Grace Bible Chapel,
Disciples Making Disciples
We first started discussing the need for a new church during the summer of 2009. Our group of friends were troubled by the under representation of Free Grace theology, the lack of expository teaching, and the increasing influence of the Neo-Reform movement. It seemed to us that God had providentially brought us together for the task of establishing Grace Bible Chapel. Jesus' letters to the churches in Revelation 2 & 3 tempered our conversation. Our view is those letters are representative of any point in church history. Most of those churches were in trouble with our Lord. Starting a new Church is serious work and not one of us wants to hear Jesus say: "But I have this against you…" We did a study of South Denton County demographics and found that 65% of the population claims no church affiliation of any kind. Those who are connected with a church are distributed across the full spectrum of religious beliefs. That means many of them have no understanding of the Gospel or the rewards of being a partner in Christ's Kingdom. Clearly there is room for another Church committed to making disciples
Meeting in the Corinth Elementary School in Corinth Texas, Grace Bible Chapel is committed to making connections with the un-churched community. Our assumption is that everyone who wants to go to church is already doing so. The reality is that only about 20% of churches in America are growing. Most of that growth is from Christians church shopping and not evangelism. Non-Christians are just not interested.
Our vision for GBC is to become a platform for launching other Free Grace Churches. We want to develop disciples who will catch that vision. We do not need to be a mega church to have the resources needed to equip new launch teams and plant other Free Grace Churches in nearby communities. The Book of Acts shows this method was used to great effect by the Apostles. They would plant one church and then let it replicate itself in the surrounding communities. Using that approach, the Body of Christ grew at a phenomenal rate.
The challenges a new Church faces are many. The well-documented consumer mentality that prevails in the American Church is a factor. People have come to see the church as a resource for their personal needs rather than the Ephesians 4 model of everyone joining together in service to the mission of building up the Body. We knew GBC needed a core group of God-dependent disciples sharing a common vision for what God can do through His people. Forming that core group of evangelistic disciples is paramount.
Financial support is another obstacle to overcome. The reality is it takes money to plant a church, but we are convinced that if we are faithful to the mission Christ has given us He will take care of the finances. Changing the way we think about our roles is the larger issue. Most of us are guilty of surrounding ourselves solely with other Christians. Coupled with the demanding distractions of careers and modern society an individual's time can easily become over committed. We have to see these as opportunities society gives us.
Our mission field is in the workplace, at the soccer field, PTA or our favorite restaurant. That is where we will find the un-churched. That is our final challenge, connecting with those who are never going to seek us out. Remember that everyone who wants to go to church already goes. GBC was established to reach un-churched people and despite Hollywood's view of things, just because you build it (or in our case rent it) does not mean they will come. Our strategy is to connect with the community through existing associations. We reach out corporately with agencies such as the Chamber of Commerce, Spirit of Christmas Angel Tree, Thanksgiving food drive and the local food pantry.
We have made use of door-to-door and phone canvassing and met many new people through Church in the Park services and cookouts. Our Sunrise service each Easter on the shore of Lake Lewisville does attract some people as well. But the individual connections each of us makes in the normal course of life is where we reach the most people.
The Face of Grace Bible Chapel
Two years into this adventure GBC is growing. We started with 11 people meeting in our pastor's living room and have grown to over 50 adults and 25 young people. We rent the cafeteria in the Corinth Elementary School for our Sunday worship services and have built a great relationship with the school. All other ministry activities are of necessity home based.
Rather than a traditional VBS, we have a summer Bible Club meeting weekly for the younger children. Adult Bible classes are home-based small groups meeting during the week. Our members come from a wide range of church and non-church experiences. We have been surprised by how many Christians had become De-Churched. Some were turned off by program driven ministries, others by the lack of sound teaching and a few by the church growth movement. But all of us are fugitives from the growing presence of legalism in the church at large.
We know the GBC vision is not for everyone, but we do have room for like-minded believers. People who believe Church is a place to serve rather than be served can find a home at Grace Bible Chapel. The challenges of starting a new church are overshadowed by the joy of seeing others discovering the wonders of God's grace. The Kingdom draws closer each day and the plentiful harvest is in need of workers.
Pastor: Bill Lee
3501 Cliff Oaks Drive
Services: Sundays @ 10:30 am