Touch HEAVEN every week.
More and MORE people following Jesus, IN culture.
Spectacularly down to EARTH.
These THREE statements govern WHAT we do (and don’t do) and HOW we do (and don’t do) it at Grace.
Touching HEAVEN every week means that our highest goal is for YOU to have an authentic ENCOUNTER with God whenever you come into contact with ANYTHING we do at GRACE. Whether it’s at a Worship Service, in a small group, or engaged in some of the events or programs we run, we want YOU to experience the LIFE of God clearly and authentically AT WORK in real people’s lives so that you can be inspired to see the same thing become TRUE in your life.
‘More and MORE people following Jesus, IN culture…’ helps us shape what we DO in two very important ways.
‘More and MORE…’ reminds us that ‘healthy things grow…’ and that the clear pattern from the Bible is for Jesus’ Church to be constantly increasing in NUMBER. That means we expect (and are constantly working towards) seeing our Church gather MORE people so they can be inspired to SCATTER into the ‘real World’ on-mission with Jesus in Culture.
(nice transition, right?)
‘Following Jesus, IN culture…’ reminds us that the POINT of seeing the Life of God activated in People’s lives is NOT so that they will enjoy hanging out at Church with other Christians, but so that they will be inspired to JOIN Jesus on His MISSION in the REAL world to see more and MORE people realize that God is real, He loves them and that their life would be 100% more enjoyable if they decided to stop following their ‘own’ way and, instead, started to follow Jesus.
Being ‘Spectacularly down to EARTH…’ reminds us to try and ‘achieve greatness’ or ‘be awesome’ with EVERYTHING we do at GRACE, while keeping in mind that doing something ‘amazing’ is ALWAYS more effective when it feels DOWN TO EARTH, meaning it’s authentic, honest, and doesn’t come across as ‘forced’ or ‘contrived’.
So, yes, we’re trying to do something SPECTACULAR, in a down to EARTH way.
The sole basis of our belief is the Bible, the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments. It was uniquely, verbally and fully inspired by the Holy Spirit and was written without error in the original manuscripts. It is the supreme and final authority in faith and life in every age.
There is but one God, infinite in power, justice, goodness and love, the Creator of the Universe, eternally existing in three persons - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - each of whom possesses all the attributes of Deity and the characteristics of personality.
God created man in His own image and man, as he was originally created was innocent before God. But man chose to sin by disobeying God, and therefore was alienated from his Creator and came under divine condemnation. Despite our fallenness, the Bible repeatedly affirms that we are deeply loved and valued by our Creator and He has taken amazing steps to provide a way for us to be reconciled to Him.
Jesus Christ our Lord is the Son of God who has eternally existed with God the Father, is truly God and one with the Father. God the Father relates to all creation through him, and through him everything was created. The Son of God came into the world by being conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary by the Holy Spirit. He took our common human nature from Mary and joined it to his deity. He is truly and fully God and man in one person. He lived a genuine sinless human life on earth and carried out God's will perfectly. In Jesus Christ, God is fully revealed. Jesus Christ, out of love for sinful men and women, came into the world to reconcile sinners to Himself. Jesus Christ lived a sinless life and voluntarily suffered and died as our substitute to pay for our sins, thus satisfying God’s justice and accomplishing salvation for all who trust in Him alone. He rose from the dead in the same body, though glorified, in which He lived and died. He bodily ascended into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God the Father, where He, the only mediator between God and man, makes intercession for His own. He will return to earth personally, visibly and bodily - to judge all people and establish His Kingdom.
The Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit has come into the world to reveal and glorify Christ, to convict men and women of their sins, and to impart new life to all who place their faith in Christ. He indwells believers from the moment of spiritual birth, seals them until the day of redemption and empowers them to live a life pleasing to God.
Men and women are freed from the penalty for their sins and not as a result, in whole or in part, of their own works, goodness or religious ceremony, but by the unmerited favour of God alone. God declares righteous all who have repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ alone for their salvation.
BAPTISM AND LORD’S SUPPER
Jesus Christ has instructed those who believe in Him to be baptized in water as a symbol of their new birth in Christ. Baptism should be by immersion and is only for those who have personally accepted Christ. The Lord also instituted the Lord’s Supper as a remembrance of His suffering, death and resurrection. Neither baptism nor the Lord’s Supper has any merit in helping a person obtain eternal life.
All true believers make up the church worldwide and should assemble together in local churches - for worship, prayer, fellowship and teaching. Regular participation in these activities with one another is a vital part of becoming conformed to the image of Christ and to become equipped to carry out the “Great Commission” that Christ gave His followers in Matthew 28: 19-20.
The Resurrection of the Dead
At physical death, the believer enters immediately into eternal, conscious fellowship with the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his or her body to everlasting glory and blessing. At physical death, the unbeliever enters immediately into eternal, conscious separation from the Lord and awaits the resurrection of his or her body to everlasting suffering.
Faith and Practice
Scripture is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. This church recognizes that it cannot bind the conscience of individual members in areas where scripture is silent. Rather, each believer is to be led in those areas by the Lord, to whom he or she alone is ultimately responsible.
THE RETURN OF CHRIST
We believe in the personal and imminent return of Jesus Christ in the air, whose coming is the fulfillment of the real hope set before the believer. He will receive His believing people to Himself and later will come to earth visibly to establish His kingdom.
WHERE WE'RE FROM
Grace Community Church began as a small, two-man effort in 1975. Two friends, Rob Irvine and John Fairchild, young men in their early twenties, sat at a kitchen table in their apartment in Guelph, Ontario with bread, wine, and a Bible. They believed Christ was present with them as they “broke bread” together. This is what we still believe. (For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them - Matthew 18:20)
They began a small weekly Bible study in their apartment focusing on the activities of the early church in Acts chapters 1-4: radical devotion to Christ, enthusiastic evangelism, planting and reproducing local churches, and fervently caring for one another. ( They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer - Acts 2:42)
The small church moved to the University of Guelph campus where its outreach efforts were directed for several years toward students. But as the church grew, its composition changed. Students graduated, married, and began to raise families. Some moved away, but many remained in a tightly knit gathering of young families. It became apparent by the mid 1980’s that GCC was no longer predominantly a student church. The focus of outreach shifted. Grace continued its work on cultivating our own relationships with Jesus and reaching out into our places of work, our extended families, our neighbors and friends with Christ’s message love, joy, and redemption. (These are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name - John 20:31)
From being a home-based fellowship, to a campus ministry, and then to a somewhat nomadic community church, finally, in December 2002, Grace Community Church purchased the six-acre property that was formerly Marden Public School and occupied the facility in June, 2004.
Having a church home with bright Sunday school classrooms, a youth meeting room full of welcoming couches, a kitchen from which to stage all kinds of events that provide hospitality and comfort to the church and to its neighbours, a place that can be google-searched, mapped, and marked for newcomers to find easily, expansive playing fields for all kinds of sports, affords great opportunity to serve in a community of faith and to provide a solid base for fellowship and for outreach of all kinds, thus fulfilling the vision and actions of the very early church, a vision, along with the Great Commission, that formed the basis of our beginnings and that sustains our mission to this day.