Dear Fellow Laborers,
As my family and I have had the blessing of a lifetime of involvement within the Grace Gospel Fellowship and its affiliated organizations, God has increasingly placed in me a passion for the future possibilities of the GGF. During these challenging and complicated days of church leadership, a picture of a healthy future of our fellowship is developing. I am honored to be in this role of President of the GGF and I am praying diligently that God would give me and our GGF leadership wisdom in our upcoming tasks as we serve our fellowship.
In this new newsletter I plan to spend the next several editions unpacking that vision for the future—painting a fuller picture. If you are a pastor or lend leadership to a GGF church in formal or informal capacities, this recurring email is for you. We hope to inspire, inform, educate, and demonstrate the beauty of strengthening our community of pastors, leaders, and churches.
I’ll start casting that vision by addressing an elephant in the room. Let’s talk about the health of the GGF. When the concept “healthy church” is mentioned in the course of conversation, a simple game of word association might prompt thoughts such as important, sound theology, biblically-based,or a movement, or it might even conjure up feelings of nostalgia. Yet, as we consider the deep challenges that pastors and churches are facing in recent years, terms like church & pastor health, ministry vibrancy, and forward momentum can seem like an unreachable goal for pastors both inside and outside of our fellowship. This difficult season of a world pandemic has further complicated the ministry life of those who have answered the sacred calling of pastor and shepherd. But there’s great hope! I echo the thoughts of Will Mancini in his book “Future Church” (2020) when he states that although “COVID-19 is a shot across the bow of cultural Christianity”, church leaders should be confident that “the COVID pandemic probably constitutes the greatest innovation opportunity that church leaders will have in a lifetime” (p.17).
We have a rich history in our churches around the country and beyond. And we have an amazing foundation upon which to build. That foundation remains strong. To take the “building” metaphor a bit further, I would like to begin to describe for you where the GGF is heading in what I might call a preparation-for-tomorrow project. In this first edition of the newsletter I would like to state clearly that church health and vibrancy is our pursuit. And specifically, our focus is on pastors, perhaps returning to an era that resembled the founding of the GGF; a fellowship of churches and a family of pastors. Diving deeper, I believe strongly that healthy pastors are cultivated by healthy boards, and healthy pastors are an essential element in cultivating healthy boards.The two are interdependent. As we take steps forward, this is prayerfully going to be our relentless pursuit: Healthy Pastors • Healthy Boards • Healthy Churches
Seeking to join God in His mission for His world and the local churches we lead, our commitment is to come alongside you to pursue holistic pastoral health, vibrant board engagement, and churches that are sold out to be light and life to the communities God has placed them. Additionally, we will be developing a culture of mentoring our current and future leaders throughout our fellowship to help build resilience and grit as our churches face tomorrow’s challenges.
In our upcoming newsletters, I will speak to ways that we will build upon the firm foundation of the GGF. Our future requires some hard work – but we’re all used to that reality. There is no such thing as an “easy road” to achieve great things. The future that we have involves both short- and long-term commitments that will reap rewards for our pastors, boards, churches, and the greater whole of the GGF and our affiliated ministries. In my diagram below, the colored columns reflect a glimpse of the pillars or distinctive characteristics of healthier, more vibrant churches and how we will work together toward that goal. I look forward to presenting more details to you on this diagram. (Note: Only the “roof” of the structure is showing in this article – but more of this “GGF V2.0” diagram will be presented to you in future articles.)
Although the effort needed to “arrive” at a place of health and vibrancy in our fellowship will involve a new level of creativity and interdependent care and love for each other, it is easy to see that our ministries are being faced with an incredible opportunity to be a “light on a hill” in an increasingly dark place – and our path to get there is clear. We are honored to join you and support you in this journey.
In your service,
Grace Gospel Fellowship
Learn more about our upcoming reFresh Pastor’s Conference here