Not beating about the bush, let me give you this blog in a sentence: Thanks SO much for supporting our church plant. But unless you’re local to Gracemount, please, please, please DON’T come to our church launch on Easter Sunday.
We are really grateful to so many people and churches – both locally and globally – for supporting our church plant over the last few years. Without your faithful prayers and generous giving we would not be where we are today, almost ready to go live with Gracemount Community Church.
Over the last few weeks, especially as our team members have been getting ready to say ‘goodbye’ to their sending churches, loads of people have said to us, ‘We can’t wait to come to Gracemount Community Church on your first Sunday to support you guys and see how it all goes.’ Although for some church plants this would be welcomed as they try and make a big splash through a rent-a-crowd type strategy, this really isn’t what we want. In fact, let us go as far as to say that you are NOT INVITED to the launch Sunday of Gracemount Community Church.
You are not invited
Let us explain why.
Over the last few years as our team have moved into the scheme, we have been very deliberately doing four things:
- Seeking to build deep, genuine relationships within Gracemount.
- Taking time to thoroughly exegete and understand our community.
- Praying and strategically thinking through how as a local church we can most clearly communicate the gospel to Gracemount.
- Creating a distinctive, yet compelling counter community that displays the gospel in Gracemount.
To put it another way, we’ve spent ages seeking to be known in Gracemount, to know Gracemount, and to know how best to make Jesus known in Gracemount. We are not simply planting a replica of a Chalmers Church or Niddrie Community Church service in Gracemount. Everything will be contextualised for our scheme.
Contextualised for our scheme
That means that everything that happens on our first Sunday will be for people from Gracemount – whether a believer or an unbeliever.
- On opening Sunday, everything we do, everything we say, everything we sing, will be very deliberate and thought through for our community.
- We want the service on opening Sunday to be typical of what every other Sunday will look like.
- At our first service we want people from the scheme to walk in and see faces they know well rather than a bunch of strangers.
- On our first Sunday we want people to walk to church (even if it’s raining), rather than people driving in from outside.
That means that if you’re not local to Gracemount – to put it bluntly – you’re not invited!
It doesn’t help us
Listen, please don’t hear us wrong. We are so grateful for your support. We know that your motive for wanting to come is a really godly one that wants to encourage us. However, if a load of people from Charlotte Chapel, Chalmers Church, Niddrie Community Church, or Cornerstone Church turn up, it really doesn’t help us serve the people of Gracemount, who we are desperate to share the gospel of the risen Jesus with on Easter Sunday. Having a load of outsiders there on the first Sunday has the potential to dilute everything we’ve sought to be, and disfigure everything we’ve sought to create.[bctt tweet=”I think we’ll have bouncers on the door on opening Sunday. (@revandyprime) #churchplanting”]In fact, I think we’ll have bouncers on the door on opening Sunday. It’s just ironic that the people they’ll be told to bar from entry are those who have holes in their trousers because they’ve been praying for us so much and empty wallets because they’ve been sacrificially paying for our ministry.
If you’re keen to show your support for us as we move to launch, the planting team will be getting commissioned at the service at Niddrie Community Church this Sunday (2nd April) at 11am. You’d be very welcome to come to that service as they pray for us and send us out for the task ahead.
And once we’ve got our feet under the table, and got the first 6-8 weeks of Gracemount Community Church under our belt, then you’d be more than welcome to come in your ones and twos to see how we’re getting on.
But let me say it again: we love you. We’re grateful to God for you, we covet your prayers and are humbled by your partnership in the gospel. We just don’t want you all at our launch Sunday.