Grace, Grace, and Grace

by New Church Starts

by Doug Ruffle, Congregational Development Team Coordinator, Greater New Jersey Annual Conference (and Path 1 Team Northeastern Jurisdiction Representative)

Real Estate brokers always emphasize that the value of a given property depends on location, location, and location. For new church starts, the application of Wesleyan/Methodist theology could be rendered: grace, grace, and grace. Wesley’s theology of grace was the engine that drove the Methodist movement of 18th century England. The Good News or Gospel, which we may take for granted today, sounded like very Good News back then:

That God values each and every person. God’s grace works in each person even before they are aware (prevenient grace, or the grace that comes before). God instills in a person the desire and the voluntary will to respond to God’s love (justifying grace), which manifests in a sense of assurance of one’s salvation. Then God continues to work with the believer and the believer’s community of faith so that ongoing personal growth continues throughout his or her life (sanctifying grace).

Wesley said that God’s desire for humankind was that we be happy. God’s demand for humankind is that we be holy. The holiness of which Wesley talked was the ongoing search for wholeness in life that brings balance. 

New Church planters in this Wesleyan/Methodist tradition would be wise to remember that today as in Wesley’s day it is all about grace, grace, and grace.

Time for some old school preaching! How do you think churches can stay “graceful” in their ministry?