The calendar has flipped on another year and we have entered 2016 with great hopes and confidence in the Lord. As a church, we are expectant and ready for the days ahead, at the same time we are thankful for what has happened in 2015.
This last year produced every emotion across the spectrum but it has ended with clear examples of God’s faithfulness to his church. We began the year unsure of our future as a local church. We had a lease that was draining financial resources, we were led by an interim board, and were very much feeling the effects of 2014 in the life of the church. Together however, we determined to keep proclaiming the gospel and live in response to God’s grace toward us and trust in his plan for this church.
In the Spring our elder council was elected and we thanked the men on the interim board for their sacrificial service to Grace. We sold most of our physical property and brokered a deal to end our lease on Via Frontera. We celebrated the new season by worshipping together in Rancho Bernardo Park. We made the transition to Del Norte High School. We baptized nine people. We have welcomed new families. We ended the year with a healthy financial reserve fund and a budget for 2016 that allows for new ministry.
All in all, 2015 has been a good, foundational year for Grace Church as we have relied on God’s grace to carry us through. And it is to his grace we will turn over and over again this year. The state of our church remains one of dependence as we bring our need and attempt to serve and glorify a faithful God.
So what does 2016 hold for us as a church? Prayerfully, many good things.
This year we will affirm a new Book of Church Order. In the coming weeks the elders will present the fruit of their labors over the last several months to refine a governing document to put in place a foundation for how we will function and relate to one another as a church body. It might seem trivial or even overkill, but given our history it is a needed guide and guard for us as we move into the future.
Part of this document is a new vision and mission statement for Grace. From this statement we will spend the month of January declaring that “We Are Grace Church” in a sermon series set to put the stake in the ground for our identity as a church. We will follow that series with a collection of Messianic Psalms that sing of Jesus, the letters to the churches in Revelation and First Corinthians.
We will have a new members seminar in February and a musical worship seminar in the Spring. We hope to add new home groups, see our student ministry grow along with more opportunities for outreach, more baptisms, transformed lives, relationships and families as we know Jesus and make him known.
Beyond our planning for the year, we are asking the Lord to work in ways we could never imagine. That he would build his church with people from across the street and afar as people are saved. Personally, my prayers for Grace in 2016 have centered around the word “deeper.” A deeper dependence on God, his power and provision for us as a church. I am also praying for deeper relationships among those of us that call Grace home. I am praying that the Lord would bring us as a people to a deeper sense and experience in worship and study of his Word. That we would have deeper ties into our neighborhoods. And that we would be be a church that scours the depths of the gospel in pursuit of Jesus.
Many things will come our way in 2016 and we will do what we have to this point, proclaim the gospel, live in response to the grace we have been given and trust in the One who is in control. Grace Church, it is going to be an adventure. Let’s go!