Vision 2017, Part I
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Where Are We Going?
It’s a great time to be a part of Grace City Denver! God has blessed us with a season of extraordinary unity, lives are being transformed, volunteers are living out what it means to be the church, and we see new people coming every week. So the vision that follows is not intended to replace all the good things that are happening, but rather to celebrate, amplify, and build upon them.
There’s a lot we don’t know about how exactly all this will be fleshed out in the days ahead, but here are 4 simple pillars that form the backbone of our vision:
#1: Our ultimate purpose is to worship and enjoy Jesus Christ.
Romans 11:36 – “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen.”
Jesus Christ is the Lord, Savior, and Head of Grace City. He is our Hero and Friend. It’s not an obligation to worship him; it’s a privilege and a delight. We confess that our lives are marred by trials, brokenness, disappointments, and sin – just like everyone else’s – but we are finding our souls’ ultimate joy and satisfaction in Jesus. Everything we do and say is ultimately toward this chief end of worshiping Christ and enjoying him forever.
This worship, we believe, is something worth sharing with everyone everywhere. We want others to be introduced to this God who loves them and gave himself for them. We want everyone to enjoy the freedom, forgiveness, restoration, and joy that we get to enjoy in Jesus. And that bring us to pillar 2:
#2: Our core mission – the one thing we must do – is to make and mature disciples of Jesus Christ.
Matthew 28:18-20 – “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
There are many good things a church can do, but there’s only one finite, time-critical thing a church must do right now. There’s only one part of our mission that requires a broken world filled with broken lives. There’s only one aspect of our life’s calling that will suddenly end the moment we die or Jesus returns. And that’s evangelism. If we accomplish nothing else, we must be about Jesus’ business of sharing the Gospel and intentionally making disciples.
Maybe this sounds obvious, but in practice it’s easy for Christians to place a higher priority on other “churchy” things: How awesome is the worship? How many programs, activities, and events are there for my family? How cool are the facilities? How funny is the pastor? How “relevant” are the sermons? How many people are there who are just like me? It’s all too easy to settle into great worship and great teaching in a great community and never give another thought to why the church exists in the first place: to make disciples of Jesus Christ!
#3: We will be intentional and strategic about pursuing younger generations with the Gospel.
Psalm 145:4 – “One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”
Like Jesus, we will love and serve anyone and everyone we meet … and we will focus on intentionally seeking, connecting, mentoring, and empowering younger generations. Whatever you think of Millennials, they’re the single largest demographic in Denver, and they’re here to stay. They’re not just the future of the church, they are the present.
Millennials are the butt of a lot of jokes, stereotypes, and putdowns right now. Count us out. We love and welcome those who will soon be the pastors and leaders of the church – of our church. We’re here to lock arms with them as full partners in the Gospel of grace.
Grace City is determined to grow younger, not older. We will stand for the historic Christian Gospel and sound doctrine, but we’re not here to guard the mere preferences and opinions of past generations. We will adapt and evolve to most effectively make and mature disciples of the coming generations.
That leads us to the final pillar of our vision for now. Where? Where will we worship and enjoy Jesus? Where will we make and mature disciples? Where will we pursue and platform younger generations? Answer:
#4: We will go wherever God providentially leads us on mission to make the greatest kingdom impact.
Acts 19:9-10 – “But when some became stubborn and continued in unbelief, speaking evil of the Way before the congregation, he withdrew from them and took the disciples with him, reasoning daily in the hall of Tyrannus. This continued for two years, so that all the residents of Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks.”
Historically, we’ve had people coming from all corners of Denver – and beyond – but most of our ministry has been centered on Northeast Denver. 1 of Denver’s 78 neighborhoods has received a disproportionate amount of our time and energy. This has left many of our regulars relatively isolated from community throughout the week, when most of life happens. We plan to fix that by strategically growing a vibrant network of Gospel Communities and neighborhood ministries all over the city. “Citywide” is a word you’re going to hear a lot.
Finally, we plan to go where culture is being forged … and leave Jesus-shaped footprints there. We plan to go where younger generations work, play, and live, and do ministry with them. We envision nothing less than the heart of Christ in the heart of the city.
If you’re “in” on this vision, please read Part II: How Do We Get There?