Image description DISTINCT Our thinking behind why we do some things differently at Grace Evangelical

We Value Some Things in Particular

At Grace Evangelical we're convinced of the biblical pattern of elders and deacons for church leadership as well as valuing the service of all who call Grace their home. We also value cross-age churching and hold firmly to a 'reformed' understanding of Scripture among other things.

Our Distinctives

Leadership

Our Leadership

Elders

GECN has two full-time elders: David Calderwood and Rob Patterson. The elders lead and provide spiritual oversight of the church. It is the elders prime responsibility to teach God’s Word to God’s people.

Deacons

The eldership is supported by the deaconate. Currently we have six deacons: Ray Walker, Paul McMurray, Alex Cameron, Adam Collison and Dave Bott. Since the new deaconate formed early in 2013 we envisage deacons’ roles as being wide and varied. One current key area of responsibility is managing the material resources of the church. This includes managing finances, building and maintenance and practical helps. However both the elders and deaconate see potential for this to expand to include other ways to serve the wider church family.

Ministry Leaders

We have many people involved in other leadership ministries at Grace. These include a group of about 15 who lead small groups, youth ministry, children’s ministry, playgroup, oversee men’s and women’s ministries and music etc. These ministry leaders/coordinators are as follows (note, there are others who form a larger team in some cases):

  • Small Groups leaders: John Hollier; David Calderwood; Janelle Walker; Chris Taylor; James Foster/Gordon McMurray; Don McMurray
  • Mens Ministry: Paul McMurray & Paul Thompson
  • Womens Ministry: Janelle Walker and Liz Cameron
  • SWAT (Young Adults): Dave & Emma Bott and Andrew & Alex Wilkinson
  • Youth: David Bott plus team of six
  • Children (Fresh and Sunday School): Laura Graham plus team
  • Playgroup: Liz Cameron plus team
  • Music: Rob and Jo Patterson plus team

Characteristics

Some Characteristics of GECN

Mix of ages

We want to focus on being a church ‘family’ and thus we feel very strongly that the church should be a representative of all age groups. This includes our Sunday service.

We believe it is good and desirable for our young people and children to “rub shoulders” and interact with those who are older. Peer ministry is important, but not at the expense of intergenerational ministry. The New Testament teaches very clearly the need for the more mature to set an example to those less mature. Hence we are committed to doing church on Sunday as one body – old and young, mature and less mature, families, singles and marrieds. We encourage our small groups to also be of mixed age and maturity where possible.

This does not mean that peer age ministry does not happen. Currently we have a junior youth group (FRESH) and Sunday school for primary aged children, a high school youth group and S.W.A.T for our young adults. One of the small groups is for older believers – retirees – and two other small groups are for men and women respectively.

Contemporary style service

Our Sunday morning meetings are informal, but not so casual that they become disorganised or disorderly. Despite the informal nature of our meetings all those involved in up-front public ministries (music, Bible reading, service leading, preaching and prayers) are expected to prepare before Sunday. We thus strive to take our responsibilities seriously in order to bring glory to God.

In terms of music, we aim to provide a middle of the road array songs that reflects the makeup of the congregation. This means we have a mix of both older and newer music and a variety of musical instruments.

Response groups

During term time we have Response Groups. These groups are designed to think further about the lines of application developed in the sermon via two or three questions. This helps us grapple with how to put into practice God’s Word and how to live more and more in response to the Scriptures. Each group has about 12 members. One of the great benefits of these groups is that people start conversations with those whom they may not normally talk too – adding to our goal of being a congregation where older and younger people rub shoulders and thus giving more opportunity to speak into one another’s lives.

Beliefs

Our Theology

We are Evangelical with a Reformed and Baptisic flavour.

a. We are evangelical

The Greek word “evangel” means “good news” or “gospel”. To be evangelical means we believe it is through the proclamation of gospel of Jesus Christ that sinners will be be saved and transformed. Without Christ and his gospel being central to our preaching and teaching we have no message to proclaim and will see no lasting transformation in the hearts of unbelievers nor growth in the lives of believers.

b. We are reformed

Our subordinate standard is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith (this confession is based on the Westminster Confession of Faith, often regarded as the main Reformed confession).

We state that we substantially agree with the BCF. This means we allow for some differences of opinion on secondaries matters – ie the Sabbath. Thus we are not bound to every clause but hold to the essence and substance of the confession.

The reformed position is also summarised in the Doctrines of Grace and the five ‘solas’ of the reformation.

Doctrines of Grace:

(Otherwise known as the five points of Calvinism)

  1. Total depravity
  2. Unconditional election
  3. Limited atonement
  4. Irresistible grace

  5. Perseverance of the saints or Preservation of the saints

The five ‘solas’ of the Reformation

  1. Sola Scriptura (“by Scripture alone”)
  2. Sola fide (“by faith alone”)
  3. Sola gratia (“by grace alone”)
  4. Solo Christo (“by Christ alone” or “through Christ alone”)
  5. Soli Deo gloria (“to the glory to God alone”)

c. We are baptistic

That is, we believe in believer’s baptism as the biblical mode of Christian baptism. That is, profession of faith must precede baptism. We do not practice infant baptism.

However, we accept into membership those who have been baptised as infants and who now profess faith in Christ.