One of our commitments at Grace Presbyterian Church is to what are called the ordinary means of grace.
We could be doing all sorts of things as a new church, and there is the temptation for a small church plant to look to various techniques and programs for success. Church plants, in the early years, are fragile. There is the temptation to try everything and anything to grow. Yet, God tells his people in his Word how we can know him. He tells us to trust in how he grows and strengthens his people.
How do we get help in our times of need? How can I be saved? How can I find comfort in my troubles? How do I come to know God? How can a church plant become established? God has made himself accessible to us, in his wisdom, in certain ways or by means. These are the ways which God ordinarily builds and grows his church as we rest on him in faith.
This is seen in Acts 2:42, where we see the pattern and priority of the infant New Testament church, “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.”
God’s gracious means are the preaching of the Word, the sacraments (the Lord’s Supper and Baptism) and prayer. It’s through these means that God has promised to bless us.
So as a new church in Launceston we want to prioritise what God says he will bless. This means we unashamedly focus on the gathered worship of God. This is the main event. This is where we meet with the Triune God in the heavenlies. It is where God has promised to meet with us.
At Grace Presbyterian Church the central feature of our gathered worship is Jesus exalting preaching and teaching of the Bible. We want God’s Word to be the heartbeat of our church, for it is the voice of God.
We want to be a church which regularly, every month, shares in the Lord’s Supper. We look to the cross of Christ and see and taste what Christ has done for us in his body and blood. We share the meal together looking forward to when Christ returns.
We want to be a praying church. And pray to God, not just as individual people, but as a whole church. Sunday by Sunday we want to be calling on God in prayer in our worship service, knowing that we depend on him for everything. We’re also having a whole church prayer meeting each month to pray together.
Yes, it doesn’t look flashy. There are no light shows, candles or an impressive band. Yet as we gather each Sunday we are entering into the presence of God. And there is nothing ordinary about that. It is our hope and confidence that God will grow and build his church through his means.