay leaders and volunteers are gifted, diverse, and growing. Our local and international missions and ministry partnerships are fruitful.
- We’re good at real, face-to-face hospitality and community. People are not lost in a nameless crowd of attenders; they’re seen, known, included, and cared for. Affinity and Gospel Community groups are growing naturally and organically.
As we process what is true about our context, both inside and outside the church, we see real opportunities for the advancement of the Gospel. Considering the current needs and opportunities, the mission of God for the church, and our own resources and abilities, we land on a handful of practical implications.
Here are some of those strategies:
- God is calling us to invest boldly and strategically in our church and community. We have the resources to do some creative things to staff for the future and to grow practical Gospel ministries.
- We’ll continue to preach and teach straight from the Bible as God’s authority for life, but we’ll be adding more systematic theology to our expositional approach. We’ll tackle the hard topics that culture is talking about – and which are often avoided by the church. We’ll equip our people to identify the idolatrous indoctrination of the world and engage in biblical counter-catechesis.
- Beginning with our sermon series on Faith & Work, we’ll be creating more evergreen content – and putting it in more formats – to impact lives beyond our Sunday services. This will require an investment in both staff and technology, but will make practicing the Way of Jesus far more accessible to a lot more people in the future.
- As Grace City gets younger, and gets more effective at reaching and including younger generations, we’re deliberately investing in leadership development. In addition to training church leaders (elders, deacons, team leads), we’re also committed to training our people to think Christianly about everyday life. We’ll be training theologians who can preach, teach, lead worship, or counsel, even though most will never be called to full-time vocational ministry in the church context. We are committed to equipping and supporting urban missionaries in the places where they live, work, and play in the neighborhoods around us.
- We’ll leverage our facilities in additional, creative ways for the greater good of our city. We’ll continue to develop and support our partnerships with other ministries sharing the Gospel and working for God’s vision of justice and mercy. We’ll make others’ service to those in need exponentially more effective by donating our time, our space, and our best energies to love those on the margins.
How can you participate?
Show up – thoughtfully, consistently, and early. Expect to receive something from God that’s going to renew your soul and equip you for real life. Worship the Lord, who is more worthy than any of us can even imagine.
Give. The reason we’re so well positioned to invest boldly is because of other generous givers who’ve gone before you. Don’t bury your talent in the earth; invest it in the service of King Jesus. Watch him do more than we can ask or think.
Go. Live on mission. Yes, you’re called to serve your spiritual family, and serve with your spiritual family, but you also have opportunities “out there” that only you have. Trust that God wants to work through you for his glory and for the joy of others.
Share your stories. We want to know how God is at work in you and through you. We want to celebrate with you!
Pray. The things we’re called to do and the things we want to see God do are bigger than us. More importantly, we want to see God get the glory as we depend on him.