February 2011


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Membership Matters


Let’s face it, we need each other!

Why do the New Orleans Saints all wear the same uniform?  To identify that they are all on the same team.  Why do married people wear wedding rings?  To symbolize their commitment to a partner.  Why do we Christians get baptized?  To go public with our faith in Jesus Christ.

In the same way, church membership identifies your willingness to formally and publicly align with the mission, values, and beliefs of The Grove Church.

There are many reasons for having formal membership.
Here are a few…

Formal membership is valuable to the leaders of the church as they guide the church body.  Our mission here at The Grove Church is “to connect people to God, to others, and to service.”  We have been left on earth by God to reach unbelievers.  So at some point it is important to identify those who truly comprise the “family” at TGC, the core that can be counted on to build and sustain the ministries of this church.

Accountability.  While it is true that everyone can participate in just about anything around here, there are certain leadership responsibilities that are reserved for those who have made themselves accountable to the church through membership.  Even if you are not ready to become a leader yourself, you may be relived to know that those members in leadership positions have agreed through membership to support this ministry and to be held accountable.

Even though you will not find the term “church member” in Scripture, it seems that the concept of belonging is found throughout the New Testament.  Believers clearly identified themselves with a specific local body and were challenged to become devoted participants.

Experience shows that membership benefits the individual.  In a culture where commitment is no longer highly valued, recognizable membership is an important step that moves each of us off the sidelines and into the game.  It is letting the church leadership know, “You can count on me.”  Members typically feel more ownership in the church.  They feel like shareholders rather than spectators.  They usually find it easier to connect with others and build lasting relationships

So, while you won’t receive an engraved plaque or a reserved parking spot when you become a member, you will draw great satisfaction from knowing that you are a part of something bigger than yourself, something eternal.  We want you to partner with us in reaching our world for Jesus Christ.

Over the next few weeks, you will have the opportunity to mark on your Connection Card, “I would like to join The Grove Church.”  I encourage you to commit to membership as early as possible. God bless!

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The State of the Church

Greg Johnston - Lead PastorHere we are already starting the second month of 2011! Although it seems much longer, it has only been one and a half years since The Grove Church had its first preview service, and one year and four months since we officially launched as a church. During that time, we have made some great strides and have seen some steady growth and progress as a church. Let me share some of those good things with you.
God miraculously supplied us with a great facility, and we had our first preview service on June 28, 2009, in the former theater in Turtle Creek Mall. At that time we had only 12 people who were a part of this new church plant (nine of which are members). However, with the help of many outside volunteers from two of my former churches, we were able to get off the ground and begin meeting. We officially launched as a church on September 27, 2009. For the first year of our existence, we were only able to offer Sunday morning worship and a Bible study/Prayer time and College/Career on Wednesdays.
Starting in September 2010, we implemented a Sunday morning Bible study at the church prior to our worship service. We call these small groups, Grove Groups. Presently we have six groups meeting including the children and preschool/nursery. Our plans are to start several more new Grove Groups during 2011 as God continues to enlarge our leadership base. As of February 2, 2011, we offer a program for all age groups from birth – adults on Wednesday nights. A ladies Bible study/luncheon has also begun and meets once a week at 11:30 am in our lobby.
The following statistics might be of interest to you pertaining to what God has done in the life of The Grove Church as of the end of January 2011.
1. We started the church with only nine (9) members the last Sunday in June 2009, and our membership is now at thirty-five (35) members. We generally offer a new member class every 2-3 months for those who are interested in joining.
2. Our average worship attendance for the last seven months is sixty-eight (68) people in attendance. That number represents a 28% increase over the same time period of the previous year.
3. We have 99 people on roll for our Grove Group Bible study (Sunday School), and we are averaging 38 in weekly atten-dance.
4. The best news of all is that we have seen twenty-one (21) people saved and baptized in the first year and a half of The Grove Church’s existence. That does not include the numbers of people who had been out of church for years, but have now become active in their attendance.
5. The Grove Church will conduct its first international mission trip to build a church in Brazil, June 2-11. The ladies and teenagers will be conducting a mission VBS while the men build the church. We have around 15 from TGC that are planning to participate, 2 others are former members of mine at Escatawpa Baptist Church, and 8 others from Kentucky are joining up with our group. We will be constructing a church building for a new church in the small town of Coconut Beach, Piaui, Brazil.
We are seeking donations to help defray the construction cost for the new church building in Brazil; or perhaps you would like to help sponsor one of the volunteers. If so, you can send your donation made out to The Grove Church, 1000 Turtle Creek Dr., Ste A5, Hattiesburg, MS 39402-1155. I really don’t enjoy making appeals for support, but as a young church our financial resources are limited and some of our volunteers have limited resources as well. However, in spite of our limitations, I believe that God wants us to develop a culture in this new church of participating in Kingdom growth through mission involvement, and that is what we intend to do. I do know that God will supply our needs according to His riches in glory! If He wants you to be a part of meeting those needs, you will be blessed as you obey.
Thank you for all the prayers and support each of you have given to The Grove Church and staff since the conception of the vision for the church in our hearts. Many of you have prayed for us and supported us since July of 2008. God is answering your prayers in a fantastic way! Please, please, don’t stop praying! There is so much to do, and so little time to do it before Jesus comes. Souls are hanging in the balance between heaven and hell. Collectively, our prayers can tip the balance

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