From the Old Testament to the New Testament (e.g. Ps. 133 and Eph. 4:1-16), the Scriptures emphasize how good and pleasant it is when brothers and sisters dwell together in gospel-grounded unity . Truly, one of the greatest gifts that God has given to His people is one another. One can think of the Apostle Paul’s many ministry partners such as Luke, Timothy , Barnabus, Silas, Epaphroditus, and Titus. In fact, the state of Paul’s spirit and his travel plans were affected by his desire to be with his brothers (II Cor. 2: 13). One can think also of examples in church history wherein personal friendships shaped history, such as that of the common preacher (and author of Pilgrim’s Progress) John Bunyan and the master theologian John Owen. In fact, the gift that God has given in the personal and familial friendships within the church may be second only to the gift of Himself.
Four years ago, God formed a deep friendship between the Wassell and Knott families. From the start, we desired to partner together for the gospel (Phil. 1:5), specifically in magnifying God through the local church. Over the years, this has taken various forms, including leading home group and prayer groups together. All through this time, we discussed and dreamed together about one day planting a church together – a longing that is now being brought to fruition. Our desire has grown to participate in the mission God has called us to (Matt. 28:18-20) not only as “senders” but also as “goers” (Lu. 10:2), planting a new church where the glory of God can be displayed.
Gospel-grounded friendship and unity necessarily propel their participants to gather others into its fellowship. Gospel-grounded love is inherently inclusive and replicating. This truth is grounded in the very character of God – the eternal love within the Trinity was unparalleled, yet Creation and the Cross display the lengths to which God has gone (and will go) to gather others into this loving unity. Redeeming Grace Church is a further manifestation of this reality. It is our genuine desire to use our life experiences and the gifts that God has given us and be used by him in our Lakewood community . We have brainstormed about Bible studies in our homes, outreach to school age children and families through homework clubs, sports camps, Christmas caroling, hosting dinners, among others. Whether these things come to pass or others we have never thought of, we simply want to offer our lives as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1,2).