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Grace Life Center

Raising a generation in love with God


Okezie Ofoegbu Re-launch Prospectus Grace Life Center December 11, 2010

Okezie Ofoegbu email: pastor@gracelifecenter.com Grace Life Center

Table of Contents
Who we are!
Imagine a place where... Enter Grace Life Center - Our Mission & Vision Our History

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3 3 7

Our Target!
Our Geographic Target Maryland Michelle & Michael - the typical unchurched in our area

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8 9

Our Strategy!
CONNECT: Attracting Seekers to Jesus through the Gospel of Gods Grace CONTRIBUTE: Growing Through Commitment to Sharing because of Gods Grace CELEBRATE: Sending Disciples Out Equipped to Proclaim the Gospel of Gods Grace

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12 15 17

Our Need!
Pre-launch - January - June 2011 Re-launch - Fall of 2011 - August or September Post-Launch - August 2011 to June 2012 How Can You Help Make This Happen? Why should you be a part of this? Contact Information

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20 22 24 24 27 28

Appendix! Appendix I - Why Another Church in DC Area! Appendix II - Core Group / Eldership Leadership Model at Grace Life!
Okezie Ofoegbu email: pastor@gracelifecenter.com Grace Life Center

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Okezie Ofoegbu email: pastor@gracelifecenter.com Grace Life Center

Who we are
God-lovers raising a generation of God-lovers IMAGINE A PLACE WHERE...
acceptance is unconditional and people are allowed to belong before they believe ... everyone is comfortable inviting their friends to no matter how far or near they are to God ... everyones gifts, talents, calling and destinies are encouraged, celebrated and maximized people bust their asses for what they believe in compelled not by duty but by fervent love pardon is without probation, forgiveness is without condemnation and love is unconditional people are encouraged to seek answers to their deepest questions about life, God and the bible ... everyone is a minister, serving everyone else in love and grace no one person but Jesus is the Supreme Leader and our leaders are simply servants serving the whole community in a shared leadership the teachings are relevant and the music/worship meaningful and uplifting ... everyone is 100% dedicated to raising 100,000 lovers of God over the next 20 years Enter Grace Life Center - Our Mission & Vision Guess what, we have imagined it also and we are audacious enough to set out, by Gods grace, to make such a place a reality. Grace Life Center, a church of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries (CRM), is being re-launched as a gospel centered church, a place where seekers, explorers and followers of Jesus in the Washington DC area can experience and share a life of free, unconditional grace the hall mark of the gospel. Our mission is to: Raise a generation of Christians who are committed to transforming our culture as they follow Jesus in all things, compelled only by Gods love for them.

We believe the Lord is calling us to envision how different the Washington DC metropolis could become if a group of Christians, driven purely and only by their love for God, combine the creativity, acceptance and focus of a modern gospel-centered, grace-based church with the power, passion and spirit of the Charismatic/Pentecostal movement, with its belief in the power of the Holy Spirit to change lives and situations today. We thought about it; we prayed about it - and we are not fully sure of all that will happen - but we are convinced of one thing - we will raise a generation of people so in love with God that they will be dedicated to following Jesus in every aspect of their lives. They will thus become a people who will bring a positive transformation to the prevalent culture of our day, a culture filled with of addiction, violence, depravity, greed and bigotry. That is our vision - to raise, over the next 20 years, God-Lovers in every family in the DC area - people whom God can use to bring about positive changes in their environment by the truth of the gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit. From our research, assuming a typical household size of 4, that is 100,000 God lovers by 2030! We are compelled by Jesus - Gods love gift to the world. We reckon, that if Jesus died for all men, then all were dead. So that if we all now live because of the one who died in our place, our lives no longer belong to us we henceforth cannot live for ourselves but for the one who died so that we could live. That is, we accept that none of us had any meaningful existence until Jesus came and rescued us. But for Jesus - we were all doomed and condemned to a worthless existence. And rightly so. For it was us who deserved to die because of our rebellion, sin and mistakes. Yet because He loved us so, Jesus gave up all, emptied himself of all his glory, and lowered himself so he could redeem us by dying in our place. Therefore, as we behold how much God loves us through the death of Jesus on the cross, we are motivated to whole heartedly say yes to the Lords desire that we love God and exalt him above all else in our lives. How can we not? How can we not love above all He who has loved us above all? Yes, we love only because He has first loved us unconditionally. In addition, as we recognized that he died not just for us but for the WHOLE WORLD every man, woman, boy and girl ever born past, present and future we see that Gods anger against mens action has been assuaged, paid for by the gruesome death of Jesus on the cross. We see that as a result, no one needs continue to live in death and experience condemnation. God has in Christ reconciled the world to Himself offering all the opportunity to become reconciled with God, the source of life. And so we are motivated to go into our world to let everyone know what God has done for us and to help as many as receive Gods reconciliation to go make disciples who will follow Jesus in all things and take this message to the ends of the earth. Grace Life Center therefore exists to draw people to saving faith by lifting up Jesus, in all his goodness and glory, bringing those who have come to faith to share and contribute in grace-based, life-transforming relationships while sending them forth equipped to lift up Jesus, individually and corporately, in our world.

We believe that as we repeat this cycle of accepting how God accepts us as we behold Jesus die for us on the cross out of unconditional love for us, committing to personal transformation as we share and contribute because of what God has done for us and going into the world to with this message and relationships to raise a people who will also accept how God accepts people as they behold Jesus die for them, we will renew our committees with the power of love, we will transform our cultures and we will bring the kingdom of God to bear on Earth.

How would the world look like if we were successful in our mission? We expect to see and hear stories of radical transformation in our communities and all across the world. Cultures of addiction, dependencies, hate and depravity transformed to cultures of freedom, love, righteousness and justice. People telling their stories of how God wooed them off their feet. Stories of how a holy God loved them and transformed their lives with the righteousness of Jesus. Stories of how they are currently multiplying the Gospel and their gifts into other people. Ultimately, we want these stories of transformation to be popping up all over the world. What do we mean by stories of transformation? We look forward to hearing: I depended completely on myself I sought comfort in things I had no protection I hungered for what the world had to offer I really only cared for people when it benefited me I had no peace I only cared for my own causes
BECOME BECOME BECOME BECOME BECOME BECOME BECOME

Now I depend completely on God God now is my comfort Christ is my protector during trouble I hunger for the righteousness of God I now willingly share in the troubles of others

I have to go those without Gods peace I do Gods will, even if it brings personal discomfort

I tried to fit it

BECOME

I now see people when change when they are around me

I caused all kinds of godlessness

BECOME

I now show God in the godless of places

Our Message The core of our message to the world is very simple and straightforward and can be boiled down to the following 4 points, which we derive out of our faith n the inerrant word of God the bible: 1. The One God is a community - a Trinity of three persons who each perfectly know and defer to one another and love one another and therefore have infinite joy and glory and peace. That God made a good, beautiful world filled with beings who share in this life of joy and peace by knowing, serving, and loving God and one another. This is why we were created by God and the reason why we are here on Earth. 2. However, instead of living as God intended, we chose to center our lives on ourselves and on the pursuit of things rather than on God and other. This has led to the disintegration of creation and the loss of peace within ourselves, between ourselves, and in nature itself. War, hunger, poverty, injustice, racism, bitterness, meaninglessness, despair, sickness, and death are all symptoms of the rebellion of man from divinely ordained pattern of living. This is what went wrong with the world. 3. But, although God lost us, He determined to win us back. He entered history in the person of Jesus in order to deal with all the causes and results of our broken relationship with him. By his sacrificial life and death he both exemplifies the life we must live and rescues us from the life we have lived. By his resurrection he proved who he was and showed us the future new bodies and a completely renewed and restored new heavens and new earth in which the world is restored to full joy, justice, peace, and glory. This is what puts the world right 4. Between Jesus first coming to win us and his last coming to restore all things back to full perfection, we live by faith in him and in His word. When we believe and rely on Jesus work and record (rather than on ours) for our relationship to God, his healing kingdom power comes upon us and begins to work through us. Christ gives us a radically new identity, freeing us from both self-righteousness and self-condemnation. This liberates us to accept people we once excluded, and to break the bondage of things (even good things) that once drove us. We receive God Himself into our hearts through the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, empowering us live new, transformed lives. He puts us into a new community of people in which experience progressive transformation and foretaste of the healing of the world that God will accomplish when Jesus returns. This is how we can be a part of putting the world right

Our History Grace Life Center is a re-launch of the Maryland church of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries formally known as the God Is Love Community. The church originally began when a few brethren, mostly from the Charismatic Renewal Ministries, decided to start a fellowship in the area in 2002. By 2009, the fellowship, which had began to meet on Sundays was still just about 10 to 15 families and had lost quite a few of the initial founding team. In December 2009, the founding pastor, who was the last remaining member of the founding team also decided to move on. It was at this point that the CRM in North America decided to appoint a caretaker committee to stabilize the group but above all to re-brand and re-launch the church. The goal was to re-focus the churchs mission and vision as well as develop a plan for discipleship and growth so as to enable the church make substantial impact in the United States for Gods kingdom. This re-building / re-launch document is a part of the efforts by the current caretaker committee in that direction.

Our Target
Our mission field and why we must succeed
Our Geographic Target Grace Life Center Church plant will be located in Central Prince Georges county. Central Prince Georges County lies in the heart of Prince Georges County. The county has one of the largest populations of affluent, middle and upper income African-American population in the United States. Major towns in the area include

Bowie, Greenbelt, Lanham, Beltsville, College Park and Laurel MD.

Like the rest of the Washington DC metropolitan area, Central PG is made up of a mix of white collar professionals (almost 70% of working adults) who are either working for the federal government or governmentrelated businesses such as contractors and service providers. Since Washington DC also plays host to institutions servicing foreign states and interests, embassies and consulates as well as international developmental organizations and NGOs such as the World Bank, IMF etc, the area also plays host to a significant immigrant population, particularly from African and Caribbean countries. The table below gives some key demographic information about our target area: Statistics Median Age Average Household Income Median Household Income White Black Asian or Pacific Islander Hispanic Ethnicity % of population under 20 % of population 20 to 24 % of population 25 to 34 % of population 35 to 44 % of population 45 to 54 % of population over 54 Female Male Adults Employed in Blue Collar Occupations Adults Employed in White Collar Occupations % of Adults Never Married (Single) % of Adults Married % of Divorced / Widowed % with High School or less % with some college but no degree % with college degree or more Employed Unemployed % of families owning home vs renting % age 35.2 $81,102 $71,109 23.5% 55.2% 7.5% 13.8% 31.2% 6.1% 13.6% 15.0% 14.6% 19.5% 51.8% 48.2% 30.6% 69.4% 36.0% 50.2% 13.8% 39.5% 23.5% 36.9% 67.2% 4.3% 59.9% Actual Number

83,897 197,070 26,776 49,267 111,387 21,778 48,553 53,552 52,123 69,617 184,931 172,079 53,364 121,027 96,268 134,240 36,903 83,817 49,866 78,300 177,012 11,327 73,400

Maryland Michelle & Michael - the typical unchurched in our area From our research, interaction with the community and prayers, we believe Grace Life Center will be well positioned to effectively minister and bring the gospel of the Lord Jesus to a majority of the family and individuals located in Central Prince Georges county. Our goal, as stated previously, is to draw men to saving faith by lifting up Jesus, in all his goodness and glory, bringing those who have come to faith into grace-based, life-transforming relationships and then sending them forth equipped to lift up Jesus, individually and corporately, in our world.

Our vision is to repeat this process over and over again until we see the culture in our towns and cities transformed as at least 100,000 people not only secure their eternity in Jesus but become radical lovers of God over the next 20 years. We will call the typical unchurched seeker whom we could reach for Jesus in Central PG as Maryland Michelle. Michelle is in her mid 30s to early 40s. She is very likely well educated with at some college education. She is single, has just gone through or is going through a difficult period with her significant order or, if still in a steady relationship whether marriage or live-in partner has primarily remained in the relationship to meet her sexual needs and avoid extreme loneliness. Her partner, Michael, contributes very little else to her economically, emotionally, spiritually or psychologically and is very likely not as educated as she is. Between Michelle and Michael, they have at least 2 kids of elementary or middle school age for whom they are responsible. Michelle very likely also has at least a teenage child from a previous relationship also living with her. Irrespective of her educational background, putting these kids through at least a college degree and keeping them from street gangs and drugs are Michelles highest worries. Maryland Michelle, and her partner Michael, convince themselves that they are fairly okay spiritually, they are not that bad and they think evangelical Christians can be jerks and are quite intolerant. They probably grew up in a mainline denomination such as Catholic, Baptist or Lutheran but would not consider themselves a member of any of those groups today. However they both seek for a deeper more meaningful spiritual experience although without the spooky stuff Between she and Michael, their household income is somewhere between $50,000 to $75,000, 35% to 40% of which goes to rent or mortgage. Consequently, the household is always tight on finances, which implies either working long hours or extra jobs to make ends meet. It also means significant consumer debt weighing on them. Thus time is very precious to Michelle in between working to generate income and catering for the needs of her family, there is little time left to be actively involved in faith or religion, especially when several hours during the week is demanded from her for activities she does not see how they are relevant to her day to day existence. She and Michael are wrapped up in the belief that this world and the success it affords getting ahead in life are the greatest pursuits of life. Their life has been reduced to temporal pursuits, and because they do not spend any meaningful time to give much though to the transcendent issues of life, Michelle and Michael generally feel that they are not faring too bad. However, often and again, when they go through one of lifes trauma such as illhealth, bereavement, financial difficulties, relationship break up, their thoughts do go to these issues and she is forced to face the questions of the meaning of her life. Maryland Michelle our typical unchurched seeker is middle-aged, independent minded, well educated but extremely busy. She is barely managing on her income, lonely in a midst of a crowd and is the de-facto leader of her family

At those times, Michelle convinces herself that she believes in God and, although she is not perfect, she is generally not that bad of a person. She is convinced that she is fairly open-minded when it comes to issues of faith and religion. So although she is quite open to having a spiritual discussion, she is suspicious of people who claim that their way is the only way to God. Her general impression of Christians, especially as has been promoted on

Well educated with a diploma or college education

Sees material gain as ultimate goal in life

Single with complicated personal relationships

Fiercely independent, mistrust everyone

Feels general good about her station in life but continues to aspire for more

Believes in God but does not want to be fanatical. Sees herself as tolerant of others

Extremely busy between working to generate income and care for family

Thinks Christians are intolerant, are jerks and spend too much time asking for money

TV, is that they are jerks, narrow-minded, judgmental, arrogant and angry. And so although, she is thinking I really want more God or religion in my life, and Id rather be a Christian than a Buddhist or a Muslim, she is also thinking to herself but Christians look and act like jerks, and I dont want to ever become like that!

Our Strategy
Connect.Contribute.Celebrate - Making disciples out of the unbelieving and the uninformed
Our mission at Grace Life Center is to raise a generation of Christians (at least one in every family in our area) so in love with God that they: 1. powerfully draw people to saving faith by lifting up Jesus, in all his goodness and glory, 2. are dedicated to sharing their lives with other God lovers grace-based, life-transforming relationships 3. can be sent forth, enflamed by the same love of God and equipped to lift up Jesus, individually and corporately, in our world, thus perpetuating the cycle The strategy for accomplishing this mission can be broken down into 3 simple steps. We will: A. Connect: Attract seekers to Jesus by meeting them where they are with the glorious gospel of Gods grace B. Contribute: Grow those attracted through increasing commitments to giving and sharing their time, talents and treasures because of the gospel of Gods grace C. Celebrate: Send them back into their world and culture equipped to exalt, proclaim and celebrate the God of the gospel of Gods grace. Simply put, our strategy for accomplishing our vision and mission is to Connect, Contribute and Celebrate. A. CONNECT: Attracting Seekers to Jesus through the Gospel of Gods Grace Research from work by George Barna and other church growth experts have shown that Maryland Michelle and unchurched seekers like her can best be reached and attracted to Jesus as they increasingly sense the relevance of the gospel message and of Jesus in their personal life and circumstances. We believe that there are two basic ways in which this can happen in our community today (culled from Dr. Tim Kellers Study on the Book of Acts): 1. When Friends or Acquaintances of the Unchurched Find Christ: If Michelle or an unchurched seeker knows or gets to know someone whom he or she respects or has an affection for that has either found Christ or is interested in finding Christ, it makes the gospel more plausible. Even if they dont get it,

their friends interests lengthens the attention span greatly and they are willing to listen more, to explore more in case they are the ones missing something 2. A sense of personal weakness or inadequacy: If Michelle or an unchurched seeker becomes disappointed in themselves or becomes aware of failure or powerlessness in some area of their lives, their sense of well being disappears and a sense of spiritual need grows. Again, not only do they begin to ask the transcendent questions about life, they begin to seek for solutions and answers, increasing their willingness to spend more time to hear the gospel message Consequently, we believe that, although it may appear that in our area we have a fairly large number of happy pagans i.e. does who laugh off the gospel and dont give it a hearing, we are convinced this is primarily because a) they know no one whom they respect or like that is a gospel-oriented Christian or b) they feel very competent and equal to lifes challenges. Therefore our strategy in Grace Life Center would be to: 1. Connect with Seekers and the unchurched (i.e. actively seek friendships with them) at other levels that will build respect and affection. This include: a. Participating in various community activities that would bring us into constant contact with seekers from all works of life b. Train our people to apply gospel principles to their daily lives so that even as they succeed in various aspects of their lives, their seeker friends will see and query them on why their sense of self-worth or being does not come from temporal things of life but from something more transcendent. 2. Be a community of believers that can connect with seekers and others who are exploring whether Christianity holds the answer to the challenges of life they are going through: a. Grace Life will be a church that accepts people who dont dress right, dont talk right, dont smell right, and dont think right. We will be willing to have them belong before they believe. We will not say to the unchurched We will accept you only if you agree with us. We believe that one of the ways we will validate the gospel is by being a group that accepts people regardless of whether they conform or not. b. Create an atmosphere/environment where people can express their questions and doubts to the Christian faith and to the gospel. We will do all we can to avoid the danger of one-way verbal traffic, always talking and never listening to the needs of people. c. We will create ministries and small groups that will target seekers who are in the passages of life, who are going through critical transition points such as newly marrieds, marriage breakdowns, a new job,

difficult teenagers, death and suffering. We believe that grace-based, gospel-oriented church is uniquely equipped to minister to people at these transition points. 3. Be relevant but Spirit-sensitive to a seeker - By making all we do powerful entry points for seekers a place and means where the Holy Spirit is given freedom to minister to people in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. Grace Life Center will be a place where everyone will feel comfortable inviting their friends - no matter how far or how near they to God in order to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit. a. We will design small groups, weekend services, Internet chat rooms, special events, seminars such that people are encouraged to invite a non-Christian friend to explore the faith and see/experience Jesus being lifted b. Every member of the church will be taught to be seeker oriented but spirit-led in ministering to the unbelieving and the uninformed we will aim to make everyone immediately interested in new people and seekers, what they need and how the church can help. Nothing will be said or done unless it is truly helpful to the newcomer or seeker in finding Jesus. Members will be taught if it were Jesus interacting with this person, what would Jesus do, say or be towards this person. c. Create an atmosphere of Gods presence we will aim to create an atmosphere of Gods presence in our midst through worship, teaching of the word, prayer, and active faith. d. Use understandable terminology: in our meetings and discussions, especially during Sunday services, we will do our best to avoid Christian words that may not make sense to the seeker but do our best, like Jesus, to communicate the deep truths of God in everyday language. e. We will make our church meetings accessible and free of encumbrances. This includes providing wheelchair ramps and easy parking facilities. We will also provide clear and easy access to getting questions answered, meeting new people, talking to church leaders, joining the membership, becoming part of a small group, resolving complaints, and signing up to serve. f. We will make Grace Life comfortable for all kinds of people in dressing, in appearance, in background etc. In summary our philosophy when it comes to evangelism and outreach is very simple: it is through genuine, heartfelt connections - positive relationships and interactions over time - which a believer has over time with a secular-minded seeker that is most effective in attracting that seeker to Jesus. Nothing is more powerful in attracting the seeker than lifting up Jesus his person, his grace, his work, his love and so as we do this in all

our activities worship, small groups, teachings, love feasts, prayers the Lord himself will draw the Michelles and Michaels in our community to Himself. B. CONTRIBUTE: Growing Through Commitment to Sharing because of Gods Grace We believe that just as relationships are key to bringing someone into relationship with Jesus, relationships in the context of a growing understanding, application and commitment to the gospel is also the key to lifetransformation and spiritual development. At Grace Life, spiritual growth will not be pursued as an end in itself but as a means to end. The end will be to experience personal and corporate life transformation eternal life from a growing knowledge of the unknowable God and Jesus whom He has sent. This can only happen as we give and receive from each other in grace-based relationships and community. Our goal at Grace Life will thus not be to simply produce spiritual giants but people whose lives are being changed because they are giving off themselves to others as a result of faith in the gospel. There will be two primary avenues by which we release people into a lifestyle of growth flowing from a deepening of their knowledge of the Lord and His Love for them. These are: a. Grace Life Transformation Seminars b. Small Groups Grace Life Transformation Seminars This will be the process by which we take someone who is a seeker in the community or one in the crowd who attends our meetings from an unbeliever or uninformed person to a disciple via a series of commitments. A disciple is someone who has made an unwavering commitment to follow Jesus. In todays modern culture where many are averse to commitment, Grace Life will emphasis commitment giving away of ones life to others and for others - as the secret to life-transformation and growing deeper in the knowledge of God. God will reveal his secrets only to those who are committed to give freely what they have freely received. The chart below presents the various levels of Grace Life Centers development seminars CLASS 101 - Discover Grace Life Seminar 90-minute lunch seminar whose goal will be to seek commitment to Jesus as Savior and Lord as well as commitment to membership of Grace Life. We intend to host this every Sunday at 1pm in a nearby hotel until we move to a location where we can hold this. CLASS 201 - Basic Christian Disciplines Seminar Seminar that will move the new Christian to commitment to disciplines that would enable him or her develop a deepening relationship with Jesus. We intend to hold this once every month.

CLASS 202 - Evangelism Seminar a seminar to thoroughly equip every member of Grace Life to do the work of an evangelist. Given our goal to reach 100,000 people in 10 years, it is imperative that we get as many as we can to commit to a lifestyle of an evangelist. We intend to hold this once a month as an addendum / follow on to our basic Christian seminars. CLASS 301 - Life in the Spirit Seminar Seminar that will move the Christian to commitment to the truths of the gospel and the life lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. This is also the seminar where you commit to serving based on the gifts of grace which we have received from the Holy Spirit. We will hold this once every 3 months CLASS 401 - Christian Leadership Seminar Seminar where we commit to becoming joint laborers to God as workers in his vineyard. We will hold this once every six months. The figure below shows the Life Transformation Process we intend to adopt beginning January 2011.
Class 201 = Maturity/Witnessing/ Growth January 2011 & every month on Saturdays LABORING PROCESS!

Class 301 = Ministry/Gift begins March 2011 held every 3 months

Class 101 = Introduction to Jesus & Membership begin January 2011

Class 401 = Leadership / Missions/once every 6 months beginning June 2011

To uttermo st

part of the

earth

Grace Life Transformation Small Groups At Grace Life, small groups will mean sharing and giving relationships. Small Groups at Grace Life will be gracebased missional communities where we will do life together. The primary reason for our small groups will be growth and life-change in the context of a sharing community. No matter how much learning one gets from

Community / Crowd

seminars, no matter how much commitments they make only in the context of interactions and sharing in a grace-based community where those teachings and commitments can be practiced can genuine growth occur. Small groups will give us the ability to saturate our community with the message of the gospel as our goal would be to create environments in our small groups where believers can be excited about inviting both their churched and unchurched friends. In addition, leadership development will take place at the small group level also as the goal will be to have them operate as the basic fundamental unit of the church. Grace Life Center will not be a church with small groups but a church of small groups. Grace Life Center has sponsored over 12 people to attend Small Groups seminars put together by the Saddleback Community Church. We intend to launch 6 small groups / house fellowships in January of 2011 in the following areas: 1. Bowie / Lanham 2. Beltsville 3. Laurel 4. Baltimore 5. Waldorf 6. Gaithersburg / Rockville Small group readiness document - a document that will crystallize exactly how we would quickly and seamlessly launch small groups is currently being developed by the caretaker committee. We hope that as our small groups grow, this would enable us rapidly saturate our communities with small groups, growing to over 12 small groups by the end of the year. C. CELEBRATE: Sending Disciples Out Equipped to Proclaim the Gospel of Gods Grace Our ultimate goal in Grace Life is to transform our culture by raising a generation madly in love with God and sending them into our local communities, into our nation and into the world at larger. This is in line with the great commission as described in Acts 1:8. For us to be effective in fulfilling the Great Commission and our mission, Grace Life will seek to equip this generation of God lovers and teach them how to creatively and powerfully lift up the Lord in the cultural, economic and social aspects of our communities. Our communities are our mission fields; Grace Lifers are the missionaries we are sending to the mission field. We believe that as Jesus is enthroned as King in the hearts of men, societies and cultures will be transformed. We believe that when we Transform hearts, and the systems and culture will change. Therefore our proclamation and our celebration

will not be temple-based, church-centered, and priest-oriented. Our worship or celebration of God will be in streets and in the market place done by simple, Spirit-filled people speaking the gospel and doing great acts of loving service. Our goal is not just to grow church membership or to have members who come to church No. Our goal is to have people, God lovers, who see themselves as the church the called out ones of Jesus sent into the world, just as the Father sent Jesus into the world to bring glory and praise to God, to lift up the name of the Father every where. Thus as a church, we will find and encourage everyone to find connection points in our community that would enable us bring praise and glory to God by matching the needs of the community with the spiritual gifts and abilities available within the church. Recognizing that one of the times unchurched seekers like Maryland Mitchelle can be most receptive to the gospel is during the periods of change and crisis in their lives, the following are connection points to the community that Grace Life will seek to establish as means to contribute to lives and celebrate Gods love in order to increase its potential to reach the seekers in our community while making a difference in our world: Ministries to New Parents: Following the birth of a child, new parents often wake up to the physical and spiritual needs that arise with raising children. Young people who have been out of church for years often go back to when a child arrives propelled by the desire to give their children spiritual guidance. Ministries to immigrants/new to town: people who have recently moved into a new community are searching for friends, doctors, dentists, places to shop and churches. Immigrants to the US are also extremely vulnerable and a structured ministry to them would go a long way in establishing them in the US. Ministries to those in crisis (Barnabas Ministry): Sudden lay off from job, death of a loved one, financial crisis and other kinds of crises present a powerful opportunity to present Jesus to people as these are times people often ponder the big questions of life. Grace Life Centers Barnabas Ministry will be dedicated to helping people in our community find answers to these questions and also find support during these times of crisis. Ministry to the Hurting: Various ministries to help those going through various emotional and physical hurt during such times as breakdown of marriage, separation and divorce, drugs and substance abuse. Ministry to those seeking physical renewal: many people are renewing their commitments to their careers, education, physical health (such as jogging, running, and other sports programs). These are very relevant needs in our immediate environments and present an opportunity for Grace Life to play a meaningful role in peoples lives.

Ministry to those transitioning to single parenting: we know that over 30% of households in our area are single-head families, majority of which are female single head families. This is often a very difficult transition and such Grace Life intends to offer practical support and spiritual growth to those going through these Ministry to religious minded people (Apollos Ministry): there is a group of people in our community who, like Apollos, are religiously minded and may have grown up in mainline denominations like Catholic, Lutheran, Episcopal and Methodist and are searching but are not sure where to turn to who whom to turn to. Grace Lifes Apollos ministry will seek to create opportunities for these to be shown the truth. Day Care Ministry: the continuing need for two-income families produces the corresponding need for child care. This will be a key ministry pathway to touch lives. In summary, our philosophy at Grace Life is to create opportunities for connection with the community in a practical way, bringing the truth of the gospel to people through practical means. We would then grow those whom we have attracted into disciples of Jesus by bringing them into grace based, loving and sharing relationships. Finally, we equip and send everyone back into our communities as proclaimers and celebrators of the gospel through life-touching, practical worship and ministry. By the fifth anniversary of our re-launch, we expect to see no less than 20 ministries active in our community, bringing the gospel message in practical ways to the world around us.

Our Need
How you can help us raise a generation of God Lovers
Although Grace Life Center has existed in one form or the other since 2002, the present leadership believes that a full re-launch of the church according to the vision, mission and ministry philosophy described in this document is needed if it is to ever become all that God intends for it. We envisage the Grace Life Center relaunch to take place in 3 major phases

Pre-launch Re-launch Post-launch


Pre-launch - January - June 2011 We are currently in the pre-launch stage. This is basically the stage where, while we continue to meet on Sundays and on week days, we are preparing to make a big launch and announce ourselves to the community. Hence everything we are doing at this stage is to prepare us for this big launch. Our biggest need at this stage is people - hands who will commit to work with us through to our big launch in the Fall of 2011. What this means is that deciding to be a part of the Grace Life launch team is not the same as making a decision to be a part of the church. It is a specific 9 month commitment - after which you could decide to remain or go somewhere else. We hope that as you have read this document, you will feel the call from the Lord to be a part of this. Over the next 9 months during the pre-launch period we will be focusing on the following:

Clarification of vision, mission and ministry philosophy - Ongoing; to be completed December 2010 Finalization of 501c Status - Ongoing, to be completed February 2011 Macedonian Call raising a team of believers who will help us with the launch of the church in Fall of 2011 Our goal is raise a team 50 to 60 people who can commit for at least 9 months - Ongoing, hope to finalize by January 2011. We are happy if you could commit to help in any area. However we have listed below the areas where we critically need help today in as we prepare to launch:

Ministry to Childrens Team - 3 people Ministry Youth & Singles Team - 3 people Outreach / Marketing Team - 5 people Ministry to Single Moms Team - 2 people Hospitality / First Impressions Team - 7 people Worship Team - 5 people Prayer / Ministration - 5 people Teaching Team - 5 people Sound, Audio and Video Team - 4 people Admin / Logistics Team - 3 people Life Transformation Groups Team - 6 people

Selection of New Core-Group leaders of 10 to 12 members - March / April 2011

Begin prayer mobilization for success of re-launch and mission - January to June 2011 Begin small groups Life Transformation Groups - January 2011 Conduct Discover Grace Life Classes, Foundations of Christian Living and SHAPE classes - start January
2011

Launch Day Planning - form committee - February 2011 Organize 2 events to connect to target community in a big way. Example of events to consider include:
First Friday Childrens Activities Concerts in the Park Involvement Family Movie Nights Information Meetings- one per quarter

Community Networking: The purpose of GLCs networking plan is to build and expand relationships with community and civic leaders in our target area. Through these relationships we hope to connect our church with the community in avenues that would not otherwise be possible. Activities will include: Identifying community and civic leaders Obtaining contact information for these leaders Prioritizing the list Making contact with as many leaders as possible through letters, email, meetings, phone calls, etc. Involving the entire launch team in networking Maintaining database of community and civic leaders Constantly looking for marketing and outreach opportunities.

We intend to target the following organizations in our target community:

Home Owners Associations Store/Business Owners Public Service Personnel- police, fire, etc. Politicians Newspaper Editors/Staff Community Website Chamber of Commerce Community Clubs Civic organizations

Re-launch - Fall of 2011 - August or September

Organize 2 re-launch preview services prior to main re-launch day. The purpose of the two preview services is to generate community interest and to allow for practice leading up to the actual main launch service. The preview services will also help us connect with visitors and allow us to tweak areas of need before Re-launch Sunday.

On launch day, our goal will be to have at least 350 people in attendance. This number should consist of 60 people of the original launch team and 290 first-time attendees. Our goal is to reach this number through direct invite by launch team members and direct mail to the specific area codes in Central PG. At launch there will be 2-services one at 9pm 10.30pm the other at 6pm 7:30pm Opportunities will be offered before and after both services (donuts and coffee) to allow newcomers the chance to connect with other attendees. Purposeful techniques to connect with visitors will be implemented at launch. Visitor packets with detailed information about the church, letters to each visitor within 24 hours of the service, a direct phone call to each visitor within 24 hours of service to answer questions and to connect with each visitor, will be accomplished by the executive pastors and the welcome team members. Research has shown that if this is done right, close to a third of the people in attendance would typically return on subsequent Sundays.

Aggressive mass marketing: several weeks/months to Re-Launch day, we will attempt to establish broad name recognition throughout the target area so that more people will be likely to attend our preview services and/or re-launch service. Marketing techniques we will employ include: Ads in print- newsletters, local newspapers, community associations/websites, etc. Mailing lists- letters, newsletters, group emails, special invitations, etc. Stationary with church name and logo for ongoing use Website- gracelifecenter.com Word of mouth- community networking, launch team invites, etc. Yellow Pages Sponsorship- recreation teams, community events, etc. Radio ads Movie Theater Previews Giveaways

Brochures- new church brochure that can be given away or mailed. Business cards- invite cards with church launch information. Pens- detailing church name and website.

Event Specific

Direct mail- saturate target area with information detailing preview services and launch date to target areas. Portable outdoor signs Flyers- mailed to target areas, available for direct handout. Free Publicity- community shows, radio programs, article for newsletters,

Post-Launch - August 2011 to June 2012 The first year after we re-launch will be one of the most critical years in successful launch of Grace Life Center. We expect in the first year after re-launch to have begun the first phase of bringing 100,000 people in our target area to a life committed to following in response to their amazement at the wonders of Gods love for them. This means that in our first year:

Begin preparation for the launch of new church in target area Established the One Big Idea for ministry developed process whereby everything we do communicates one central message Moved at least 100 people through all the Grace Life Development process in the first year after we relaunch

How Can You Help Make This Happen? The purpose of this document is to outline a clear mission, vision and philosophy of ministry for the re-launch of Grace Life Center into a church with transformational impact in this generation. However, just as Paul received what is now known as the Macedonian call in Acts 16, this is also a personal invitation from the leadership of Grace Life Center asking you to get involved and help us re-launch Grace Life Center. We invite you to imagine a body of believers who, in response to amazing grace and love God has shown them, have dedicated their lives to following Jesus Christ and lifting Him up, in all his beauty and glory, for the world around them to see. We trust that you can see how such a community of Christ-followers can be the catalyst for

cultural transformation the healing of culture of broken homes and broken lives, the restoration of lost hopes and dreams, the breaking of debilitating addictions and bondages. We trust that you can see educational systems re-built, ghettos transformed, nations redeemed. These are the early days of global revival a gospel movement that will change our world from the inside out. And so, if you have not already thought about it, we invite you seriously but prayerfully consider being a part of the actualization of this dream in at least one of one of four ways PRAY, SHARE, JOIN and TELL. PRAY Regularly: More than any of us understands, we need many, many people to pray for the re-birth of Grace Life Center. From our experience, church planters endure much spiritual warfare so please pray. Pray for the current leadership / launch team and their families, pray for Washington DC and the surrounding suburbs and specifically Montgomery and Prince George counties. Pray that key relationships will be made that will open up doors for the gospel. Pray that given our countrys current economic climate, the needed money will come in. Our God has accomplished much more with much less. With Him, all things are possible. Pray. SHARE Financially: Starting a church is never a small endeavor, but we believe God is calling us to this task. In particular, it will take significant funds to create the types of environments we believe will impact this technological, media-driven generation. Our primary need is for funding to enable us secure a central place for worship, training, discipleship and various other meetings. Our current budget for this is approximately $60,000 / year. We show the rest of our projected annual budget below:
ITEM Personnel Musicians Pastor's Salaries Communications 3 mailers with postage Signage / Web development Computers, software, printer, scanner, camera, camcorder Operations Facility Rental Ministry Start-up Cost (Kids, Small Groups, Youth Curriculum,A/V, Toys, etc) AV Equipment (Lighting, Screen, A/V Supplies) $5,000 $1,000 $1,000 $54,000 $10,000 $54,000 $2,000 $54,000 $2,000 $15,000 $4,500 $5,000 $15,000 $200 $1,000 $15,000 $200 $1,000 $15,000 $0 $15,000 $0 $15,000 $0 2011 2012 2013

Facility Improvement Bus Total Budget for First Year Strategy Already Committed Projected Giving for the year Internally Generated Funding (Still Needed) / Surplus

$15,000 $10,000 $133,500 $50,000 $33,500 $83,500 -$50,000

$2,000 $5,000 $95,200 $0 $60,000 $60,000 -$35,200

$2,000 $5,000 $95,200 $0 $100,000 $100,000 $4,800

Monthly Support: While we have already been blessed with a number of financial resources from current members and other partners, both churches and individuals, we need to raise at least an additional $4000 to $6000 per month in one, two, or three year commitments of monthly gifts to support our overhead rent, utilities, etc One Year Re-Launch Budget: As described previously, our one-time budget through to re-launch is $133,500. This includes technical and audio/visual equipment, administrative needs, marketing and communications, ministries development and location preparation. To date we have raised about $50,000 of that amount. We expect to raise approximately $33,500 through the course of 2011. This leaves us with a balance of about $50,000 to be raised from outside sources. We are hoping to find churches, individuals or groups who will agree to support for at least a year with anywhere from $200 a month to $1000 a month. We want to be a burning bush something out of the ordinary a place where people totally in love with God and radically dedicated to following Jesus in all things are lifting Him up for the world to see! No matter how large or how small, we dare you to dream with us on how your monthly support or one-time gift could impact the lives of many people who are far from God. Please prayerfully consider being a part of this effort financially. Your tax deductible gifts can be sent to the Grace Life Center - Re-Launch Fund at 4812 Silverbrook Way, Bowie, MD or via our website donate.gracelifecenter.com. Please make checks payable to "Grace Life Center and include the words "Grace Life Re-Launch in the memo. Also let us know if your donation is a one-time gift or an ongoing monthly commitment. JOIN the Launch Team: You may not live in our area and God may be nudging you to move and come join this work. You may have been disconnected from or hurt by your church ages ago and He may be calling you to get involved in a different kind of church. We are creating a new community of faith radical, out-of-the comfort zone, risky but certainly rewarding and transformational. The stakes are high, the risks are there but the reward will be glorious. Much needs to be done in the weeks and months ahead and we are gathering a core team of

individuals to join us in building this new enterprise for Jesus. You may simply just feel a nudge from God to work with us for the next 9 months and really try to get this off the ground. Whatever or however your are being led to participate, please contact us. We are looking for people who will serve sacrificially to see this vision fulfilled. Your involvement will be in at least four essential areas: SERVE | to serve in the various ministry teams and relaunch meetings planning the massive relaunch day. PARTICIPATE | to participate in Grace Life Transformation Groups (small groups) INVEST | to invest your life into those seeking for solutions only God can provide, both personally and through the Grace Life community impact and outreach events CONTRIBUTE | to contribute time, talent and resources TELL Everyone: Finally, the last item on the response card is TELL. You can help, by telling everyone you know of these crazy people who are starting a faith community for this generation in Central PG for those 20s, 30s and 40s who haven't found church to be relevant and essential to their lives a church for people who dont like church. Why should you be a part of this? If you genuinely care that Christianity or Churches may be growing but do not seem to be making any tangible difference in our world If you desire a place where you can team up with other imperfect humans to touch the lives of other imperfect humans - whose only credential to doing this is that they themselves have experienced the Unconditional Love of God If you believe that God has given you certain gifts and callings that, given the right context and environment, can make a difference in this world If you believe in the brotherhood of all believers and the priesthood of all believers that we all are called by God into ministry and that everyones ministry is equally relevant and important If you seek a place where Jesus ONLY and Jesus ALONE is lifted up as the Lord, as the one from whom we all derive nourishment - and no one man, woman, pastor, bishop or priest is in charge and above all If size of a congregation is not as important to you as the impact of the congregation.

Contact Information If you checked any of the boxes above - then we urge you to truly consider supporting Grace Life Center in any way you can. For more information including how you can get involved please reach us with the following contact details:

Okezie Ofoegbu 15320 Norwalk Ct., Bowie, MD 20716 EMAIL: okezieofoegbu@gmail.com Tel: 202.352.6018

Appendix

Appendix I - Why Another Church in DC Area


Whenever people are called upon to make significant sacrifices for the actualization of a project or a goal, it is impossible to avoid the existential question: Is the achievement of the goal worth the sacrifice required? Why should one give his or her time and resource for the actualization of this goal? Is this goal worth my while?

There are several ways anyone reading this strategy document would frame this question regarding the commitment, resources and sacrifices required to plant and re-launch Grace Life Center. These include: Why plant a new church in a community that seems already saturated with other churches, some of which are even growing? Why not focus instead on helping an existing church grow? Or in developing ministries that would focus on outreach? Will planting a new church not end up merely taking people away from other churches? Shouldnt we focus on cultivating better churches, rather than adding new ones? These are valid concerns that the Grace Life Center planting and re-launch team has spent quite a bit of time thinking upon and praying about. Through prayer and research, we have come to the conclusion that there exists a compelling need in our area for a new gospel-centered church made up of people whose lives, being transformed through an encounter with Gods amazing grace, are committed to loving and following Jesus as they seek change in the lives of people around them. Through practical ministries and outreach flowing from a thorough grasp There exists a compelling need in our area for a new gospelcentered church made up of people whose lives, transformed through an encounter with Gods amazing grace, are committed to loving and following Jesus as they seek change in the lives of people around them.

and understanding of the gospel of Christ (i.e. the message of Gods Unconditional Grace and Love to the WHOLE world), they will be compelling witnesses of the wonders of God through the power of the Holy Spirit and the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Covenant. There are several reasons why we are convinced of this:

1. Jesus fundamental call was to plant gospel-centered churches: In Matthew 28:18-20, we find what is known as the Jesus commission to his followers. A careful look at this commission would reveal that it is not just a call to make disciples but also to baptize them i.e. incorporate them into a worshipping community of believers. This is clear from the Acts of the Apostles and elsewhere, where we see the early Christians actively planting churches with accountability and boundaries in every town they took the gospel to. Why was this? Because only in such a community can decisions to accept Christ actually result in changed lives since many decisions are often not full conversions but the beginning of a journey of seeking God. Often, only people being evangelized in the context of an ongoing worshipping and shepherding community can be sure of finally coming into a vital, saving faith in Jesus. This is why C. Peter Wagner, a leading missiologist, can say planting new churches is the most effective evangelist methodology under heaven What is a gospel-centered church and how is it an appropriate description of the Grace Life Center church plant? Lets first start by saying that it is unfortunate that a distinction has to be made as to whether a church is gospel-centered or not as we believe that all churches ought to be gospel-centered. However, we have seen in history and in our generation how when something other than God is the primary goal, no matter how good that goal is, people will eventually start taking short cuts to get that goal accomplished, irrespective of Gods view. Thus a number of movements which began with a noble aspiration to help people change and grow, or a desire to reach out to people far from God or a desire to use influence to change the way things are done, eventually end up crowding out God and His gospel. Some of these movements include: Moralism using fear, rules, and commands as the basis for discouraging sin and encouraging holy living, which sadly results in increased self-righteousness among rule-keepers and absolute despair in those who are unable to live up. Pragmatism when in an effort to reach new people, church leaders spend more time teaching helpful techniques or useful principles than actually pointing people to the only thing that has real power to change both hearts and lives. ...authentic heart-transformation cannot happen apart from the gospel of grace therefore we will root and keep the focus of all our activities teaching, worship, outreach, social activism, and discipleship honed in on the gospel: that Gods riches is now available to all solely because of the sacrificial death of Jesus for sinners

Political agendas out of a desire to get involved in the public square and to influence policy, Christians of every political stripe often begin to equate the spread of the gospel with the growth of a specific political party or platform. Our goal in Grace Life Center is to be a part of that movement sweeping across Christendom calling churches back to being gospel-centered - that is to be a church that understands that change or transformation of any kind, especially authentic heart-transformation cannot happen apart from the gospel of grace. As a gospel-centered church, we will root and keep the focus of all our activity teaching, worship, outreach, social activism, and discipleship honed in on the gospel: the riches of the grace of God available to all because of the sacrificial death of Jesus for sinners. Because of this, at Grace Life Center we will be committed to: i. Reading & teaching the entire Bible in light of the gospel. ii. Preaching the gospel to believers, not just unbelievers that is calling both believers and unbelievers to a life of repentance from sin and dead works and of faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus. iii. Raising leaders who apply the gospel to themselves first our leaders are the first repenters. iv. Cultivating a leadership and culture marked by ever increasing gospel astonishment or amazement at the wonders of Gods grace. v. Being known for an atmosphere of grace - a place safe and welcoming to seekers, skeptics and those outside of the faith. A place of pardon without probation, acceptance without reservation, forgiveness without condemnation. vi. Producing people whose actions a flow truly out of a genuine and exuberant love of the person of Jesus Christ as a result of their growing understanding of the gospel of Gods grace. 2. More people are reached for Jesus through the presence of more gospel centered churches AND the newer the church, the more people it will reach: Research has shown that the more churches there are in an area that preach and practice the gospel, the more people there will be who are reached with the gospel. Dr. Tim Keller, founder and senior pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in NYC in his book Church Planting Manual says Dozens of studies confirm that the average new church gains most of its new members (60 80%) from the ranks of people who are not attending any worshipping body, while churches over 10-15 years of age gain 80%-90% of new members by transfer from other congregations(pg. 90). In other words, the more new churches that are planted, the more new people there will be who are reached with the gospel. If Kellers argument is correct, it means that if the majority of churches in any given area fall into the category

of churches over 10- 15 years old, then even if some of these churches are doubling in attendance, the number of active Christians or even just church goers will actually be shrinking! A demographic study of Grace Life Centers immediate ministry area obtained from the nationally acclaimed Percept Group (www.perceptgroup.com) reveals that this is exactly what is going on in our area! The Percept Group research shows that in the last 20 years, the population of our target area has grown from about 310,000 to over 357,000 in 20 years (1990 to 2010), a 15% growth. Over the same period, the number of people who identify themselves as affiliated with a church or religious organization has decreased from 48% (148,800) in 1990 to 30% (110,000) in 2010, a 26% decline! Furthermore, of the 110,000 who currently identify with a church, more than 65% affiliate with a mainline denomination (Catholics, United Methodists, Lutheran etc) and less than 20% with evangelical or Pentecostal /charismatic churches. What this shows us is that, assuming an aggressive 50% of people in mainline denominations have come to a saving faith in the Lord, at there are anywhere between 70% to 90% of the population or 250,000 to 320,000 unsaved people in our area. This is despite the fact that there are over 300 churches currently in our target area. The harvest truly is great! 3. A new church will best reach the un-churched and new people in the area than an older church: Research has shown that the average new church will bring in 6-8 times more new people into the life of the Body of Christ than an older congregation of the same size. Therefore, the only wide-scale way to bring in lots of new Christians from various generational, socio-cultural, and faith-view boundaries - to the Body of Christ in a permanent way is to plant new churches (Why Plant Churches, Dr. Tim Keller). Consequently, the Grace Life Center church plant will be well positioned to reach: a. A younger generation: because unlike long-established congregations with developed traditions (such as worship time, liturgy, length of service, sermon topics, emotional responsiveness, leadership style and a host of other customs all reflecting the sensibilities and idiosyncrasies of long-time leaders from older generations), our determination to touch our world will force us to continue to make change our only constant tradition thus giving us a chance to be able to attract the younger generation who are remarkable different from an older generation. b. New residents: new residents to our area who join us will immediately be empowered and placed in active ministry roles. This is will not be the case in older congregations were they could spend years before they are placed into any form of leadership role. Consequently, we believe that Grace Life Center would be a more attractive church to new residents in the area. c. New socio-cultural groups Since Grace Life Center is being planted by individuals who are mainly foreign immigrants to the US, Grace Life Center is uniquely poised to intentionally become a multi-

ethnic church from the start, receptive to the myriad needs of both the historical indigenous population and the newly arriving social groups. Above all, we feel that although our church plant may not be able to provide the many programs older churches can provide to their congregation, very few older churches will be able to match our effectiveness in simply reaching new people for the kingdom. In his book, Planting Reproducing Churches, Joel Comiskey states church plants need new people, new ideas and a new vision, if they are going to emerge out of the darkness into the sunlight. Established churches tend to be more concerned about building upkeep, the personality of the Therefore, being a new church, our primary focus would be on the needs of non-members... At Grace Life, we expect many of our leaders and workers to have recently come from the ranks of the un-churched, and so we will be far more sensitive to the concerns of the non-believer.

preacher, whos on the board, and the program schedule for the upcoming year Church plants are completely stripped of all illusions. Do or die! Reach out or close the doors. Invite or implode. Church plants are desperate for growth. Without growth the church folds. This reality keeps the church plants on its knees, crying out to God. Therefore, being a new church, our primary focus would be on the needs of nonmembers, unlike in established congregations where institutional pressures lead them to necessarily allocate most of their resources and energy toward the concerns of their members and constituents. At Grace Life, we expect many of our leaders and workers to have recently come from the ranks of the un-churched, and so we will be far more sensitive to the concerns of the non-believer. Our groups and ministries, filled with people fresh from the ranks of the un-churched will have the power to invite and attract many more non-believers into the events and life of the church than will the members of the typical established body. This particular point however raises the question of what happens when Grace Life Center grows and becomes an older congregation. The answer is pretty obvious to the Church planting team: Grace Life will be a church planting church. We intend to maintain our focus on reaching new people by replicating multiple daughter churches, not just in our area but around the world i.e. we plan to actively, and intentionally support the planting of gospel-centered churches by our members and leaders, not just in our immediate target area, but also in nearby communities, around our nation and to the ends of the earth. 4. There is a great need in our area: Underneath the scenic appearance of a serene and beautiful suburb of Washington DC and Baltimore, our ministry area is an area in desperate need of the hope and transformation that only the gospel can bring. We have already stated that chances are high that only just 10% of the nearly 357,000 people living in the area actually have a saving relationship with Jesus. This implies potentially over 300,000 people heading for a Christ-less grave and an eternity without God!

Beyond this, our study of the area has shown indeed a people with harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd(Matt. 9:36-38). Demographic data obtained from the Percept Group (www.perceptgroup.com) shows that close to 1 out of every 3 households in the area (~31%) are dealing with day-to-day financial worries, with nearly 1 out of 5 (~20%), currently in search of a better or more satisfying job or career. Nearly 32% of the households living on our ministry area are worried about neighborhood crime and safety, 18% higher than the average for all of America. This is on the back of 1 out of 10 people dealing with an abusive relationship, 1 out of 5 dealing with teen/child problems and almost 25% of the households worried about the quality of education their kids are getting. At the same time almost 1 in 5 people (19%) are dealing with racial or ethnic prejudice, in an area with fairly large proportion of minority races (>55%). Furthermore, full 36% of the adults in our area have never married, 32% higher than the national average and nearly 1 out of every 3 (32%) households with children under 18 are headed by a single female, 40% higher than the national average. All of these in an area with 40% more educated people and significantly higher income than the rest of the country. It is therefore clear, to anyone who bothers to look under the hood that underneath all the pomp and pageantry is a society desperately in need of that which the gospel of the Lord alone can provide. 5. We are responding to a call from God: Grace Life will be affiliated with the Charismatic Renewal Ministries, a ministry called by the Lord in 1980 to prepare men for global/universal in-gathering of Gods great harvest. The Grace Life Center church planting team clearly sense an invitation from God at this time to respond to Gods call. It is one thing to observe the need; it is a different thing all together to respond to the call to have the need met. We are mindful of Gods word in Ezekiel 22:29 30 The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none. We believe the Lord is calling us to be the man, from among the people, who will stand in the gap and bring the grace of the Lord to the land. We hear him call for a church, as he called in the days of Prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 6:8 Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? Yes indeed there are older and existing congregations with great teaching, great worship, great programs for families in our area at our last count there are almost 600 of them. But we see a need for something more, something unique, something different. We see the Lord seeking for a people who will show his transforming love, in words and in deeds, to the financially impoverished, to the outcast and stranger in the land and to the one morally, socially, and spiritually oppressed. We are responding to Gods call for a people who will not just shelter the homeless but also rehabilitate them until they become useful members of the community. We are responding to a call to be a church not just within the four walls of a building - but in the

city, in the community, in the schools, in the metro areas, in the market place bringing the message of Gods love to humanity by tangibly touching peoples lives through grace-based ministries. We are responding to call, not just to congregate people, but to prepare them, train them and equip them to become able ministers of the gospel of Gods grace in every nook and cranny of our target area. We are responding to a call to raise thousands of ministries that are changing lives, transforming nations, redeeming the world! It is often said that the way to know if something is worth while, we should ask who will feel the pain if this project, product or enterprise does not succeed? We hope that you can now see in your minds eye the over 300,000 men, women and children boys and girls, destined for an eternity without God the source of life if Grace Life does not succeed. We hope that you can see the neighborhoods all over the world, where filth, crime and sin will continue to hold sway over the people, because Grace Life failed. We hope that you see the younger generation, socio-cultural groups and hundreds of thousands of un-churched who will never know the grace of God because we failed and existing older congregations will never be able to reach them. We hope you can see the multitudes in the valley of decision (Joel 3:14) who will inevitable experience the consuming fire of Gods judgment and never experience the life transformation as a result of entering into a loving, living relationship Jesus in a community of graced believers. It is for all these people that we have decided to embark on this church plant project to plant and re-launch Grace Life Center as a new gospel-centered church made up of people whose lives, having been changed by the experience of Gods amazing grace, are committed loving and following Jesus in seeking change in the lives of people around them and through practical ministries and outreach flowing from a thorough understanding of the gospel of Christ (i.e. the message of Gods Unconditional Grace and Love to the WHOLE world) and the power of the Holy Spirit are compelling witnesses of Gods love to the world. This is why we are re-launching Grace Life Center as a new church plant in the Washington DC metro area.

Appendix II - Core Group / Eldership Leadership Model at Grace Life


The successful plant of Grace Life Center requires numerous individuals and groups working together towards the common vision. We are bound together by two main traits: A love for God that flows from knowing how much God has loved us in Jesus A love for our community that flows from knowing how much God has loved us in Jesus This implies that the common thread that binds us together is our experience of Gods love in Jesus. Consequently, we have recognized that Grace Life needs to be organized and structured in such a way that lifting up Jesus alone, enthroning him alone in the hearts of all, pointing all men to Jesus and his love for us alone can never be obscured. At Grace Life Center, we have therefore chosen to adopt the Core-group system of leadership (the leadership model of the Charismatic Renewal Ministries) and to implement it as closely as we possible can as described in the New Testament. To understand the implication of this, it is often helpful to describe the two common forms of church organization and contrast these with how we intend to be organized at Grace Life Center.

Pastor-in-charge model This is a fairly common model of church leadership is often referred to as the Episcopal leadership structure. This leadership structure is extremely practical and used quite a lot in organizations and businesses in the world. This model puts a guy called the Senior Pastor at the top of the organization where he oversees a bunch of elders/ deacons/ministers. Together they then oversee the church. This structure is very popular and common in among churches and denominations today. Here are some of the observations we have made about this model: 1. It is very simple and practical to implement, and given our nature as human beings, feels like the default way an organization should work.

2. It also appears to meet the biblical direction for a local church assembly to have elders appointed over them to oversee them 3. Just like in secular organizations where this structure is derived form, the Senior Pastor is seen as the boss and the Elders as supervisors underneath him. The Senior Pastor calls the shots and his team of elders pull the trigger. Given what we know about the depravity of human nature, soon enough this becomes a cult of personality. The church takes on the strengths and weaknesses of the Senior Pastor and no matter how godly or humble he is, it is hard to question the decisions he is making. After all, he is the boss! 4. Because the positions are created and qualified people sought to fill the position, the individuals who eventually become the Senior Pastor or Elders often qualify for the positions through a process of competing with their peers. In the eyes of their superiors or whoever appointed them into the roles, they achieved a higher standing as compared to others and that is why they were picked for this position. 5. Authority comes with the position the church having created the positions, vest the position with authority, irrespective of whoever finally gets the position. When the Senior Pastor walks in the door on the very first day he shows, he automatically has authority as the boss. 6. Finally, evaluation is on a quantitative basis i.e. the Senior Pastor or the Elders are evaluated on hard cold numbers how many baptisms, how many people are in your church, how much is your weekly offering etc. This is because since their jobs have been defined by the organization, the organization needs to find a way to measure how well they are doing thus the use of quantitative, measurable metrics. However, we have found that this structure, though with its merits, will not the best for enabling us achieve our goal to lift up Jesus alone or enthrone Jesus alone in the hearts of men for the following reasons: We will come back to describe why we feel this structure would not enable us achieve our mission but lets briefly look at the second common model of church structure People-in-charge Although this structure is no longer as commons as it used to be, it was one time the most dominant way churches in North America where organized. It is also known as the congregational structure. In this model, the congregation is in charge and they vote in a bunch of guys called the elders. The elders then oversee a guy called the Senior Pastor. Here are a few key points we observed about this structure:

1. This is the American democratic model, where the ultimate authority lies with the congregation. The elders and the pastor are really hired guns serving at the pleasure of the church in this model. 2. It appears to be in line with the biblical injunction that we are all brethren and every member of the congregation is a priest rather than a senior pastor and an group of elders. 3. It seems pretty straight-forward vox populi, vox dei the voice of the people is the voice of God. Everyone has a say but majority carries the day. However, effort is made to ensure that the rights of the minority are protected. 4. The congregation (a majority within the congregation or an influential minority) is the boss and the elders and Senior Pastor pander to the needs, desires and opinions of the congregation in order to keep their jobs. 5. The selection of elders or Senior pastors is via a process of competing with peers with the added element of politicking and electioneering in other to get the votes of the majority Again, it is easy to see why this model cannot help us achieve our mission to lift up Jesus only and enthrone him alone in the hearts of men not when we are trying to please the majority of the people or an influential minority. Rather at Grace Life Center, we have chosen to strive to adopt a more intricate, complex but biblical structure which we will call Serving Elders-in-charge model At Grace Life Center we still retain the basic elements of the structures we described above there is a church family, a group of elders (we call them the Core-Group at Grace Life) and there is a Senior Pastor. However, Jesus is our Senior Pastor. He is the boss. He is the one in charge and everyone reports directly to him. There is no intermediary, no mediator He is the mediator between God and men. Colossians 1:18 makes it very clear Christ is also the head of the church, which is his body Jesus is the boss. Everything we do is because of Jesus. He is ultimately the person leading this church and He it is who has given us a mission and gifted us uniquely to accomplish this mission. At Grace Life, the church family are members one of another there is no hierarchy, no ranking. Jesus is Lord over all it is before him we all stand or fall. We are all servants of the Lord; He it is who is our master. He is the only King in our lives. Membership of Grace Life center is a commitment to following Jesus and following Jesus alone. In Him and for Him we live and move and have our being. We live for Him and for our fellow brethren in the family of God. He has called us to follow Him and every member of the Grace Life Center church family will respond to that call and help one another to daily yield to the Lordship of Jesus. Therefore every member of Grace Life church commits to do 3 things every week as they Follow Jesus:

Celebrate God and His Love for Us being a member of Grace Life Center means responding to the amazing love of God by committing our lives to Jesus and lifting Him up above all else in your lives. It also means doing what we can to show this amazing love to the world around us. Therefore every member of Grace Life Center commits to participating and creating the most amazing place where God can be worshiped and helping seekers to see how wonderful the Lord is. Connect with one another being a member of Grace Life Center means committing to Follow Jesus in the area of deepening, their knowledge of God in the context of grace-based relationships. Thus every member of Grace Life center commits to completing the Grace Life Development Seminars and being a active member of a small group. Contribute being a member of Grace Life Center means committing to Follow Jesus in the area of contributing all our talents, time and resources to serve the world and the body of Christ. Thus every member of the Grace Life Center is involved in at least one ministry team Core-Group (Elders) @ Grace Life At Grace Life, elders known as the Core-group leaders, oversee the church family but do so from a perspective and model different from the congregation-in-charge or pastor-in-charge models described previously. The role of elders at Grace Life Center will not be to Lord it over their brethren but to serve the entire body, helping the family in its mission to celebrate, connect and contribute as the commit to following Jesus. The following distinguishing features will characterize the Core-Group leadership model at Grace Life: 1. Pastoral Leadership: Like in Acts 20:17, 28, the pastoral leadership of Grace Life Center will rest with a group of fellow believers that will be known as the Core-Group. What this means is that the Core-Group will be responsible for protecting, feeding, leading and meeting the practical needs of the church family in much the same way as a shepherd caring for his flock. This is in keeping with the New Testament where people (not a person) from the congregation (not from outside) are appointed to serve as elders (not as a pastor) for the churches. 2. Shared or Plural Leadership: Also, as in the NT, pastoral leadership and oversight of the church family rests with the group of elders the members of the core-group, not with a single individual assisted by a group or by the members of the core-group. Therefore, every member of the Grace Life Center Core-Group leadership is called, working in concert with fellow elders, to protect, feed, lead and meet the practical needs of the church family. Each member of the Core-Group shares equally the position, authority and responsibility of the Core-Group. Because the members of the core-group are also called out from the church

family where there is no hierarchy but all report to Jesus, there is also no hierarchy within the core group. There are different roles based on different giftings and callings of the individuals in the team of elders. 3. Leaders-among-Leaders: It is important to recognize that although members of the Core-Group are to act jointly as a council and share equal authority and responsibility for the leadership of the church family, they are not equal or the same in their giftedness, biblical knowledge, leadership ability, experience, or dedication. Therefore, those in the Core-Group who are particularly gifted leaders or teachers may naturally stand out and thus will be recognized by the members of the Core-Group as leaders and teachers within the leadership body or the Core-Group, making them first-among-equals or leaders-among-leaders. This will be how a coordinator of the core-group will be selected from the members of the Core-Group. This does not mean that leader-among-leaders does all the thinking or decision making for the group, or that they become pastors while the others are merely members of the core-group. Rather, it allows for functional, gift-based diversity within the Core-Group leadership again allowing us to create positions for people whom the Lord has already prepared and gifted. 4. Servant Leadership: At the heart of leadership at all levels at Grace Life Center will be the principle of servant leadership. Every leadership role in Grace Life requires one being a bondservant, a slave to his or her fellow brethren. It involves being last instead of being first. It is never based on how much you have achieved, it is not getting their first before others. It is by serving and by willing to be last. The Core-Group will lead the church family in being servants - serving others, rather than being served and in being last rather than being first. 5. Qualified Leadership: Consequently, membership of the Grace Life Center Core-Group (and any leadership role for that matter) shall be as a result of the church family recognizing the spiritual gifts of the individual and the extent to which their faith and commitment to following the Lord has led them to serve the body using those gifts. People are not prepared for positions; rather the positions are prepared for the people. God has already prepared his people; all we do is place them in the positions that suites how God has prepared them. So our leaders and elders are qualified on the basis of spiritual gifts and faith (their exercise of these gifts). There will be not competition for positions since it is the Spirit that not only gifts people but gives them the ability to use those gifts as He wills. All the church family will do will be to recognize the gifts the Lord has given and willingly submit to that individual by creating the position that will allow the one so gifted to lead in that area. Thus the authority to lead is given to the leader by the church family through the recognition of that which the Spirit has already done. Put another way, authority is given to individuals by the church family through the election of God. 6. Spirit-given motivation: The bible says that eldership should be given only to those who desire the work of an elder not the fame, power or fortune of an elder. Members of Grace Life Center Core-Group will be

people who already have a deep desire for and a fully committed to seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, people who are presenting themselves as a sacrifice to God, people who view themselves as slaves of Jesus and who seek to love Jesus above all else, just as Jesus has loved them above all else. This is who they are BEFORE they are recognized by the church family. They are people who do not need a position to be given to them in order to serve. Where Will Grace Life Core-Group members (and other leaders) come from? They will come from within the church family. As we prepare to re-launch Grace Life Center, we will trust the Lord to add to our Church family and to enable us identify people whom the Lord has picked for the job of leadership in Grace Life through the gift and call of God on their lives. Why this model? While this model of church leadership and structure is simple, we recognize that it is not easy. Our natural human proclivity is for either the pastor-in-charge or congregation-in-charge model where we can an individual or a group of individuals can control things. However, we firmly believe that given it will take the Jesus-In-Charge model for our God-given mission and vision at Grace Life Center to be accomplished. This is because we recognize that, indeed, unless the Lord himself who gives the vision is in control, the vision cannot be accomplished. Furthermore, we will strive to yield to the Lord in this way because: 1. It will enable us promote the New Testament church model which presents the church as a family of closelyknit brothers and sisters, grace-based relationship through which life-transformation and subsequently world transformation, can take place 2. It promotes the priesthood and kingship of all believers: under the gospel, the new covenant ratified by the precious blood of Jesus, every member of the church of Jesus Christ is a holy saint, a royal priest with complete full access to the holiest place of God. By recognizing those whom God has elected to lead in specific areas through the diversity of gifts He gave them, we are indeed allowing the Lord full leadership of his own people. 3. Shared leadership provides the ideal structure where love, humility and servanthood are paramount. In order to function effectively, the Grace Life Core-Group members must learn to show mutual regard for one another, submit themselves to one another, patiently wait upon one another, genuinely consider one anothers interests and perspectives, and defer to one another. This will help enhance brotherly love, humility, mutuality, patience and loving interdependence qualities that are to mark our church family as a servat church of Jesus.

4. However, we also expect shared leadership to challenge our Christian faith and character. We expect it to expose our impatience with one another, our stubborn pride, our bull headedness, our selfish immaturity, our domineering disposition, our lack of love and understanding for one another and our prayerlessness. Being a charismatic church, we expect this leadership structure to expose our eagerness to develop and display our knowledge and public gifts rather than mature in love and humility. All of these, should help keep us humble and continue to drive us to seek a greater operation of Gods grace in our lives. 5. Leadership accountability: the core-group leadership at Grace Life will help provide the necessary accountability and balance required to keep our spiritual leaders from the corruption that easily plagues people in authority and power. Recognizing our deparavity as humans, we expect the collegial, plural and shared leadership of the Grace Life Core Group to provide our leaders with the needed restraint from sins that easily beset those in position of power such as pride, greed and playing god. It will also provide peerto-peer accountability for the mission and vision God has given us at Grace Life Center. 6. Lifiting Up Jesus and Jesus Only: Above all else, we believe that this model of leadership would best enable us achieve our goal to promote the preeminence Jesus above all else.