As many of you know 2016 has been filled with all kinds of questions centering around who we are as a church. I know that there has been a bit of frustration due to a lack of ability to articulate Grafted’s philosophy of ministry, and thus difficulty knowing how each of the ministries you all oversee fit into this philosophy and how individuals at Grafted can do the same. But I hope that the frustration can be nearing an end. We have had many ideas floating around about how to do ministry at Grafted: “Grow, Gather, Go”, “20s and 30s who are in transition and their families”, “family, friends, neighbors, co-workers”, and “recurrent, deep, meaningful relationships” to name a few. As I sat with Jordan Hirsch today, it was as if a light bulb went off and almost all of these ideas come into alignment. So here goes a shot at synthesizing all of the ideas that have been floating around so far into a holistic philosophy of ministry of what Grafted currently does.
In order to do this I needed to borrow another phrase I lifted off of some other church planters. I did not come up with it, but when someone makes a wheel, there is no reason to reinvent one. The phrase is “Bless, Belong, Believe, and Bloom.”
We all have people in our lives. Often they fall into the categories of Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Co-workers. Within these categories there are those in their 20s and 30s and their families who are in transition. It is these people whom we would like to bless. God has blessed us with more than we could ever have asked for; we have the opportunity to bless others as a reflection of the blessing that God has given to us. Blessing someone in 2016 is awkward as all get out outside of the context of relationship (not to mention that a relationship can be a blessing as well!) In order to be a blessing to others we should attempt to create recurrent, deep, and meaningful relationships with them.
After building a recurrent, deep, meaningful relationship with someone based off of a desire to be a blessing for them we can invite them to be a part of Christ’s forever Family. This can be as simple as inviting them to a Sunday service. While there are many different ways a person can become a Grafite, the typical “front door” to Grafted Community Church is through someone being in relationship with someone else and they invite them to our Sunday worship service. On Sunday we will have a service that strives to be available to newcomers, will always strive to have the good news of the gospel presented, and will aim at being an appetizer of a relationship with God that encourages people to dive deeper the rest of the week. With Sunday being the front door, we will attempt to plug those who come on a Sunday morning into other relationships where deeper belonging can take place. The primary avenue for relationship building is our small groups. If the Sunday worship is the appetizer, small groups is the meal.
Because the newcomer has been blessed through relationships and has been invited to belong in a community in which the Gospel is the center, we believe that their beliefs will be changed. That is just what happens when you interact with the Word of God in the context of the People of God who are being led by the Spirit of God.
This is the point in the cycle when the newcomer has become a part of Grafted and is encouraged to Grow in their faith, Gather other newcomers from their Family, Friends, Neighbors, and Co-worker who are in their 20s and 30s and their families who are in transition, and Go to others encouraged by the blessing they have received from God through the people of Grafted. While we are all people who have been saved by faith and can do nothing on our own to earn our salvation, we recognize that being a part of the Forever Family of God comes with responsibilities. While no one is expected to either know or be able to accomplish every responsibility to which we are all called as members of the Family of God when they first become believers in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, we all should be growing, blooming, and bearing fruit as time goes on in respect to growing, gathering, and going.