We see a day, three years from now, when we, the people of Grace, will walk with God not just on Sundays but every day. Where we are equipped to use our gifts to impact the world around us. We see our sites doubling in size to 3,500 worshipers on a weekend. We see our facilities expanded and renovated to accommodate that growth. We see new innovations in how we use technology and worship venues to reach a new generation. We see a new leadership development center at 7th and Holland that will serve our church, our city, and the church worldwide. We see a congregation mobilized to address the leading needs in our city through volunteerism. We see an increased awareness and involvement in the global church, and resourced global partners in Haiti, Japan, and the Dominican Republic funded to go to the next level. It's a new chapter for Grace Church.Will you join us in chasing these dreams?
ABOUT TRANSFORM 1:8
The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” We don’t want to be those people, and so at Grace every 3 to 5 years we seek God and ask Him to show us what’s next for Grace Church –where does He want us to put our time, energy, and resources?
Pastor Derek spent 2017 meeting with hundreds of individuals and groups to get feedback about this vision. This is truly a grass-roots initiative at Grace.
THIS VISION IS BASED ON THE STRATEGY LAID OUT BY JESUS IN ACTS 1:8. OUR INFLUENCE STARTS TO LOOK LIKE 4 CONCENTRIC CIRCLES; LIKE A RIPPLE IN A POND THAT STARTS WITH THE FIRST STONE THROW.
Transform 1:8 Sermon Series and Videos
- Your Relationships (Jerusalem)
- Your Site (Judea)
- Our City (Samaria)
- Our World (Ends of the Earth)
Check out more about these areas in the brochure.
IS GROWING WIDE GOING TO HINDER OUR ABILITY TO GROW DEEP?
- If we do more expansion – is discipleship going to suffer?
- Reaching new people groups takes more money – discipling them takes more people.
- Inherent to the Great Commission is the command to make disciples, which implies two types of growth — width and depth. We are to reach people from every nation on earth. That’s width. We are to make true disciples of them, teaching them to obey all that he has commanded. That’s depth. To be faithful, a church must vigorously pursue both.
- Width without depth is unfaithful. When a church produces converts who aren’t really disciples, the “width” they’ve produced is an illusion. Think of the parable of the seeds (Matt 13:1–9). Jesus warned us that there would be those who appear saved, but ultimately fade in the sun or get choked out by thorns. We can’t just rely on apparent salvations.
- On the other hand, depth without width is unfaithful. Jesus taught his disciples to think big. When he called Peter, he did so by bringing in a huge haul of fish and saying, “This is how you will catch men.” Jesus counted them; Acts is full of them; the shepherd in Jesus’ parable was so in touch with his number of sheep that he knew when one was missing.
WHY WOULD WE SPEND MONEY ON BUILDINGS AND EXPANSION WHEN THERE IS SO MUCH POVERTY? SHOULDN’T WE JUST GIVE THE MONEY DIRECTLY TO THE POOR?
- I would never try to dissuade you from giving to the poor. As you may know- I too am very passionate about the concerns of the poor and needy. Kim and I (Derek) invest a significant amount of time and personal money in needs of the underprivileged in our community. Grace Church embodies this same passion.
- If our hunch is right that Jesus is the answer to what the world really needs and that the greatest kryptonite to poverty is relationships, not just money, then the greatest gift that we can give to the poor in our region is to increase the army of people who love Jesus and are also passionate for the causes of the poor and disenfranchised. As Grace Church continues to grow and as our heartbeat for the needs of our community grow with us – we have the best shot at solving some of the major contributing factors to poverty in our area.
- But what about poverty around the world. Shouldn’t we just send all this money we raise to the rest of the needs of humanity like water and clothing. How can we justify spending money on things like websites and sound equipment and pastors?
- Acts 1:8 – to reach Jerusalem first. We have been put here in Erie, PA, for a reason. Hell is going to be just as real to someone from the suburbs of Millcreek or West County or East County as someone in a remote African village. We believe we’re supposed to reach this community that’s why God put us here. And, yes, we need to be mindful of the needs of the world – we are committing to a much greater emphasis on that here at Grace. But it won’t remove the responsibility of being called here first. The facility, the music, the ministries that we support here – these are missionary tools to reach this region for Christ – and we believe we’re doing our level best to make the gospel make sense – not in an extravagant way – but in a culturally informed way to a new generation of skeptics in our own back yard.
- You see, again we have to ask, "What does the world really need?" The answer to the question is Jesus! The world has both physical needs and spiritual needs. So, yes, we give to things like world water, and aids, sex trafficking and it’s important to address the physical needs of the world – but the church is in the unique position to also address spiritual needs and we must invest our time and resources there as a priority.
WHY DO WE HAVE VISION CYCLES? WHEN WAS OUR LAST VISION?
- The Bible says in Proverbs 29:18 that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” Well we don’t want to be those people and so at Grace every 3-5 years we seek God and ask Him to show us what’s next for Grace Church.
- Our last vision cycle was from 2011-2016 with the Forward Project campaign to help fuel it. And this vision cycle will run from 2018-2021.
HAVE WE THOUGHT THIS THROUGH? WHERE DID THE VISION COME FROM?
- Pastor Derek has spent the past year listening to God and meeting with hundreds of different individuals and groups to get feedback about this vision. This is truly a God-led, grass-roots initiative.
WHAT IS THE AMOUNT WE ARE TRYING TO RAISE?
- The campaign goal is $2.3 million between April 15, 2018 and August 31, 2021.
CAN I GIVE TOWARD THE ONE THING I'M MOST EXCITED ABOUT OR WILL ALL GIVING GO INTO ONE BIG FUND?
- All giving to Transform 1:8 will go into one “pot” to be used exclusively for all the initiatives.
DO I HAVE TO GIVE MY PLEDGE ALL AT ONCE/CAN I MAKE PAYMENTS TOWARD MY PLEDGE?
- The vast majority of individuals will make payments on their pledge over the 41 months of the campaign.
- Some individuals choose to make an up front gift and then spread the remainder of their pledge over the duration of the commitment period.
- You can choose to give as frequently as you like. The most common options are weekly, bi-weekly, every two weeks, monthly, and annually.
- You can set up recurring payments online at https://whoisgrace.com/transform/#donate.
I NOTICE ON THE PLEDGE CARDS THAT THE OPTION OF EVERY OTHER WEEK WAS NOT OFFERED - I WANT TO GIVE WHEN I GET PAID, CAN I DO THIS?
- Yes, you can give every other week! Our online giving system provides the option of "every other week" for recurring payments as well.
- Unfortunately, our main database, where we record the pledges, does not offer "every other week" as an option. We have contacted the database company, and they do not plan to offer this as an option in the foreseeable future.
- If you will be giving every other week, the most accurate way for you to enter your pledge is by calculating the average monthly contribution that you plan to make. You can still give every other week!
- Entering your pledge using this monthly method will assist us in planning our spending wisely.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I CAN'T FULFILL MY PLEDGE?
- While we want you to take your financial commitment to Transform 1:8 seriously, your pledge is not a legally binding document. We realize that life circumstances change over the course of three years.
- Please be mindful that we will make financial commitments based on the aggregate pledge amounts, so if your circumstances change and you do not feel that you can fulfill your pledge, please let us know so we can make the adjustment in our records.
HOW CAN I MAKE MY PLEDGE COMMITMENT OR GIVE ONLINE?
- You can pledge at whoisgrace.com/pledge-transform.
- You can give via OneChurch (https://whoisgrace.com/transform/#donate) or via the Give link on whoisgrace.com. Choose “Transform” from the drop down.
- You can set up your donation frequency –weekly, twice a month, monthly – through the same site.
SHOULD I JUST MOVE MY REGULAR GIVING OVER TO THE CAMPAIGN?
- The Bible teaches about making consistent, regular gifts to God’s work and also giving special offerings. We are instructed to give our regular, proportional giving to support the ministries of the local church we attend. Offerings are sacrificial gifts over and above that regular giving amount.
- Sacrificial giving requires a reassessment of our spending and lifestyle, readjustment of our priorities and reallocation of our resources. It costs the giver something.
- We encourage each family to continue their regular giving and to also give to Transform 1:8. Please do not shift your regular giving to Transform. This will put a strain on the regular ministries of Grace.
WILL THE CONGREGATION BE PRESSURED INTO MAKING A FINANCIAL COMMITMENT?
- No, absolutely not. We will communicate the vision and encourage you to participate, but the decision to commit is yours.
- Part of the vision is empowering all of us to use what God has given, including our finances. We trust God to speak to His people. So, we ask everyone to pray for the vision initiatives and for God’s leading with how to participate financially.
- Our hope is that everyone who calls Grace their church home would give in some way.
WILL MY PLEDGE / CONTRIBUTION BE CONFIDENTIAL?
- Yes. Access to the records of individuals' gifts and pledges are kept in strict confidence and would only be seen by a small group of individuals who are responsible for counting and maintaining giving records. These individuals must sign confidentiality agreements.
- The most confidential method of pledging and giving is online --pledging at whoisgrace.com/transform-pledge and giving online. Using this method, only the Stewardship Lead would have access to the information.
WHEN SHOULD I START GIVING TOWARD TRANSFORM 1:8?
- The actual pledge dates are April 15, 2018-August 31, 2021; however, you can begin giving toward Transform 1:8 at any time.
DO WE HAVE ENOUGH WEALTHY PEOPLE IN OUR CHURCH TO ACCOMPLISH THIS GOAL?
- Grace Church isn’t a church of wealthy people; we are predominately a working-class church.
- Transform 1:8 will take everyone seeking God and responding as He leads to accomplish this vision. Everyone can give something.
- God wants our hearts first and foremost. Generosity flows from a transformed heart.
ARE MY GIFTS TO THE CAMPAIGN TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
- Yes, Grace Church is a 501(c)3, so your contributions are considered tax deductible.
WHY DO WE HAVE TO ASK PEOPLE TO GIVE?
- God is the one who has given this vision to the leadership at Grace. We believe God has called us to reach people with the gospel. He is calling us out of our comfort zone, to transform the lives of those who are far from Him. Because of this, we will continue to ask our congregation to give sacrificially of their resources, gifts, and time so more people can know the love of Christ and hope of salvation.
- It is His design that His people would overflow with generosity for kingdom purposes. He is the owner of all we have; we are just His managers.
- There is no requirement to participate in Transform 1:8. What we are asking everyone to do is Get Informed, Ask God what He Wants You to Do and then Do What He Says.
How Can I Get Involved?
God is calling you to play a role in this vision.
- Get informed.
- Listen to God. Find your chair. Pray about how He wants you to be involved.
- Do what He tells you.