THE STORY OF GRACE COMMUNITY CHURCH IS ONE OF ABUNDANCE AND OVERFLOW.
Every good thing that happens at Grace is born out of the pure joy of being known and saved by Jesus. The love that He pours into us overflows outward to one another and into our community.
ENCOUNTER GRACE in relationships, where you are known and loved.
RESPOND TO GRACE through baptism and discipling relationships.
GROW IN GRACE as your relationship with God grows.
EXTEND GRACE whether you serve, give, or go.
AN IMPORTANT UPDATE TO ABOUNDING
The following email was sent out to our church body on Sept. 1, 2020
Grace Family – this is a long email but we wanted to provide you with important updates regarding our Abounding Campaign.
We wanted to first say Thank You for your generosity and partnership in the mission to spread the Gospel to every neighborhood across our region. We launched the Abounding campaign last year (November 2019) with the goal of seeing more people transformed by the love of Christ. A major part of that plan was to build a second campus in Northern Howard County.
While we have the same goal and purpose, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused us to rethink our strategy, including our initial plans for what a second campus would look like. To put it simply, we walked away from the purchase of 19 acres in West Friendship.
The decision came about in the following manner: Though we were under contract (in 2019), the landowner desired to subdivide the land. He required many extensions from month to month to meet the county and state government’s requirements, which we were glad to do. Once we got into April 2020, we began to wonder if God was changing our course. Given the economic hardships, the closures of buildings for any public gatherings, and a general public sense of worry, we (the elder team) began to discuss and pray about the wisdom of granting another extension. (The owner was still not compliant with the contingencies in the contract.) We came together to fast and pray specifically about the land for two weeks, and we had complete consensus that God was leading us to change the original plan.
Upon agreement from the landowner, we mutually terminated the contract, and we received back the full deposit. Our relationship with the landowner remains amicable.
In our Family Meeting on July 29, 2020, we talked about these changes and what the Abounding Campaign will look like going forward. You can watch the update on the Abounding Campaign, and below are the key updates.
WHAT WILL CHANGE:
- We will not build on the land in West Friendship. This was not an easy decision, but with the economic hardships (job losses, incomes reduced) due to COVID-19, we did not feel this was the best stewardship of funds.
- We are still committed to going north, but have started to look for a smaller place that is already built. This will not only be more economical, but will allow us to be more flexible, especially as we believe God may be calling us to launch more campuses throughout our region.
WHAT IS NOT CHANGING:
- We are committed to going North. We see a need and are committed to participating in a Gospel-centered movement of transformation across our region. So many people are far from God and have no idea that Jesus Christ is our needed and wonderful Savior. This is a time for our church to be sent out into the harvest.
- We will keep our word regarding the use of the Abounding funds. With God’s help and by His leading, we will launch a campus location, as well as pay down our debt. As originally promised, we will also use a small portion of the Abounding funds to make some improvements to the Fulton campus.
- We have a real estate agent looking at retail locations for the North campus that we could potentially renovate. At this point, we have not found a location yet, but we will continue to keep you updated as the search progresses.
- Currently, we have $4.5 million allocated to our campus expansion / debt reduction efforts (we have $2.5 million in savings and have another $2 million from the Abounding campaign). In the interest of full transparency, we have also included a breakdown of expenses. Click here to see the break down.
- As the Lord reveals to us the details of exactly how we will multiply, we will send out a breakdown of budget and forecasted expenses.
While our mission and goal around the Abounding campaign remains the same, we recognize that there have been changes which may impact your ongoing commitment to Abounding. If you would like to change your commitment and/or receive a refund of any donations you have made to Abounding, please email email@example.com.
We would also be happy to answer any additional questions you may have about our campus expansion plans; for further conversation on that, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Let’s continue to pray for the lost with gratitude for what God has already done and what he will continue to do (Phil 4:6-7). This pandemic has been a reminder that while everything might change, Jesus remains the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8). He is the Lord of the harvest (Matt 9:37-38), and our confidence is in Him! Please continue to join us in prayer for discernment and courage for the days ahead. And while we wait for the place to be revealed, let’s lock arms together in the mission of God to reach the people right around us now, with a view to the even greater harvest to come.
The heart of our staff and elders is to see our church respond obediently and courageously to what God has commanded us through His Word. It’s our prayer that this devotional will be a useful tool to be still, to listen, and to respond to what He desires for us. And as He causes all grace to abound to us, we will have the faith to abound in every good work.
HOW TO ACCESS THE DEVOTIONAL
pick up a paper copy at the Connecting Place.
Making Grace available in northern Howard County has always been a part of the vision God has given leadership at Grace. If you’ve been with us for the past 10, 20, even 30 years, you’ve heard us talking about launching a campus in the north. With everything we do, we are being led by God and his timeline, not ours. The work, planning, and praying that have been done from the beginning have been integral to getting us to where we are today. We currently have the funds set aside to purchase the land and we believe that God is clearing the path for us now to execute on the vision He gave Grace 30+ years ago.
Q: What does going “multi-site” mean?
Being a multi-site church means that Grace will be in several locations, under one central leadership and governance. This model will allow us to multiply the unique Grace experience and take it further into areas that are in need of God’s grace. This is not considered a church plant, which would require a separate leadership team and governance.
Q: Where will the new campus be located?
The new campus is located in West Friendship (near the intersection of Routes 144/32/70). This is a strategic location because the area currently lacks churches, and by simply being present there we will have the opportunity to reach many unchurched people. We also know that many of our current Gracers are living in this area.
Q: What kind of experience can I expect at the West Friendship campus?
All the elements that make Grace unique will be preserved and multiplied in West Friendship. This includes our Grace Kids and Grace Students programming, as well as our other ministry offerings. The weekend experience will include live worship and announcements, a simulcast message, and the same level of hospitality, planning, and production that is currently seen in Fulton. At the end of the day, each gathering is an expression of Grace Community Church. You can simply think of the gathering in West Friendship as a fourth gathering.
Q: Can you explain more about simulcast and how it will work?
Simulcast is a live feed from one location to another. The message will be simulcast from Fulton to West Friendship. With this, we will truly be worshipping together at the same time as one body, in two different locations. With the technology available today, we are confident that we will be able to create an engaging experience in West Friendship.
Q: What are the funds going towards?
While the majority of the funds are budgeted for the West Friendship campus, we are also looking to pay off our mortgage on the current Fulton building and make much-needed improvements. Our goal of being debt free in seven years will save us $600,000 per year in mortgage payments that can be redeployed to reach more people with the gospel.
We are asking God to provide $8 million on top of our regular operating budget to help execute His plan. The below is a projection of how the funds will be allocated:
- 75% ($6M) – West Friendship campus build out
- 19% ($1.5M) – Debt reduction
- 6% ($500K) – Fulton campus improvements
Q: What are the improvements being made in Fulton?
The Fulton campus is nearly 15 years old and several areas have not been updated since the building first opened. We will update the lobby, Grace Kids, and Grace Students areas to provide a more welcoming and comfortable experience for everyone at Grace. We are also a church that loves to break bread together; adding a food prep area next to Grace Place will allow us to extend more hospitality, and do more for our body and community.
Q: What are the key dates for the Abounding Campaign?
The Abounding campaign is a three-year commitment. We are asking God to provide through our body over the next three years. Please pray and consider how much you will invest(give?) and what role you will play in advancing his kingdom here in Maryland.
- Oct 13 – Nov 17 | Pray with us and go through our Abounding Devotional
- Nov 3 – Nov 16 | Community Group Home Meetings
- Nov 17 | Commitment Sunday
- Early Summer 2020 | break ground and start construction
- Spring 2021 | new campus is open for worship
There are several ways you can give:
- Online: Give as you normally would online and select the Abounding fund (or click here)
- Cash/Check: drop it off into the offering baskets during our weekly gatherings or drop them off at our office (please make sure to note “Abounding” on the memo line)
- Stocks, Bonds or Mutual Funds: for these types of gifts, please contact email@example.com.
Q: What will happen on Commitment Sunday?
November 17 is Commitment Sunday. We ask that you bring your commitment cards filled out, as well as any initial gift towards the campaign that you would like to make.
Q: How does giving towards Abounding differ from our regular giving?
What you give to the Abounding fund will help us accomplish our specific goals, while your regular giving supports the ongoing ministries and operations at Grace. For the Abounding fund, we are asking you to consider how much you will give “above and beyond” your regular giving.
Q: What if I don’t have much to give?
Each should give according to their ability [2 Cor 9:7] remembering that everyone is a part of the body [1 Cor 12:12-27], and it is the heart [1 Sam 16:7] and sacrifice [Mark 12:42-44] that God honors. We encourage you to go through our Abounding Devotional and trust that God will abound in every good work.
Q: Who will know how much I am giving?
Similar to regular giving, only those who record and report your giving will have access to your commitment and giving information. Your commitment and giving information will not be shared with others.
HOW TO GIVE
Log into your Realm account and select the Abounding Fund. If you don’t have Realm, you can click here to give online.
Text “GCCONLINE” to 73256 to give over your phone
Please make sure to designate to the ‘Abounding Fund’ in the memo line.
If you would like a record of your cash giving, please make sure to pick up a Giving envelope at the Connecting Place.
Please contact our Finance Director (firstname.lastname@example.org) for stock/bond gifts.
What does Commitment Sunday mean for me?
We ask that you come with your commitment cards filled out and your initial gift for the Abounding campaign. We will have two offerings this Sunday. The first offering is for your normal giving. The second offering will be a special offering for Abounding commitments and gifts.
What if I don’t have a Commitment Card?
We will have extra cards available on Sunday. You can also download the card online in advance of Sunday.
Any special instructions?
If you are giving a cash donation, please stop by the Connecting Place to pick up an envelope so that we can record your gift and allocate it appropriately. For all checks, please make sure to designate the Abounding Fund in your memo line.
What about Joyous Giving?
Our first act of acknowledging God’s overflow to us in our Abounding campaign will be to meet the Joyous Giving needs through this second offering.
Commit via Paper
Pick up a commitment card at the Connecting Place and place the completed card in the offering basket during the gathering, or simply hand the card back to the team at the Connecting Place.
Any Special Instructions?
If you are giving a cash donation, please stop by the Connecting Place to pick up an envelope so that we can record your gift and allocate it appropriately. For all checks, please make sure to designate the Abounding Fund in your memo line. You can give these gifts during the offering time in the gathering.
Give online via realm.