By the grace of God, we are beginning the 7th year of reform at Grace Community Church, Long Beach (GCCLB). Our Savior said He will build His church and the gates of hell will not prevail against His church (Matthew 16:18b). This is a promise that we can always be confident in.
But where are we now? What progress have we made? And where will we go from here?
To help answer those questions, let us look at this local fellowship’s history: Grace Community Church was founded in 1975, with its first service held in Seal Beach, at the home of Jack Ostermann, the founding pastor, on October 12th of that year.
Then for two years, from January of 1976 through April of 1978, services were held at Los Alamitos High, the same city we are currently holding our weekly services. What is special about that time was the commitment made on the part of about 50 people, who raised finances to buy property in the city of Cypress.
GCCLB’s first service in Cypress was April of 1978, then in 1992, the congregation moved to Long Beach. Now we are almost full circle, back in the Los Alamitos area, with the goal of knowing Christ and making Him known wherever the Lord places us.
But there have been some significant changes along the way. In 2014, GCCLB partnered with Grace Advance’s vision of assisting with church plants or church revitalizations, by installing Seymour Helligar as the teaching pastor and leading catalyst for making the necessary reforms. When he arrived, there were less than 20 people in attendance. The vision was simple: preach Christ and call His disciples to obey Christ in every sphere of life. One of Pastor Seymour’s goals is to stress the implications of the text on the hearts of God’s people, moving beyond interpretation, to the Scripture’s intent of corporate and personal application.
Where are we now? Has any progress been made?
We do know that only in the future glory will we truly know the depth of true gospel preaching’s accomplishment, but there are several milestones the Lord has blessed us to obtain.
Because our God is supremely worthy of our best in every way, GCCLB strives to do all things well for the Master and King, the Lord Jesus Christ. With social media becoming a mainstay for communication, this ministry has grown from its original beginnings to producing a quality website that is accessible to the world with the message of God’s Son. Locally, it is easier now for anyone searching for a church to find GCCLB. The motivation behind this is simple: using every means given to the church to let others know where we are and that we are unashamed of the gospel.
There are other ongoing reforms that we are working on to build the church for whatever future God has for us:
Disciple-making leadership—men determined to lead others to follow Christ (2 Timothy 2:2).
Doctrine-driven deacons who are committed to serving the elders.
Discipleship-determined members who are growing in their knowledge of Christ and their ability to articulate this knowledge to others.
How are we doing?
Establishing leadership is still a work in progress. This year, 2020, faithful men will be given the task of teaching, and from there we will develop leaders who will train others how to follow Christ. Since deacons will assist elders, it would be best to have elders in place first.
In 2019, we launched our disciple initiative, beginning with the Partner’s 1on1 manual. We will continue to emphasize the value of this process by offering more training classes. In 2020, we began to teach biblical counseling to members we think are ready to counsel the local church. In the pastor’s six years of ministry, second to preaching, biblical counseling has been the greater need.
Next month, we plan to take a closer look at a few of our other spiritual and physical needs, some of the challenges we face as a local body and how we intend to meet them with confidence in the Lord.
Until He comes, let us all be found faithful in life and service to our supremely worthy Savior and King, the Lord Jesus Christ!