Pastor’s Blog: It’s a New Day at Grace Church
It is hard to believe, but Sunday, March 4, will be the one-year anniversary of my first sermon as the Senior Pastor of Grace. This first year has been a little overwhelming, but very exciting to see what God is doing. I tell people that it is a new day at Grace, and if you have not visited with us recently, you need to come worship with us soon. In this post, allow me to briefly share where we were, where we are, and where we are going as a ministry.
Grace and Highlands have had a rich heritage of 50+ years, but the church and school have faced some struggles over the last decade. I believe that God, in His timing, brought in a new Senior Pastor, new Executive Pastor, and new School Administrator to help lead this ministry to a place of health, stability, and long-term sustainability. I am so thankful to be part of the leadership team that God assembled here. I am also thankful for the wonderful staff, support team, and the loving congregation that make up Grace Church. These committed folks have been so willing to follow and support their new leaders as we make changes that will position Grace and Highlands for a very bright future.
So what’s new and what’s been going on at Grace? First, we established a 3-year plan as follows:
Year 1 – We have been focusing on getting healthy, by putting our finances in order and trying to eliminate all ministry debt by this May. (I am happy to report that it looks like we are going to achieve that goal!) We have streamlined our staff, replaced people with personnel, started positioning this ministry for long-term growth, and began casting a vision for the future. In this first year, God has been blessing tremendously, and our average worship attendance has nearly doubled in just 11 months. The greatest blessing is that we have seen over 130 people saved and over 70 baptized during that same time.
Year 2 – Repairs and Renovations will be our goal, and our efforts will focus on repairing what can be repaired, replacing what needs to be replaced, and renovating areas that need some freshening up. Some of the first things you’ll notice will be the renovations of the Solid Rock building into a new youth center, a fresh look in our nursery lobby, and a polished and professional look in our conference room.
Year 3 – In the third year, we hope to be functioning like a well-oiled machine that is healthy and completely focused on evangelism, discipleship, ministry growth, engaged in our community, and possibly building to accommodate the new people that God is bringing to us.
Second, Grace has a new vision. It is our goal to become “A Church for All Nations.” South Florida is a very diverse and international community. I believe the demographics of the local church should represent the community that it serves. With that in mind, our goal at Grace is to become one church with many services preached in multiple languages. We have been and will continue to work toward that goal!
On December 10, Grace started a new Creole-French service to reach our Haitian neighbors. Pastor Jean-Marc Desire’ is a Haitian national who oversees five churches and two Christian schools in Haiti. While continuing his mission work in Haiti, Pastor Desire’ is also helping to establish this new ministry at Grace. This new Creole-French service meets in Grace’s Fellowship Hall at 11am for worship each Sunday. The Creole service is already averaging 110 in worship.
On January 7, Grace started a new Spanish service to reach our Hispanic neighbors. Pastor Samuel Herrera has served locally as an Associate Pastor for 14 years and recently felt God’s call to lead a Spanish work. Pastor Samuel’s enthusiasm for serving the Lord is contagious! This new Spanish service meets in the Upper Room (next to the Library) at 10:45am each Sunday, and they are already averaging 56 in worship.
Our next goal is to start a Portuguese service for our Brazilian friends! Let me know if you are aware of a doctrinally sound Brazilian pastor who would be willing to help with this endeavor.
Finally, you will see some other changes as Grace not only tries to preach the Gospel in a variety of languages, but we also try to become culturally relevant to our community. Some of the upcoming changes will include more home and community groups. We believe the church should gather all week long and “do life together.” This fall, we will offer multiple weekend services in order to offer different musical styles and time options, as well as seminars and events that focus on the real needs of families in our local community. We want Grace to be a place where people have almost unlimited opportunities to hear about, learn about, and serve the King of Kings and Lord of Lords!
We are excited about what we believe is a VERY bright future, and we want you to be part of it! To learn more about Grace Church, checkout our website at www.gbcfl.org or follow us on Facebook @gracebaptistchurchfl. You have a standing invitation to come worship with us! You can also call the church office at (954) 421-0190 to set up an appointment with one of our pastors to ask more questions or seek help regarding a spiritual question.