July 22nd, 2018
Dear Grace City Church,
I hope this finds you all very well! As things gradually slow down heading into the summer, I find myself once again in awe at all God has done in the life of our church over this last stretch. We started as 11 people around a coffee table in January 2016. Since that time, God has rapidly taken our church forward and continues to show grace upon grace. We've continued to welcome people at our Sunday services since moving the Shaw Centre last January. Many newcomers have gone on to join one of our 8 midweek Life Groups, lead by a team of caring and dedicated Life Group leaders. When thinking about highlights over the past few months, the baptisms at our Easter Sunday service certainly deserves to be mentioned! There are many more encouraging stories that could be shared. The point is this - our God is with us and our God is for us! We can trust that His grace will continue to go ahead of us as we help people in Ottawa follow Jesus, raise even more leaders, and keep pressing on in our goal to start new churches in Canada.
With that said, let me share some news about what's happening in the life of the church:
A Generous Church
In Ephesians 5, the Apostle Paul quotes Genesis when he says it is right for a man to leave his father and mother and be joined with his wife. From I’ve heard, it isn’t attractive for a grown man to insist on living at home, eating his parent’s food, and letting them clean his room and do his laundry. The same can be said of churches! New churches like ours should aim to, in an appropriate sense, leave home. This includes financially standing on our own two feet. Because of the investment of many in our church, we are within striking distance of covering our own church expenditure. The church currently needs approximately $15,000 per month to covers key areas such as salaries, venue rental, pastoral care, insurance and leadership development, to name a few. Between $8,000 and $12,000 per month is currently given to the church, with the shortfall being met through donations given via our ‘parent’ church in the UK.
As grateful as we are for the generous support from the UK, our aim is to close this gap, and move well beyond it so we can show increased generosity to others. Church family, we can do this!
As we take time to rest this summer, let’s not use rest as an excuse for financial laziness. God doesn’t need our money, but He wants our hearts. In Matthew 6, Jesus said that our hearts will end up wherever our cash is. Let’s invest generously in the church as an act of worship to the God who has generously given us everything in giving us Jesus. For more information on how to give, visit gracecity.ca/giving
Resting well this August
How many times have you recently heard someone say, ‘I’m just so busy!’ Perhaps you’ve been saying it yourself. Believe me, I understand. ‘Busyness’ is a god our culture frantically serves and a label that many base their identity and worth on. Christians aren’t immune to this. The statistics of burnout within churches are hardly different than those outside. However, busyness and worship cannot occupy the same space. The Bible teaches that not only is rest a gift, but resting well is worship. When we rest well, we declare that God is in control, that we depend on Him, and that not everything relies on us.
As a church, we want to rest well this August. This includes resting the many leaders who work hard to make our Sunday services happen each week, along with those who lead Life Groups and serve on our Launch Team. To help this, once again this year we will not be having Sunday services during the month of August. Let me encourage each of you to take time out on Sundays in August to switch off and enjoy a quieter pace. You may be surprised how productive rest can be!
Life Group Multiplication
Throughout the Bible, the people of God are referred to as a family; and more specifically, God’s family. Families journey through life together, through both the good and through the bad. We want to create opportunities for people in our church to be loved and cared for, and to love and care for each other. Our midweek Life Groups are key for achieving this goal. We are aiming to have 16 Life Groups ready to go for September, double the number we’ve had over the past year. If this sounds like an ambitious target, that’s because it is! We’re pursuing this goal both in faith that God will continue to add people to the church, and out of a desire to see people in our church well cared for. We’ll be announcing our Fall 2018 Life Group leaders and locations in September.
We’ll write again later this summer with key dates for the fall, including information about our week of prayer and worship that will help launch the ‘new’ year in September. Church family, it is a huge privilege to journey with you. As I think of each of you, I find myself thinking about what Paul said to the Philippians in 1:3-5:
I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.
I couldn’t agree more.
With love for you all,