Dear Grace Chapel Brothers and Sisters,
Recently, in our worship services, we shared that our Outreach Ministry had gone through a process of determining our future direction and then aligning support to what we believe God was calling us to. At that time, I made the statement that we had made several changes to our current missionary support. I would like to explain some of the steps involved in that process, and then let you know the changes and decisions made based on the process.
- In January of 2016, we put together a team of volunteers who are interested in outreach. The team included experienced, long-term members of Grace, who lead our Focus Area teams, as well as others with a heart for outreach.
- This group developed a survey to discover the passions and concerns for outreach among the congregants at Grace; 140 people responded.
- The Elders were informed of the progress; and from the results, we established the core values for the Outreach Ministry. The core values and the definitions can be found in the two-year focus document found here, along with the “filter” document (click here) we used to decide on long-term support allocation.
- The Elders felt that our current operations were no longer sustainable or focused-directed enough. A full 15 percent of all giving goes to outreach, but the current allocation of resources did not include funds for new projects or initiatives allowing Grace to have a greater impact.
- Several Elders and the Outreach leadership spent the next three months working on a proposal. Several times, this proposal was presented to the Elders where the direction, process, and implications were explained. After the second meeting, the proposal was accepted.
- The proposal called for a stronger commitment of the church to our previously adopted Focus Areas with a commitment from the teams to investigate ways to be more impactful in what we are currently doing. It also called for a more focused approach to our local outreach, specifically Douglas County, while maintaining some of our long-term inner-city partners whose ministries align with our core values. This resulted in ending our financial agreements with many of our missionaries. Further information on our still-supported missionaries can be found here. Many of you faithfully support Grace Missionaries, and we trust you will continue to do so, and possibly increase your giving to these great people. As difficult as this was, we needed to make adjustments to be in-line with our new strategies and direction.
- The process of discontinuing our financial support to some of our missionary force was completed by the end of September. In the case of those no longer supported by Grace, at least six months and in some cases a full year of support, was committed, thus giving them time to regenerate their support.
- Each person was met with personally when possible, and those that were not, either a Skype call or phone call was made.
- Grace is still passionate about giving opportunity to those who have grown up at Grace to explore God’s Call on their lives to serve in a ministry capacity locally or internationally. We have made provision for support managed by the Missionary Care Team for those that qualify and complete the application process. There is no provision for long-term support outside our core values or Focus Areas.
Future for Our Focus Areas
Community development projects – After our trip to Africa in March, our Africa Team agreed to pursue a new strategy in all three countries of the Forgotten Triangle (Niger, Burkina Faso, and Benin) putting all our resources into community development projects that include:
- a church plant
- a pastor and his family
- new church building
- farm for the pastor to sustain himself
- clean water with electric solar pumping
- major irrigation system
- a school
God willing, this process will be repeated in all three countries. This project allows us to address most of our core values. When we are done in approximately four years, we should leave behind a sustaining entity that needs no further input from us other than consultation.
Sichuan Province of Central China and the Nosu People
Community and training center – This project is to provide a place for ministry and interaction with students and for training church leadership. We hope there will be some form of sustainable business, which has yet to be decide, included in this project. We are also hoping to provide an internship program for our Healthy Lives participants supported by Grace.
North African Arabs
Internet follow-up and support of the local Church – Because of the nature and difficulties in reaching this part of the world, our ministry for this year will be focused on helping to support the follow-up work of the local fellowship. In the course of a year, thousands of people respond to one of the many TV, radio, or internet-based Gospel programming. Once a response is received, a lengthy process of analyzing where each person is on their faith journey begins. In the process, a decision is reached for a face-to-face meeting. This can be dangerous and time consuming, but is being carried out on a weekly basis by dedicated followers of our Lord Jesus. Grace is providing resources to help in this process.
Douglas County Women’s Winter Shelter – Our major push for Local Outreach and Douglas County came in the form of an invitation to join with other churches to organize a winter shelter for women and children. In August, preparations began in earnest, and several evenings have been completed. We are very excited about this project, which is being led by a wonderful team of volunteers from Grace.
We are excited to see what the Lord is doing at and through Grace Chapel. We welcome the participation of many more people from the congregation!
Click here for more information, or if you feel you need more information, you can speak with Elders Stephen Sims and Jerry Cole, or me directly.
Thank you for your support and encouragement.