No, You’re Not Welcome To Our New Church Launch!

This post was written by Andy Prime, 20schemes church planter in Gracemount, Edinburgh

This post was written by Andy Prime, 20schemes church planter in Gracemount, Edinburgh

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:

  1. Seeking to build deep, genuine relationships within Gracemount.
  2. Taking time to thoroughly exegete and understand our community.
  3. Praying and strategically thinking through how as a local church we can most clearly communicate the gospel to Gracemount.
  4. 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.

I think we’ll have bouncers on the door on opening Sunday. (@revandyprime) #churchplanting Click To TweetIn 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.

Posted by Andy Prime

Andy Prime started his ministry as an Associate Pastor at Charlotte Chapel, Edinburgh. He and his wife Sarah left Charlotte Chapel in 2014 to plant a church with 20schemes, which they still help run today.

  1. Kathryn Ludrick 28 March 2017 at 6:34 pm

    This is very strange. You’re having a public church service but requiring it to be private? If you wanted a private service it would make more sense to hold the service somewhere besides the church or at another day and time rather than the publicized Sunday service time. And what’s with the bouncers? You’re a church, at least in name, not a night club.

    Reply

    1. Kathryn – I am not sure you have understood the purpose of the post. Andy is asking that the sending churches don’t send loads of people who will travel by car to Gracemount. Andy did explain the church is for the people of Gracemount. I live nearby and could walk (even if raining), but based on what Andy says I probably should not attend. That is fair enough. The service is far from private – he wants it to be public – the more public the better, but only with Gracemount residents.

      Give him a bit of poetic licence with the bouncers – think through the principle rather than the potential reality. Anyway, knowing his team, most of them would be useless as bouncers.

      Reply

      1. Suzanne Baxter 29 March 2017 at 9:53 am

        Amen brother

        Reply

      2. This is the problem with American evangelicalism. Some try to create their own version of The Lord’s Church. How does he know that some unsaved person from another town won’t attend, hear the gospel, repent and believe. Open the doors and let God call whomever he wills.

        Reply

        1. This has literally nothing to do with “American Evangelicalism”…
          Having known these guys personally and spent time with them in the schemes I think this post is dead on and the right thing for them to do. It’s 100% inline with their values and mission and I’d be shocked and disappointed if they invited “outsiders” to the church launch. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how gracious and kind the request to stay away was.

          To Andy & the rest of the team all I have is encouragement. You guys model ministry exceptionally well and your example is one to follow.

          Reply

          1. Casey, your description of “outsiders” would not be found in scripture.
            The church is not a building or a denomination. According to the Bible, the church is the body of Christ—all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation. There are no “outsiders” in the body of Christ. The number one reason we gather is to worship The Lord, not serve the community. That is what American evangelicalism has gotten so wrong.

          2. Hey Deke, I think we’re getting caught up in semantics here. Outsiders wouldn’t be found in scripture but it would certainly be found within the context of this church plant and these guys aren’t even Americans. I don’t think us going back and forth on this forum will do much good at all. I’d be happy to talk about this with you on a more direct forum if you’d be willing. I don’t think this disqus thing has direct message but my twitter is @caseybrooks1018 if you can get me there.

        2. First, I don’t think he’s talking about an unsaved person from another town, but rather a bunch of church people from other towns. His point is that their first Sunday isn’t a party for all the Christians who know and love them to come join in, but rather is designed to reach the local people of Gracemount with the gospel.

          Second, I think the desire to be a “local” church is very commendable. Far too often the desire of new church plants, at least here in America, is to get as many people in the seats as possible, even if that means the people drive past good churches on the way to the new church. Far better to, when possible, be part of a local assembly where you can know and be known not only on Sunday morning but also throughout the week and life in the local community.

          Personally, I find this blog post refreshing.

          Reply

          1. Brance, I agree that a body of believers who live locally is the optimum situation. However, I disagree that there are so many bible believing/bible teaching local assemblies that true believers are driving past in order to attend the newest one. Also, we won’t see the model of church planting described in this post anywhere in scripture. It’s just another example of men making themselves the focus instead of understanding that the gathering of the body is to worship The Lord, not to serve the community. Anyone who wants to worship our Lord, no matter where they are, should be encouraged to come, not discouraged.

          2. Deke, Your argument fails, because in biblical times Christians would only attend their local church. They didn’t have a choice of churches to attend, nor cars to get them to the next town quickly. The 20schemes guys are planting a church in a community for local Christians and as an outreach to local people. A crowd of strangers would be a distraction. They’ve said people are welcome to visit, just not at first.

          3. Emptyheaded old fairy.

        3. If a nonbeliever from another town wants to attend, fine. The issue is flooding the opening of a church with a load of Christians who don’t live locally. I can’t think of anything more offputting to the people the church is trying to reach.

          Reply

          1. Not trying to argue Ian, but my question would be is how do you know who has truly repented and believed? Not all who have a fish bumper sticker truly belong to The Lord. Matthew 7:21.

  2. “Therefore welcome one another as the Messiah has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” Romans 15:7

    Reply

  3. This is good leadership, and keeps the focus on what will accomplish the mission that Christ gave to all believers.

    Reply

  4. Kathryn Ludrick 29 March 2017 at 9:13 pm

    Thanks for explanation. It’s difficult to understand but things are obviously different there. No problem. Thanks again.

    Reply

  5. Spot on Brother Andy.

    Reply

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