SC: Grace Advance #shepconf
Grace Advance from Grace Community Church on Vimeo.
Overview information from http://www.gracechurch.org/:
The Need for Grace Advance
Grace Community Church has always been engaged in the effort to both provide and equip pastors for the church around the world. Over the past twenty-five years we have trained men at The Master’s Seminary for the global ministry of faithfully building the church. This emphasis has defined our church, and has been multiplied many times over as our graduates carry this same commitment to pastors and leaders around the world. Our objective has been to provide leadership for existing churches with an occasional opportunity for the establishment of new local assemblies.
In recent years however, it has become obvious that the current trend is for the establishment of new churches. In forty plus years of ministry, this kind of activity stands unparalleled. As we survey the ecclesiastical landscape, the only conclusion that we can draw is that the sudden surge is due to the deteriorating condition of many churches. Every week, the offices of Grace Community Church receive stories of struggling congregations and groups eager to establish new churches.
Despite an increased access to biblical truth, the church of the twenty-first century continues to succumb to the wasting cancers of cultural accommodation, historical isolationism, entrepreneurialism, and imprecise doctrine. The very institution commissioned by Christ to bring the remedy of the gospel is surrendering itself to the infirmity of worldliness. This spiritual infection spreads with such deceptive influence as to be lauded as “progress.” Yet, in the face of danger, the church is left with leadership which remains fixated upon seeking new and experimental methods of treatment.
Many churches of our day suffer from brazen negligence, incompetence, or ignorance. The result is that the flock of God is scattered. There are pastors who fling their congregations from whim to whim in an attempt to enlarge the walls of their sheepfold. They are not consumed with the commission of Christ to feed and tend His sheep (Jn 21:16). They abuse the flock of God in an effort to reach a larger slice of a previously identified “key demographic,” and thereby fill their pews and coffers.
There is an exploding interest on the part of true Christians committed to Scripture to develop churches that are biblically sound. In an effort to respond to this groundswell, we are expanding our efforts to include a new initiative called Grace Advance. This is a ministry of Grace Church that seeks to administer God’s simple prescription: "Then I will give you shepherds after My own heart, who will feed you on knowledge and understanding” (Jer 3:15). The establishment of leaders who feel the burden to equip the people with biblical knowledge and understanding has always been the bedrock of a healthy assembly. By way of contrast, corrupt and deceptive administration is the source of instability. In Jeremiah 23:1, God pronounces a resounding denouncement upon those who mishandle His flock. “Woe to the shepherds who are destroying and scattering the sheep of My pasture!"
Because many of these churches look to us for resources, Grace Church desires to serve developing churches in the body of Christ by providing leadership committed to biblical principles of ministry. Up to this point, we have not had a specific training program geared towards equipping men to be involved for the specific challenge of establishing churches. Grace Advance has been formed for the purpose of meeting this need.