It was a great encouragement yesterday to worship with the people of Grace Community Church in London, ON. I was there to do pulpit supply for their pastor, Greg McManus, who is a good friend of mine. I hadn’t been to Grace since I last preached there in August ’08.
Greg has been the pastor for only a few years. When he first arrived the congregation had about twelve people. The worship team consisted of singing along to a stereo (they sang Third Day when I went to one of his first services). But slowly the Lord has blessed. While my wife, sister-in-law and I were there a number of things struck us about how Grace is growing.
The numbers have steadily grown, and while not huge, there were about thirty people there. It was enough to stretch across the auditorium in a way that didn’t make the church feel empty.
When we first arrived, a middle aged woman greeted us who was very excited about the church and what she had been learning over the years (she even remembered my sermon from last year!). Grace runs The John Owen Study Centre, and she has been taking Hebrew through it. She is now in her second year and claims, “She loves translating Hebrew” (!).
The musical accompaniment for the worship has grown as well. Now, instead of singing to a CD, they have a girl in her early thirties playing piano and my friend Scott (who I’ll mention in a minute) playing guitar. The musical choices reflected a healthy blend of contemporary and traditional music. And as Jim, one of the elders, commented, it was great to hear everyone singing so loudly and with such gusto.
Grace celebrates communion weekly and have a separate morning service for it. Scott Vanderform, one of the early twelve, preached. Scott is about my age and has done some courses at TBS. When I first met him he knew little about theology or ministry. But when he preached yesterday I was floored by how seasoned he seemed. His sermon was well structured, handled the text (1 Tim. 2) beautifully, great extemporaneous delivery, solid gospel call, and he displayed great comfort with theology and the bible. I don’t know if I was more encouraged by his sermon or by the obvious growth he showed.
One final aspect of Grace’s service that was evident was the fellowship. Although a lot of the younger, university aged guys were fairly new to the church, there was a real sense of family amongst all of the people. Whether it was seniors, men, women, younger folk and even kids, you could tell that they loved one another. I think seeing that was what did my heart the most good.
So, if you’re in London and are looking for a good church family that preaches the gospel, loves the Lord and his people and is seeking his glory, then check out Grace Community Church. Tell ’em Ian sent ya.