FEBRUARY 9, 2023

FEBRUARY 9, 2023

Dear Grace Family,

As your pastor, I often think through the question of what our identity is as a church. Or to put it another way, if you had an elevator ride with someone and they asked you, “what is Grace Pres like?” what would you say? I think it’s important for all of us, not just me or the officers, to think through who we are as a church and what it is that keeps us coming back. There are three specific things I can think of, and I think I can list them in the right order. There are a few more that I hope will increasingly become true about us as well. I would love to see up become more community-oriented and mercy/missions oriented.

1. Faithful preaching. All true believers who are being led by the indwelling Holy Spirit would insist on a church that has a high view of preaching and a commitment to carefully dividing the Word of God. Let me say concerning this one that it would be a mistake for y’all to think the presence of faithful preaching falls solely on the man behind the pulpit. Believe me, my preaching will only be faithful and powerful insomuch as the Spirit of God is at work. And I know for certain that the power of our pulpit lies in the faithful prayers of so many of y’all. Please keep praying that whoever stands behind our pulpit would insist on being empowered by the Spirit as he preaches.

2. Family-like environment. It’s not a gesture or an accident that I begin each of these with, “Dear Grace Family.” A biblical church is a family. Just as family dynamics can always improve and relationships can always be strengthened, we, too, have ample room to grow in this area. However, I see the number of y’all who want a connection to each other that’s deeper than shared proximity on Sunday morning continuing to grow. May it ever be so! Please never underestimate the value of basic kindness and warmth, as we think through our attitudes when present together.

3. Historic, Reformed Worship. I’m not so naïve as to think everyone enjoys our unique style of music or the formality of our liturgy. That being said, we constantly hear from folks that develop a deep appreciation for some of the ancient paths of the church we still take. Again, this isn’t something that is just “pulled off” by a few. Singing is not optional in the eyes of the God who calls us to worship each Lord’s Day. It’s a biblical command. What that looks like as we gather for worship is each of us giving it our “best shot.” You might be off-key. You might start the verse a second soon or a little late. It’s ok! Our Father delights in hearing us sing. Also, we will always have several folks in our room who don’t know our hymn selections and truly are relying on your voices to aid them along the way.

So, who is Grace? Hopefully she is a church with faithful preaching, a family-like environment, and historic, reformed worship. We can only be these things with the powerful presence of the Holy Spirit and the faithful participation of the saints. See y’all on Sunday as we, together, continue striving to be these things.

Humbly Yours,