First Members at Grace Church Philly

Last night, after one and a half years of gathering for worship, Grace Church welcomed its first members. About twenty people affirmed vows concerning their beliefs and commitments. Others, who were absent or due to an absent spouse, will be welcomed next week. Urban church planting is slow work. Some may find it surprising that it would take so long to constitute church membership. But we were in no rush to have members simply to have names on a list and apart from the original leadership team we did not have a core group to start the church. In fact our original leadership team no longer exists. That’s a story in itself.



There were five original families who came together to plant a church in West Philly. My brother John and I had talked and prayed about the idea of urban church planning, moved into the city with our wives, and had three other men and their families commit to help in the church plant. One man and his wife decided early on that they didn’t want to leave the church where they had been for decades. The two other men and their families are also gone (but not for bad reasons). One man is preparing to plant a church in the suburbs. The other one is helping launch a church plant in Camden, NJ closer to where he lives. Last night we said goodbye to the Leone family as they serve in Camden (on loan in my mind).



However God has raised up other men and we have three new elders who have joined the leadership team along with several interns who sit in on leadership meetings. Church planting has lots of surprises, its share of disappointments, and yet innumerable blessings. Among those who became members last night there were two inter-racial couples (with another one joining next week), a Drexel University professor, an FBI agent (with an ex-con joining next week), and others which add to the diversity we enjoy. We thank God for what He is doing in the city and look for others to join us in this great undertaking.

One Response to “First Members at Grace Church Philly”

  1. Awesome, Steve!  So glad to see  you take this next step in establishing the church there.  I rarely get to Philly, but if I ever do — I consider Grace Church a "must stop" for me.

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