Evident Grace is excited to announce that we will begin meeting for worship services at Courthouse Road Elementary (CRES) on August 2nd. Why the move you may ask? EG’s mission is that God’s grace made evident in our lives enables us to make God’s grace evident to the world. We do that through our community, our worship, and our service. Moving to CRES gives us a greater platform and ability to do those things.
We have loved our present (and soon to be previous) home at Liberty Lanes, but the opportunity to move to CRES can’t be passed up. We will have a bigger and brighter worship space, larger children’s teaching areas, and greater visibility in the community.
Would you like to know more about Evident Grace? Our website offers a host of information (sermons, small groups, men’s and women’s groups), and we always welcome phone calls and emails. Feel free to contact either our lead pastor, Gordon (919-412-8161) or our assistant, Jeremy (757-876-8512) with either questions or a desire to meet.
Over the next few weeks, we will be showing you glimpses of our new space in addition to sharing greater details about our move. Additionally, we will begin rolling out advertising, both physically by the school and digitally on social media. If you would like to help with either, please contact Gordon and Jeremy, but right now, join us in prayer that God’s grace would become more evident in Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg through this move. Follow and share our progress on facebook, #egcres0802
We can’t wait to see all that God does.
In our last blog post, we looked at why should Ruling and Teaching Elders leaving their churches for a week, travel hours away, and vote on motions and even obscure points of theology each year. Many of you will never attend General Assembly unless is again return to Virginia (in 2012 it was in Virginia Beach). Gordon and I don’t want what happens in our denomination to be disconnected from our local expression here in Spotsylvania, VA.
To that end we want to share some information particularly relating to our General Assembly that we recently attended.
We want to highlight three things in this post.
First, we want to provide you a link for all the video sessions including business and worship services. This includes all the business and voting that happened as well as the worship services – that is the main sessions. In addition to the main sessions there are also many seminars that happen multiple times each of the days of general assembly but these are not video recorded.
Second, below are the specific links to the three worship services for each evening at General Assembly together,
Tuesday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1JRJRW1)
- Begins (9:25)
- Sermon – Bryan Chapel (38:30)
- Moderator of the 42nd General Assembly
- Pastor at Grace Presbyterian Church in Peoria, IL
Wednesday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1HOFbP2)
- Begins (4:50)
- Sermon – Kevin Smith (40:45)
- Pastor at New City Fellowship in Chattanooga, TN
Thursday Worship Service (http://bit.ly/1LeaNwx)
- Begins (2:30)
- Sermon – Rankin Wilbourne (46:20)
- Pastor at Pacific Crossroads Church in Santi Monaco CA
Third, Gordon and I wanted to provide you with the personal resolution that he referred to in his sermon on June 14th concerning our denomination in promoting racism and failing to act to support the goals of the Civil Rights movement, in the past.
The text of the personal resolution can be found here, http://bit.ly/1QBgc7u.
The video that walks through the almost 2.5 hour time Thursday night session as the General Assembly discussed this personal resolution can be found here, http://bit.ly/1feTxNz. If you don’t have that kind of time to watch all of it, you can read a summation of that session here, http://bit.ly/1QEmdQU.
Why should Ruling and Teaching Elders leaving their churches for a week, travel hours away, and vote on motions and even obscure points of theology each year? When I (Gordon) became a Ruling Elder some 15 years ago, I thought that General Assembly was at best a boondoggle and at worst a boring use of time. However, my attitude soon changed.
While General Assembly does offer great opportunities for fun, and there are some tedious moments of Robert’s Rules of Order, General Assembly has become an essential for me and I hope it will also be one the guidance of our church.
Each year, the PCA’s General Assembly takes up the issues that have arisen from individual churches, up to their sessions, to their presbyteries, and finally to the national level. The motions that are approved eventually go back to the presbyteries, and ultimately they return to the General Assembly. This back and forth provides that no one GA can makes things binding on the churches. They must follow a path of conviction that proves the issue relevant and worth the concerns of the church. Individuals and churches have a voice and hope for care and concern through this process.
In fact, last year, GA passed a bill that not only encouraged our churches to take steps to insure the safety of children in our care, the bill rebuke any churches that did not take these steps and offered a confession of sin that it has taken us this long to address the issue. This bill partnered well with Evident Grace’s desires and efforts to train our own people in caring for the children that God has entrusted to us.
Additionally, GA provides innumerable opportunities for training and partnership. Each year, pastors (especially the eager ones like EG has) search out new material for personal study, for the present needs of their churches, and future areas of training. At the same time, we get to meet and discuss the resources with the very authors and companies that write them.
Last year, we walked away ready to implement the Gospel Identity study because we had time at length with the people who shaped the curriculum. This year, we go hoping to have the same time with skilled authors and companies who have worked and trained churches in mercy ministry. Additionally, we hope to discuss internship and future partnerships with seminaries and seminary students.
So, please be in prayer as Jeremy and I will leave Sunday, June 7th and will be returning either Friday the 12 or Saturday the 13th. Our return is dependent on how swift the business is conducted on the GA floor. Pray for our families and seek them out while we are gone. Pray for how Evident Grace can grow to be more like Christ through this time, and then pray for your own heart that God will ultimately impact you in some way through all of these activities.
Biblically, a church is commanded by God to have elders, and the qualifications for such an office are outlined in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1 This office is an overseeing and shepherding office designed to “keep watch over your souls” (Hebrews 13:17). With as much ink as the Bible gives to both examples and qualifications, it is astounding how many churches disregard the office.
Listen to a few of the dozen plus examples in scripture:
- Acts 20:28 “Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood.”
- James 5:14 “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
- 1 Peter 5:2 “Shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain”
I thought we already had elders…
Evident Grace launched with me (Gordon) as your Teaching Elder (TE) and an appointed group of elders from other churches, but we are now at the stage of moving from that oversight to an oversight of me and a group of Ruling Elders (RE) coming from within our own congregation.
What can we expect from our new elders? What does it look like for elders to shepherd, oversee, and govern? While there are many resources to inform this thought, we have been following the ideas set forward in a great book called, “The Shepherd Leader”.
Prayerfully, this is what you can hope for…
Knowing, Feeding, Leading, and Protecting
An elder will know the church, specifically the members of which he is called to care. No one, including myself, can know every person at the church intimately, but an elder should make every effort to know as many people as possible. Additionally, as each elder is seeking to care for a smaller, more specific, part of the church, he should know them, their families, and their needs very well. Caring for them should be based on personal interactions with them throughout the month.
An elder will feed the church, specifically in teaching. EG will now have multiple, faithful teachers who have endured faithful, grueling challenges to be proven faithful teachers. You can look forward to their teaching in both public arenas like our worship service and in smaller arenas like our (eg)Groups.
An elder will lead the church, specifically in the area of leading the vision of Community, Worship, and Service. They will co-create plans and programs that will lead you in that direction through all that we do.
An elder will protect the church, specifically in the areas of identifying and teaching the church against cultural wolves and protecting the church in church discipline. Each elder will work to be aware of what is going on in our local community and even the larger world scale. They will also work to protect our members from areas of sin and work to protect the church when they do.
This listing and description is daunting and impossible apart from the grace of God. But we are gifted with a few men who are willing to undertake this calling under the power of the Gospel. With Christ as our Chief Elder, you can expect this level of care, and these men can expect to lead you with your full hope and partnership.
Pray for our men as they go through their testing and preparation for ordination. We will keep you updated as they make their progress.
On Tuesday night (3/31), we are hosting our third Chick-fil-a Family Night. These have been great events to serve the community and let them know who we are. We invite you to come out and help as kids come to work through the craft we are organizing. Through this, we get great opportunities to meet people and speak about the church.
Our Good Friday Service is this Friday (4/3) at 7:00pm at New City Fellowship. They are located at 200 Prince Edward Street, Fredericksburg VA. Several local church are gathering for this combined service: Hope of Christ, New Life in Christ, Bethel OPC, New City Fellowship, and Evident Grace. Leonard Bailey, pastor of Hope of Christ, and Gordon will be administering the Lord’s Supper. We hope you are able to join us for this time.
Then Saturday morning (4/4) is the annual 5K Rabbit Run, 1 Mile Hop, and ¼ Mile Bunny Chase that Young Lives hosts. You can still register to run in it. If you don’t want to run, we wanted to let you know that Young Lives is always looking for volunteers to serve during the time. You can contact Sarah Middleton if you are interested or you can just show up and support the many families and individuals that will be running in it. More information can be found on their Facebook page.
This coming Sunday (4/5) is Easter Sunday. It is one of the most attended Sundays of the year. Families who never attend church the rest of the year, show up on Easter Sunday. This week is a great opportunity for you to invite friends, neighbors, coworkers, and people you interact with to our church this week. In the service, we be looking to understand better what love is as we celebrate Easter Sunday together.
We also want to make you aware of a church-wide town-hall/potluck we are having on 4/12 (Sunday), after our worship service. As we mentioned at our last gathering, we desire these to be quarterly get togethers to be two-fold. We want to take some time to celebrate the incredible things God has enabled for our church. We also want to also talk about some of the things that are on the horizon for us as we look to the next quarter specifically and the rest of 2015 in general. These are great times to take a pulse of where we are and what is going on for our church. We would love for everyone that is able to be present. Here is a sign-up for the potluck side of the gathering.
For those of you who prefer a calendar of events here you go,
|3/31||Chick-Fil-A Family Night, Southpoint location (5-7pm)|
|4/3||Good Friday Service at New City Fellowship (7pm)|
|4/4||Annual 5K Rabbit Run, 1 Mile Hop, and ¼ Mile Bunny Chase|
|4/5||Easter Sunday Service|
|4/12||Town Hall/Potluck, following the worship service|
- Jesus’ work on the cross ushers us into our relationship with God.
- Jesus’ work on the cross enables us to understand scripture.
- Jesus’ work on the cross guides us in our obedience.
- Jesus’ work on the cross motivates us to love our neighbor.
To put it in EG speak:
Jesus’ work on the cross builds our community, enlivens our worship, and propels us into service.
Despite our every day celebration, the church takes one season each year to specifically focus on that work, and so we look excitedly towards the Easter season. These are our dates.
Good Friday (April 3rd): We will be taking part in a joint Good Friday service at 7pm at New City Fellowship along with New Life in Christ, Hope of Christ, and Bethel Reformed Church. New City is located at 200 Prince Edward St, Fredericksburg, VA 22401.
Sunday Easter Resurrection Day (April 5th) service will be at 1030am at our normal meeting space: the comedy club above Liberty Liberty Lanes at 5801 Southpoint Centre Blvd, Fredericksburg, VA 22407.
Please invite friends and family to worship with us as Easter is often a holiday earmarked by lots of people to attend a worship service. We can’t wait to celebrate the work of Christ with our sister churches on Friday and with all of you on Sunday.
When I arrived in Virginia, it was on the heels of several moves. Everyone from a church member to the chief of police helped me get here. When Amy and I finally got into our apartment, so many folks from Evident Grace showed up that I didn’t even know everyone’s name. What I did know was that we were being cared for and that people loved us.
There is a unique blessing in helping someone move. Showing up early to eat coffee and donuts and to potentially strain one’s back says, “You and your home are important. We want to make sure you know that. How can I help?”
In just over two years’ time, Evident Grace has helped no less than 8 people move, and I imagine many more are to come (including this pastor). It has become an unofficial ministry of the church because so much more goes into it than the mere art of lifting heavy objects. People show up to pack, unpack, clean, and celebrate. Helping someone move is the height of hospitality in that it offers it while also enabling someone to eventually show it themselves.
So, in light of that, Bushiban is adjusting its Saturday schedule so that we will meet Saturday morning at 8am (2/28) at Jarrod and Amber’s home. Contact Gordon or Jeremy if you want greater details.
Let’s show up and celebrate with these guys, and let’s pray that this ministry grows even stronger at Evident Grace as it embodies all the good elements of community, worship, and service. And thanks for being a loving church.
However, in a moment of hope, dozens of church leaders (members of the Tidewater, Blue Ridge, and James River Presbyteries) spent the earlier portion of this week at the Airfield 4-H Camp in Wakefield, VA. Focusing on updates from church planters and missionaries, the yearly retreat brought in local speakers with stories and exhortations surrounding the theme of “Resilience”.
As Leonard Bailey, the pastor of Hope of Christ PCA in Stafford County, reminded the group, “The foundation of this retreat began 15 years ago when Terry Traylor (a hero to many and a legend to others in the field of church planting) brought a few of his friends to Lake Lure, NC to pray for encouragement, unity, and inspiration. The pastors in Virginia enjoyed it so much, they started this retreat, and here we are.”
When asked why the yearly getaway continues to grow, Jeremy Greenberg, assistant to the pastor at Evident Grace Fellowship in Spotsylvania) answered, “There are so few places where you find this level of trust and honesty among pastors. No one is here trying to impress the others. Everyone just wants to encourage and support.”
Excitement is already building for next year as Paul Miller, bestselling author of “A Praying Life“, is booked to speak. Retreat coordinator George Boomer of Hope Presbyterian in Smithfield, VA explained, “We want to alternate between hearing from local pastors and national speakers each year. We need voices from both within and outside our contexts to help us.”
As the pastors and missionaries broke camp on Wednesday, each spoke of their hope in returning home while expressing the eagerness of returning next year. One said, “These are a few of the most encouraging and inspiring days of the entire year for me. I’ve already got next year marked on my calendar.”
While the fruit of church unity is determined by much more than a 3 day retreat, dozens of pastors expressed a renewed desire to speak of Jesus and the hope of the Gospel in both their areas of ministry and abroad, so for many, the mission is never accomplished, but there was some progress made this week.
One of the highest values that Evident Grace holds is the care and well-being of our children and the children of our visitors. And for that reason, EG will be hosting a nursery/childcare training day directly following worship on March 15th at 12:30pm.
If you have been serving or would like to serve, here are the details.
One: The training will happen at our nursery on the second floor of Liberty Lanes.
Two: The training will last about 1.5 hours and will include a brief introduction, the main presentation, short break-out training sessions, and Q/A at the end.
Three: A pizza lunch and drinks will be provided.
We are planning on having nursery handbooks for each participant (one per couple) as well a copy of our brochures for children’s ministry and a copy of the child protection policy that we give visiting families.
Additionally, we want to spend some time explaining to folks either how they can walk through the online background check or give greater detail to people who have finished it. We would love for as many as possible to finish the training before hand, so if you would like details about that, contact either Emily or Judi, and they can send you the email link that will help you.
It is important that everyone 16 and older has completed this background check or leaves with the commitment to do so. We require all of our workers to have completed the background check.
If a few of our volunteers could stay behind to help breakdown the nursery and return everything to storage, that would be very helpful.
Sunday, February 1st, Evident Grace is launching a new sermon series entitled, Definition, a study of the Gospel of John.
Why call the study Definition? Well, so many look at Jesus as an example of how to live, and while Jesus is that, He is so much more. You see, the book of John was the last written Gospel, and one of its intentions was to better define who Jesus is. After a generation of believers, people still had a questions about His person, His character, and His purpose. The Gospel of John wanted to clarify those things.
In light of that, Definition is the perfect book for not only Evident Grace to study, but also for our community to experience. After nearly two years, EG needs to better understand Jesus. We need Him to more greatly define our lives and our church. And the Spotsylvania/Fredericksburg area needs Him better defined as the realities of our communities are moving so many towards wrestling with who He is and How He might impact our lives.
So, as always, we invite you, and we encourage you to bring friends to this series, specifically to its launch on February 1st. Each Sunday at 10:00am, Evident Grace offers a casual environment designed to take Jesus seriously. To enable that, we meet at a central location for our area at Ron Rosner YMCA. We offer a welcoming community for singles, marrieds, parents with kids, and retirees. Our music represents this generation while honoring the generations past. We have designed a wonderfully fun and safe nursery that also includes a separate teaching time for children aged 2-5. Our Sunday School for grades 1-5, meets from 9:00am to 9:45am.
If we can greater clarify who we are or why we are pursuing greater Definition, contact us here or call us directly at 919-412-8161. If you would like to find out more about Jesus or if you would like to get a sense of what our services are like, call us or check out the worship section of our website.
Thanks for considering us, and we can’t wait to welcome you.