Copyright © 2016 Grace Family Church or Rhode Island
The goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. (1 Timothy 1:5)
Have you ever felt the urgent need to do something, but you were not sure what and where? That is exactly how we felt in our church. We sensed that God had placed us together for a reason, and that He wanted us to work together to make a real difference in our communities. Yet, we were not sure how, or what He was calling us to do. We attempted to formulate our own visions, and then carry them out, but soon we began to perceive that it was almost like deciding on our own what we should do, and then ask God to bless it and gift us accordingly. There was something clearly wrong with that, so we decided to turn the table around, and simply stated, we asked God what His design for our congregation was.
We began to see that if God places people together, it is not by mistake. There must be something He had in mind. Also, we realized that if we were to look at how He had endowed us with specific passions and gifts, we should be able to acquire a much more realistic view of what functions we should perform within the body. It was much like working with a puzzle. At first you see a bunch of pieces that seemingly make no sense. It would indeed be futile to decide what image those pieces should form and then attempt to "force" them in place. What we need to do is to begin putting some of the pieces together as they fit naturally, as they were designed to fit. Soon you begin to see what the overall picture was originally supposed to look like, and that makes it much easier to place the rest of the pieces in the correct places. So that's what we did. We began placing down the corner pieces, then the borders, and so on. Of course, we still have much to do, but the image is beginning to become clear.
One of the most exciting aspects of this process is to witness the growth that occurs as the membership of the congregation begins to see that there is indeed a purpose for us all to be together, and that such purpose is not of our own devise. God Himself places us in the body as He sees fit. He endows us with gifts as He sees fit. He is the great Artist, and we are the puzzle. A great sense of purpose and a desire to be part of new accomplishments has began to sweep through our church. We know we all have a vital role to play, and that our role is given to us according to God's will. It is so empowering and refreshing!
As this process of discovery and reassessment of everything we do in our church takes place, there are moments in which we experience the pangs of change. Things look different, and it can be somewhat unsettling. What is helping us deal with this is the excitement we all share in discovering God's greater design for us, and how we are supposed to function together. Just like our various organs are all vitally important and necessary for the proper functioning of our bodies, so are we in the body of Christ. God has placed many different people, with different passions and gifts together so that we could all work together as one body. This, however, can only be accomplished as we operate interdependently with each other. It is just like in the body we have. Our heart cannot decide to jump out of the body and function on its own. Both the heart as well as the body would suffer. When we serve God interdependently, we give our unique contribution to the rest of the body, while we also benefit from what each part of the body supplies.
Our ministries are profoundly affected by this approach. As we serve one another and the community, we don't do so independently from one another. Rather, we tend to function as a complete body, working together for mutual edification and with the primary purpose of giving glory to God and edifying the body of Christ. However, this also means that our ministries are constantly evolving to adapt to God's overall design. As stated, we are not there yet, but are making good progress. So, things can still be changing, and ministries can still be redefined and blended to the wonderful rainbow God is drawing with our different colors. The process is quite exciting and deeply rewarding.
If you are looking for your place in the body of Christ, we recommend that you take serious inventory of what God has given you in terms of passion and gifts, and then compare your findings with the ministry opportunities that are available, as well as the need within the body. You are bound to see a match somewhere, so you can exercise everything God has endowed you with and make your unique contribution to His church. In our congregation we offer periodical classes geared to the discovery of your God-
One of the most difficult things for a human being is to honestly and sincerely pray, “Your will be done!” These words call for a total surrender of our will to the Lord’s, and this applies not only to our personal lives, but also to our ministries. Think about it. It does not make much sense to be able to say “Your will be done” in regards to the way we are in our family, but then turn it into “my program be done” when it comes to the way we “do” church. Our job and calling is not to establish our own programs and ministries. In fact, rather the opposite. We are called to crucify our ministry in order to be able to participate in the work that the Lord is conducting around us. It is not easy, for it is a total surrender to the truth that the Lord, not us, is the real head of the church. As challenging as it may be, however, it is our resolution to let our own ministries die and surrender ourselves corporately to the Lord, praying “Your will be done, Lord. Please show us what you are doing so that we may be part of it as well.” It’s almost ironic, however, for it is just then that things really begin to happen and the body of Christ really begins to grow toward Him in all things.
|Articles and Bible Studies|
|Word of Hope|
|Getting to Know God|
|Suffering and Grief|
|Faith in a Secular World|
|An Introduction to God|
|Does the Trinity Teach Three Gods?|
|An Introduction to God|
|Responding to God with Faith|
|Brief Guide to Bible Translations|
|Spiritual First Aid from the Word of God|
|A Glimpse Into Eternity|
|Why You Need the Church|
|The People of God|
|Looking for the Ideal Church|
|Created to Relate|
|Where Was God?|
|Evolution: Fact of Faith?|
|Word of Hope Podcasts|
|Statement of Beliefs|
|Historical Documents of the Christian Church|