We are a group of Christians with a God-given passion to prize and proclaim the excellencies of our crucified and risen Savior, Jesus Christ, the One through whom the God of all grace has loved us, sought us, saved us, and called us out of the darkness of our sin and into His marvelous light (1 Pet. 2:9).
As a hell-deserving people saved by the grace of God (Eph. 2:8), from the wrath of God (Rom. 5:9), and for the glory of God (Eph. 1:12), we exist to joyfully extol and magnify the true and living God, to faithfully proclaim the Christ-centered word, to build each other up by speaking the truth in love, and to bring the good news of the gospel to our city and world, so that the Lamb who was slain may receive the full reward for His sufferings. The following is a brief explanation of our purpose statement.
I. TO JOYFULLY EXTOL AND MAGNIFY THE TRUE AND LIVING GOD
The chief end and ultimate purpose of man is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. This life, this world, and the universe in which we live is, never has been, and never will be about us. It's about God and His glory (Psa. 104:31; Rom. 11:36; Rev. 4:11). By His works of creation and redemption, this God has gladdened our hearts (Psa. 92:4). By putting away our sin by the sacrifice of His Son, God has turned our sorrow into joy and we now rejoice, above all else, in hope of the glory of God (Rom. 5:2). In all that we do, we long to echo by our lips and lives the words of Elihu in the story of Job: "Remember to extol His work, of which men have sung" (Job 36:24). By God's grace and truth, we've turned from idols to serve the living and true God (1 Thess. 1:9). It's through us, the church, that God has purposed to display His manifold wisdom (Eph. 3:10). Our ultimate purpose as a community of believers is to magnify God and to exalt His name together (Psa. 34:3).
II. TO FAITHFULLY PROCLAIM THE CHRIST-CENTERED WORD
God is glorified when His word – the Bible – is made known in the power of His Holy Spirit. We are a people united under the authority of God's word. We joyfully assemble ourselves not above, not alongside of, but under His precious word. We believe, as John Calvin said, "When the Bible speaks, God speaks." As the church, we're "the pillar and buttress of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15), which means that we're to publicly present the truth before a world engulfed in lies and unreality because of the evil one in whose power it lies (1 John 5:19). God's word is sufficient to save, sanctify, safeguard, and satisfy His people, which is why we're committed to proclaiming it week in and week out (2 Tim. 4:1-4). We also affirm that the Bible is a unified story of how God has come to rescue sinners from the power, punishment, and presence of sin by His Son, Jesus Christ. We're convinced that the only way Christians are to grow, bear fruit, and be conformed to the image of Christ is to hear and heed the mind-renewing, Christ-centered, divinely-inspired message of the Old and New Testaments, which is why the leadership of Grace Community Church is committed to expository preaching.
III. TO BUILD EACH OTHER UP BY SPEAKING THE TRUTH IN LOVE
When God saves His people, He makes them citizens of His Son's kingdom (Col. 1:13), as well as saints and members of His household (Eph. 2:19). Therefore, we exist, not simply to build ourselves up (Jude 20), but to build one another up (1 Thess. 5:11). In a day when secular and religious individualism is prized, we gladly affirm that although we come from different backgrounds and cultures, we're all "one in Christ" and "individually members one of another" (Gal. 3:28; Rom. 12:5). Our God-given mandate is as follows: "strive to excel in building up the church" (1 Cor. 14:12). We intend to fulfill this mandate by not neglecting to meet together as is the habit of some (Heb. 10:26), counting one another more significant than ourselves (Phil. 2:3), bearing one another's burdens (Gal. 6:2), teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom (Col. 3:16), stirring up one another to love and good works (Heb. 10:24), showing hospitality to one another (1 Pet. 4:9), and using our God-given gifts to serve one another for the glory of God (1 Pet. 4:10), so that everyone may be presented mature in Christ (Col. 1:28). By speaking the truth to one another in love, we, by the grace of God, will grow up in every way into him who is the head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ (Eph. 4:15).
IV. TO BRING THE GOOD NEWS OF THE GOSPEL TO OUR CITY AND WORLD
While the previous point emphasizes our God-given mandate as it relates to the church, our mandate as it relates to the world is as follows: "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" (Matt. 28:19-20). This great commission is essentially three-fold: make, mark, and mature disciples (followers of Jesus Christ). We exist to make disciples by proclaiming the gospel, marking every repentant believer by baptism, and making use of all the means of grace to ensure that every disciple matures into an individual who hears and heeds, trusts and treasures, loves and obeys the Lord Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 1:8). We also believe that carrying out the great commission involves planting sound, healthy churches across our land and supporting faithful missionaries laboring abroad.
V. SO THAT THE LAMB WHO WAS SLAIN MAY RECEIVE THE FULL REWARD FOR HIS SUFFERINGS
While the previous statements speak to our purpose, this final point speaks to our motivation. In a sense, we circle back to the first point regarding the exaltation and glorification of the triune God, and affirm that one of the chief purposes of Christ's suffering and death on behalf of His people was that He might be "crowned with glory and honor" (Heb. 2:9) and receive all that the Father promised Him: a purified people to be His treasured possession (Tit. 2:14; Isa. 53:10-12; John 6:39-40, 17:2), along with "power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing" (Rev. 5:12). Thus, our motivation for all of ministry, evangelism, missions, church-planting, and everything mentioned above, isn't merely that the lost would receive forgiveness, reconciliation, and eternal life, or that the church would be built up and brought to full maturity (as glorious as these realities are!), but that the Lamb who was slain may receive all that the Father promised Him, which can be summed up in one infinitely weighty word: glory (Luke 24:26; John 17:24; Eph. 1:12; 2 Pet. 3:18).