The following captures the essence of some of our more prominent themes:
Sufficiency of Scripture
First, we begin with Scriptures as our authoritative and sufficient source of instruction for all of God’s good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Scripture forms the basis for all that we do and we are constantly seeking to reform ourselves against the plain teachings of God’s Word. From our study of Scripture, these other distinguishing principles emerge:
In Acts 20, Paul declares, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God." (Acts 20:27) An analysis of the Scriptures reveals that it is the job of the shepherds/elders in the church to nurture and train the church membership (2 Timothy 4:2-4; Ephesians 4:11-12, Acts 2:42-47; 1 Timothy 3:2; Titus 1:9; Acts 20:28-31; 1 Peter 4:11). From these passages it is clear that the corporate gathering of the local church is for the equipping of the saints. Continuing from 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it is also clear that the equipping for anything God would call his people to do can be found within the teachings of Scripture. As such, the preaching at Grace Family Church is largely expositional in nature, meaning that topics for teaching are taken from the text being taught.
Regenerate Church Membership
Ephesians 3:10 describes God displaying his wisdom and glory through church. The fellowship of the early church (Acts 2, 4) demonstrates that the Lord was adding to their number those who were saved. Speaking of the church, Jesus said that we are to be "a city set on a hill." Our aim is to reflect the beauty of Jesus Christ through both formative and corrective discipline. He admonishes us, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:14a, 16).
Personal Discipleship and Growth
God cares about the growth of His children. This is clearly seen in the rebuke given by Paul to the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 3:1-2 as well as the rebuke of the Hebrews Christians in Hebrews 5:11-14. At Grace Family Church, we, too, desire for our membership to mature and grow in grace and knowledge with respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:2-3; 2 Peter 3:18). With such an emphasis from God that He desires our growth, the elders are committed to working with the Holy Spirit in the lives of the membership to shepherd them with good spiritual food and loving courageous protection (Ezekiel 34:2-4).
When God was preparing His people to enter into a pagan land and be immersed in a battle with peoples who did not love or obey Him, He gave them a very important principle through Moses recorded in Deuteronomy 6. The principle in view is most elegantly described in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. In verses 4-5, God instructed His people to train their children to love Him with all their heart, soul, and might. And in verses 6 through 9, He told them how and when to do it: when you sit, when you walk, when you lie, when you rise. This description really is about discipleship from parent to child. Why is this important? Verse 18 sums it up: “that it may go well with you”. God’s blessings come through obedience to His principles, and the transmission of those principles through the generations was to be accomplished from parent to child, so that in a land where the culture rails against God, it would go well with them. This is summed up wonderfully in Psalm 78:5-8:
“He established a testimony in Jacob and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers to teach to their children, that the next generation might know them, the children yet unborn, and arise and tell them to their children, so that they should set their hope in God and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments; and that they should not be like their fathers, a stubborn and rebellious generation, a generation whose heart was not steadfast, whose spirit was not faithful to God.” (Psalm 78:5-8)
The entire book of Proverbs underscores that mothers and fathers are charged with the discipleship of their children:
Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and forsake not your mother's teaching. (Proverbs 1:8)
My son, keep your father's commandment, and forsake not your mother's teaching.
Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. (Proverbs 6:20–21)
This principle is reinforced in the New Testament in Ephesians 6. When describing how a man is to live by the Spirit, Paul tells fathers to train and teach their children (Ephesians 6:4). In Luke 6:40, Jesus insists that disciples will become like their teachers. This reminds us what great grace we need from the Lord, not only to be faithful stewards of our children, but to grow in conformity to him ourselves.