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Grace Anglican Church, Lubbock, TX, on a “Mission from God”

Grace Anglican Church is an Anglican church plant, started by Christ Church Midland, TX, and is a member of the Anglican Church of North America and the Anglican Fellowship of the Southwest, a grouping of Anglican churches in Texas and New Mexico.

Grace Anglican Church’s worship leader, The Rev. Craig Brown, describes the remarkable work this tiny church plant has accomplished in just one year and where they believe God is taking them in the year ahead.

Take Me For A Ride

God took us on quite a journey in 2011. We started the year as a small group worshiping in the Anglican way, but with no clear sense of what else God might have in mind for us. Was that the full extent of our purpose, the only reason God had called Grace Anglican into existence? We did not know. But we were willing to listen.

Early in the year, I began to work with Fr. Tom Herrick, a church planting coach. Fr. Tom came to Lubbock and led us through an intensive “Church Plant Boot Camp”, designed to help us discover the identity and work God had for us. You know the saying – “be careful what you pray for, you just might get it.” God showed us that He had a big plan for us – far bigger than we could have imagined on our own. He was calling us to become a community of missionaries to the most broken people of Lubbock, a call that would require us to commit fully to a life of hard-core discipleship and hard-core ministry. He was calling us not to hide behind the walls of a sanctuary, but to dive in, to go right into the heart of Lubbock’s dark side, and bring Christ’s light – especially to children, so that God could raise up a new generation of men and women after His own heart.

We’re On A Mission From God

So, we began our work. Since the summer, we have:

• Adopted a neighborhood in one of the hardest-hit areas of the city. One of our members has bought a home there and moved in, and we are holding worship services there on Sundays. We have engaged in prayer ministry throughout the neighborhood, offering prayer to anyone who desires it.

• Taken two deeply broken families into our fold, befriending them, providing for housing and other material needs, joining them in the midst of numerous crises, and opening the way for God to transform their lives.

• Started a Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) in the neighborhood’s middle school, which is also the roughest middle school in the city. This gives us the opportunity to connect with the very youth that are being recruited into gangs, drugs, and all sorts of other destructive behaviors. With nearly 33% of the school taking part in the club, it is the largest FCA in Lubbock.

• Involved ourselves in the neighborhood’s elementary school, investing time weekly with children in multiple classes, again with the goal of building trusting, meaningful relationships that can open doors into broken homes.

• Embedded ourselves in the Lubbock County Detention Center, teaching classes and reaching out to the inmates there, many of whom have helped create the destruction in the neighborhood to which we are called.

• Built connections with individuals and service providers (from hospitals, police, and government officials to concerned citizens, activists, and other churches) that are already involved in the community to which we are called, with an eye for coordinating our efforts.

• Engaged in intensive discipleship, with the realization that we live and minister not through our own strength, but through the strength of the One Who lives within us (Eph 3:20).

• Worked to develop an internal organizational structure that can fully support the kind of life and ministry to which we are called, including developing a leadership culture that thinks, decides, and acts based on intensive prayer; and developing a “rule of life” suitable to a community of missionaries.

Onward and Upward

If last year was busy, this year looks to be even busier, as we move out from here and go to the next level. In 2012, we are:

• Entering “phase 2” with the FCA, moving the large group into small groups and engaging in an eight-week discipleship program, focusing particularly in leadership formation, preparing them for mission in their neighborhood and in the world (we are planning an overseas mission trip this summer), developing a special “FCA Church” for those students who do not have a church home, and building relationships with the students’ parents.

• Seeking to develop a team of men from across Lubbock who will strategically target the men of the community to which we are called, with the goal of redeeming the radically broken masculinity that is evident there. To make this possible, we are working with the leadership of Marked Men For Christ, a powerful and catalytic international men’s ministry, to establish that ministry here.

• Seeking opportunities to connect with the vibrant college community here, recognizing that college students can be particularly powerful missionaries when God takes hold of their hearts.

• Engaging in deeper discipleship practices, further developing a life of prayer, meditation, scripture study, spiritual formation, and accountable relationships with one another.

To Wrap Up

This is an exciting ministry, and an exciting season in this ministry. God has called, we have committed, and an amazing journey has begun. We are coming to know the heart of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit as never before. And “going to church” has never been more meaningful. Our challenges are two-fold. First, we have more opportunities than we have people. We are hoping that in this next year we will connect with more and more people who desire to grow deeply in discipleship and mission, and who will join us in community. As we grow, we will be able to be more and more impactful in the lives of the people to whom we are called.

Your help through prayer, finances, or other means is much appreciated. If you would like more information about how to help Grace Anglican Church continue God’s work in its community, please contact Fr. Craig Brown at {encode=”craighbrown2002@yahoo.com ” title=”craighbrown2002@yahoo.com “}or (806) 283-6523.

For more information on Grace Anglican Church, visit www.graceanglicanchurch.org

Photo caption: Fr. Craig Brown (right) speaks to young members of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

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