Here’s the thing. As of today there is no such thing as Grace Hill Church in Herndon, VA. Yes, we have a website, a logo, and leadership team. The federal government and the Commonwealth of Virginia even recognize us as an incorporated entity with the name of Grace Hill Church.

But Grace Hill Church is not a church, yet.

Therefore, I want to outline how a church becomes a church because I want you to understand the role that you might play in helping Grace Hill Church become a church.

Grace Hill Church will become a church in four steps.

1. Make a Promise

Let’s be honest. There is no church without the congregation. We could have pastors, a website, logos, and a building. However, if there is no congregation, there is no church. Therefore, the most fundamental element of any church is its congregation. The primary reason Grace Hill Church does not exist is because there is no congregation, yet.

The first step in starting a church is a group of Christians coming together and making a promise to one another that they will (1) gather together regularly for worship and studying the Word of God, (2) be committed to one another’s discipleship and growth in godliness, and (3) they will work together towards the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations.

The key here is that this group of people makes a binding promise to one another that they will do this. In other words, church membership is fundamental to the existence of a church.

2. Shared Beliefs

After this group of people makes a binding promise to one another that they will assemble together as a church, they need to then agree on what they believe is the true message of the Gospel. If this group is going to be involved in both discipleship and mission, they need to be in agreement on what the Word of God teaches. Therefore, it is crucial that this group adopts a statement of faith so as to ensure that they are theologically grounded and united on what they believe.

Remember in Galatians 1 when the Apostle Paul instructs the church in Galatia to protect themselves against those who preach a different gospel? It’s difficult to be able to do that if we don’t agree on it ourselves.

3. Appoint Leaders

Okay, we have come together and committed to one another. We have also agreed on what we believe. Now, we need biblically qualified (1 Tim 3:1-7) leaders who will minister the Word of God (Acts 6:4) and pastor the people (1 Pet 5:1-3). So, those who are biblically qualified amongst this group of people need to be set apart by this group of people to exercise this office within the church.

4. Seal the Deal

We have a congregation, a statement of faith, and now elders. At this point, it is now time to act like a church and we do this by partaking of the Lord’s Supper together. The Bible is very clear that the Lord’s Supper is a way that we proclaim and remember the Gospel until Jesus returns (1 Cor 11:23-26) and that it is a practice only reserved for those who are true Christians (1 Cor 11:27-32). So, when this group of people who have made a promise with one another, agreed on what they believe, and appointed elders comes together and celebrates the Lord’s Supper together, they affirm one another’s salvation and proclaim it together. Baptism serves a similar function in that baptism becomes a way that this new congregation affirms those who are converted into followers of Christ.

Now we have a church!

So, as I said earlier, Grace Hill Church does not yet exist. However, there will be a time at some point in 2017 where we will gather together our Launch Team for a meeting. At this meeting, we will do four things.

  1. We will make a promise to one another and sign a “Membership Covenant” together.
  2. We will vote and affirm a statement of faith.
  3. Certain members of our Leadership Team (and possibly others) will be brought up for a vote to affirm them as elders in the church.
  4. We will celebrate the Lord’s Supper together.

Friends, that is the moment that Grace Hill Church will exist and it is after this moment that we will begin gathering together for worship on Sunday mornings.

So, where do I come in?

Great question!

Right now, we are currently recruiting people to join our Launch Team for Grace Hill Church. Think of the Launch Team as the first members of the church.

The Launch Team will do the following:

  1. Start meeting weekly in mid-late January (probably on Sunday evenings) to pray, train, and start formulating the DNA of Grace Hill Church.
  2. Transfer their tithes to Grace Hill Church in January to begin building our ministry budget.
  3. Start gathering weekly on Sunday mornings for worship in April. This is the point where we will actually covenant together to officially start Grace Hill Church.
  4. Spend the summer engaged in outreach in our community.
  5. Publically launch Grace Hill Church in September.

If you’re interested in being a part of this Launch Team, you can e-mail Allan, come to an Interest Meeting, or go ahead and apply for our launch team here.

 

**If you want to do some more reading on this topic, I highly recommend Don’t Fire Your Church Members and Understanding the Congregation’s Authority, both authored by Jonathan Leeman.**