A Portrait of Grace
In a 2021 report, LifeWay Research found that people think about the purpose of life quite a bit. According to Christianity Daily, “57 % of the participants said that they muse over the question ‘How can I find more meaning and purpose in my life?’ at least once a month.”
At Grace Community Church, that doesn’t surprise us. We have known for a long time that the deep thirst of man is to know the most fundamental question: “Why am I here?” Since 1998, we as a local church have devoted our time, talent, and treasure toward this goal: helping Roswell find and fulfill God’s purpose for their lives. We need to know it; we deserve to know it. The Lord Jesus Christ gave this stunning promise: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 10:39) Truly, as Dallas Willard wrote, "The ruined life is not to be enhanced but replaced. We must simply lose our life— that ruined life about which most people complain so much anyway." That’s why we’re so committed to helping people find that new life!
This was the burden of our founding pastor, Rick Hale and his wife, Mary. This is why they intentionally planted an interdenominational community church focusing on God’s purpose-driven principles. It may seem strange, that here, in the middle of the high desert of southeast New Mexico, God wanted to build a different kind of church: a church based not on the old traditions of religious polity or denominational framework but based on God’s clear purposes that match the deep need of man.
Was it a surprise, then, that 90 people crammed into a house in March of 1998 to hear Rick’s initial vision of a church built to help people find and fulfill God’s purpose in their lives? Was it a surprise that a few months later, 412 people signed the official charter to launch Grace Community Church? Not to those people. They prayed, searched the will of God, sacrificed, saved, gave, and served. As the church family continued to grow, the need for a permanent home became increasingly obvious.
In 2002, we moved into our current facility on 22 acres and quickly had to add a temporary Student Building to accommodate the rapid growth. In 2008, we added a Children's Building that serves around 200 children each Sunday and throughout the month in various ministries.
In 2013, the church paid off all remaining debt and began raising funds for the next phase of growth - a future Student Building. To date we have raised over three-quarters of a million for this future building which will provide dedicated space for:
High School and Middle School Student Ministries
Expanding Children’s Ministry
Student and Children’s Ministry Offices
Large Group Adult Ministry
New Kitchen Facilities with a Terrace Café
Repurposing of the current Student Ministry Building for our growing Young Adult Ministry (18-25 year olds) until the construction of our Future Worship Center that would require the building be moved.
We currently average around 1,000 at Grace weekly with two services (9AM, 10:45AM) and online viewing. We currently average 500 adults in two services, with 150 children in our simultaneous children’s worship services.
A demographic breakdown of our 1,376 members illustrates the inter-generational nature of Grace Community Church.
The G.R.A.C.E. Vision
Why is Grace purpose-driven? Because a common denominator in our church was that people came from churches that seemed more eager to protect a historic religious paradigm (denominationalism) than cut to the chase and give God what he wants: a Forever Family that loves each other. Rick Warren wrote “Love cannot be learned in isolation. You have to be around people - irritating, imperfect, frustrating people. Through fellowship we learn three important truths: (1) Life without love is really worthless, (2) Love will last forever, (3) We will be evaluated on our love.”
And that’s what the GRACE Vision really tries to produce: individuals from all walks of life that are transformed and matured into a loving family.
Every church is driven by something. Our church is driven by the purposes of God, summarized in what we call “The G.R.A.C.E. Vision.” Each letter of our name represents one of the five Biblical purposes of the church and our personal lives.
Grow (Maturity)—We want to help people grow in their devotion to God and in their understanding of his purpose for their lives.
Reach (Missions)—We want to reach out to people and introduce them to the good news of God's grace.
Adore (Magnification)—We want to help people adore and worship God as the Savior and Lord of their lives.
Connect (Membership)—We want to help people discover the importance of connecting in meaningful relationships with other members of God's family.
Equip (Ministry)—We want to help people discover their God-given gifts and use these gifts in service to others.
We have structured our church not only to fulfill the five purposes of the New Testament church, but also to keep these five purposes in balance. We believe a balanced church is a healthy church! Our goal is that everything we do, as a church, will help fulfill one of these five purposes. Our staff is built around the five purposes. We budget based upon the five purposes. Even our ministries and calendar are linked to one of the five purposes.
In order to help new members understand our purpose-driven culture, and keep our ministry philosophy memorable and portable, we've developed a series of five classes, called Discovery Classes. These have been designed to help introduce people to the five purposes of the church.
Class 101 - Discovering Membership
Class 201 - Discovering Maturity
Class 301 - Discovering Ministry
Class 401 - Discovering Mission
Class 501 - Discovering Magnification
We use a sequential strategy to help people discover the good news of Jesus Christ and grow in their relationship with God. Our goal is to help people move intentionally from being our unchurched community, to regular attenders in the crowd, to members of the congregation, to committed maturing members, to core ministers, and ultimately to commissioned missionaries. Each of the base pastors have one or two of these concentric circles as the primary target of their ministry.
“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”
Yogi Berra, New York Yankees catcher and philosopher
Is purpose-driven the only way to help people mature so that they commit their lives to the Great Commandment and focus their time, talent and treasure to fulfill the Great Commission? No. But we have seen hundreds and hundreds who have seen the difference, have felt the change, and have lived and even died helping others mature in those areas. We are grateful for the paradigms and processes that came before us, but we are convinced that Purpose-Driven has solid theological basis, is functionally executable, and produces what a church should produce: disciples, not simply converts.
Grace isn't for everyone. We accept that. But ask yourself: is the church you’re at committed to helping people find continual progress in those great purposes? Why or why not?
Have you dreamed of being First Chair at a church where we don't major in the minors or minor in the majors?
We know that only a Senior Pastor can do the following: Be the primary spiritual leader, be the primary leader of leaders, be the primary vision caster, and be the primary champion of that particular church culture.
Could that be you? Let’s talk!