Big news, Grace: Circle Community Church, the church right next door to our Orlando campus, recently voted to join our church and to gift us their adjacent property and building.

Watch the video below to see how this amazing gift from God and from Circle came about, read some answers to common questions below, and then join me in thanking God for His incredible goodness to the people of Grace. 

We’re amazed at His favor on our people and our mission.

Frequently Asked Questions

How did this all come about?

In early 2022, Circle elders realized that they needed to make some difficult decisions. They faced a lack of financial resources, but even more so, they lacked people to execute ministry well. After months of prayer, the elders at Circle decided they wanted to join with another church. In their own words, from a document they gave their church:

Missionally, the question the (Circle) elders kept coming back to was: Could we better fulfill our mission and vision together with another church or separately? We are eager to serve as God’s instruments, displaying His glory and making disciples. Why wouldn’t we want to join up with a like-minded church where God is working? We see partnering with another church as freeing us to serve God more fully.

Was Grace a part of this process? How long have we known?

This decision was entirely initiated by Circle and processed by the people of Circle; it was a total surprise to us. Pastor Nathan Fowler first told Pastor Mike in early May 2022 that the elders were considering this move – just two months ago. The announcement was made to Circle’s congregation on the first Sunday of June; we first told our staff that week.Circle held a few meetings, and most of the church members came to a Grace service and to a Q&A session with our leaders on June 18, 2022. Circle voted by a large majority to become a part of Grace on Sunday, June 26, 2022.

Why did Circle decide to become a part of Grace?

Again, in their own words:

Theologically, a merger demonstrates the unity of the body of Christ. It is the opposite of a church split — we can be a beacon of hope in our community!

Our motivation is not maintaining the status quo or protecting what’s “ours,” but seeking first the Kingdom. This openhanded humility is pleasing in God’s sight.

Grace’s Orlando campus is our next-door neighbor! We approached them; they did not approach us.

Theologically, we are a good fit. Circle is stagnant or declining; Grace is growing. We have struggled to make Christianity accessible for new and not-yet believers; Grace helps people take their next steps toward Christ. Grace needs more space; we need an infusion of positive momentum.

Will the people of Circle begin to attend Grace?

Many of them will and have already begun! Many families from Circle are also connected to families at Grace — their children, grandchildren, and friends attend our church. Some will find other local churches to join. Either way, we have found that they are all generous people who want to see God’s kingdom advance and His will done in the Church in this city.

What will Grace do with Circle’s property? Is there any cost to us?

Circle comes with a humbling free gift of 6 acres of property that adjoins our Orlando campus, including a 20,000+ square foot building.

There is no debt on the property and no cost to us other than the legal transfer of the property (which we’re currently still in the process of executing) and future ongoing operating expenses. We are astounded at God’s grace to us in this way and at the humility and generosity of Circle’s leaders and people.

This news is almost as new to us as it is to you! We are so grateful, but also absorbing this news along with you. So, we haven’t fully decided on a use for the property but are praying and asking God to show us the best next steps. We’ll let you know as soon as we decide what they are.

The building is in good condition and gives us much potential to help more people take their next steps toward Christ.

Pray with us — and thank God for this incredible gift! What incredible evidence of His grace and presence with our church, and what evidence of His glory and goodness that we can display to our city.

Will this change any other priorities we have for the other campuses? The search for an Oviedo building? The Winter Garden move?

Not one bit. Those projects are still at the top of our list. In fact, this has encouraged us that God is still working miracles and can do anything with these dreams if we are obedient to Him and to the mission of the gospel. Good is ahead!