Comfortable. Family. Bible-based. Welcoming. Friendly. Home.

These are all words that have been used to describe Grace through the years. Words that represent a culture we are consistently trying to build and create. Grace has always been known as having a strong culture. It’s the reason so many people walk through the doors and immediately realize they’ve found a church that is ‘right’ for them.

It’s one of the things we hear most often in a variety of ways: “I love the way this place feels!” “As soon as I walked through the doors, I knew I belonged.” “We had planned on visiting several other churches, but after our first Sunday at Grace, we stopped looking.”

As we continue to help more and more people take their next step toward Christ, to reproduce ourselves through campuses and Grace Communities, it is important that we preserve the core elements that make Grace unique. So early this year, the staff and leadership team began the work of defining the culture of Grace so we could continue to ensure we are effectively replicating the things we love about our church.

The process began as staff from all campuses came together for brainstorming sessions. Guided by the book, Culture Wins, by William Vanderbloemen, we set out to answer two questions:

  • Who are we as a staff and church when we are functioning at our very best?
  • What do we do that’s common to our church but uncommon in other churches?

The process was fun — full of people not only offering descriptions of Grace, but also of stories of how they have seen the culture of the church shaped through the years, remembering lives that have been transformed, and snapshots of people living out the mission of helping people take their next step toward Christ.

After hearing from the staff, we emailed some of the people that have been attending Grace the longest and asked them the question:

When you think of Grace and the unique culture of the church, what words immediately come to mind?

Their words echoed those of the staff and reminded us of the unity we have as a church where we are all celebrating similar traits and stories. Over the course of a few months we went from a blank white board to scores of words all describing some aspect of Grace.

Then we took on the task of condensing and simplifying more than one hundred concepts and ideas into succinct statements that could be remembered and repeated — statements that truly define how we think, operate, and behave as a church — that celebrate the unique way Grace approaches the mission of helping people take their next steps toward Christ.

This House Rules issue focuses on these statements from a variety of perspectives. These statements will guide us into the future as we seek to continually remain true to the mission of the church and the neighborhoods we are called to reach.

We hope they are helpful to you as well.

Grace-Centered Truth

We challenge people to be their best and love them at their worst.

Modern Liturgy

We build history into modern services because we are called to carry an ancient faith into the future.

Biblical Maturity

We expect to grow. We teach through the Bible verse-by-verse because it is the best way to know the Bible, and the Bible is the best way to know Jesus.

Radical Hospitality

We go the extra mile to care for others because people’s stories matter.

Extraordinary Servanthood

We serve sacrificially, giving up things we love for the people we love even more.

Wow-Making Excellence

We honor God and inspire people with our very best work.

Big-Hearted Generosity

We prioritize giving to God’s work over protecting ourselves.

Constant Innovation

To reach people who are far from God, we hold a loose grip on our methods and a tight grip on our beliefs.

Simple Steps

Everyone has a next step, and we make it easy to find yours.

Genuine Family

Grace frees us from performance and lets us live unafraid.

Contagious Fun

We enjoy our work and each other.