Making Disciples

A Church Where Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

How can something be ordinary and extraordinary at the same time? The short answer is where God and His revealed Word are acknowledged as sovereign. Most people expect to encounter awesome, spectacular things in their churches from week to week–but does spectacular necessarily mean:

  • A top-notch praise band?
  • A cool, “relevant” preacher?
  • A large auditorium with loud music, flashing lights, smoke and swaying worshipers with hands lifted high?
  • Tongues of spiritual fire bursting forth from the people?
  • Open, accepting, but non-doctrinal small groups?
  • An incredible youth ministry with exciting events and programs?
The Word of God—read, preached, prayed and sung—is more extraordinary than any performance of man. (Photo By Lauren Bryan on Unsplash)

If these things are helping you grow in discipleship, fine and well. But there is another way to encounter the truly awesome and spectacular things you seek as a Christian. This way is by the ordinary means of grace in the church. What are these ordinary means of grace?

  • The public reading and preaching of the Word of Truth, the Bible; even those books and passages that tend to make us uncomfortable.
  • The confirming, sanctifying and assuring work of the sacraments of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, scripturally and publicly administered.
  • An emphasis on a life of prayer, expressed individually, in families and corporately within the congregation.
The sanctuary—a place set apart from the world where God’s Word is preached, read, sung and prayed—and we draw near to Him in the unity of Christ. (Photo by Yiran Ding on Unsplash)

What’s so spectacular about these things, you might ask. Where’s the excitement in them that gives you a real high as you depart to another week in the world? Well, the spectacular is everywhere within the ordinary means of grace, such as:

  • To escape just for a little while from the sounds, clamor, distractions and temptations of modern life and culture.
  • To call us into a quiet place to hear God’s message and bless us both individually and as a body of believers.
  • To hear the call of the Holy Spirit to worship, together in spirit with the saints who lived before us and are now in glory.
  • To experience the willingness by God to accept our confessions and repentance in Christ and draw near to us.
  • To remember God’s eternal covenants with us and his mighty, miraculous deeds throughout history.
  • To be reminded of God’s steadfast mercy and loving-kindness in the midst of our sin and rebellion.
  • To appreciate God’s incredible love for fallen man such that He would come to earth in human flesh; Jesus Christ, Emanuel, the God/man, who conquers both sin and death as a sacrifice in our place.
  • To experience His incredible love that unites us eternally in Christ and makes it possible to draw near to him in love, and with love for our brothers and sisters.
God’s mighty acts, steadfast love, covenants made and kept on our behalf—when we remember and giving thanks for these blessings, joy marks our worship and our fellowship. (Photo by Zoltan Tasi on Unsplash)

Isn’t this grace pretty extraordinary and awesome? Even the most newly devised, fantastic actions and performances of people pale in comparison, wouldn’t you agree?

When we participate in the means of grace, the joy we receive is deep and lasting; not a shallow emotion that quickly fades. This fallen world, a world that is passing away, diminishes. At the same time, the eternal kingdom becomes steadily more real to us.

A small congregation proclaiming a big God

Small congregations have served rural and small town families faithfully over the centuries, without educational wings, gymnasiums, fellowship halls and so on. (Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash)

North Greenville Church is a small congregation blessed by God’s ordinary means of grace. Our meeting room has one focal point…a pulpit lectern holding the Word of God behind a communion table.

Our worship is reverent and historically Reformed. Reading, praying and preaching the Word of God is central to our worship. We sing to the Glory of God together, usually from a hymnal of carefully selected psalms and hymns, accompanied by a piano.

If you live in northern Greenville County and seek a Reformed church, there’s no need to travel downtown. We build disciples of Jesus Christ just as our downtown urban sister churches do. Our all-powerful God builds His kingdom through little one-room churches as well as by megachurches.

How about you?

In seasons when faith grows cold and spiritual support is critical, the ordinary means of grace congregation welcomes with strong shoulders of love. (Photo by Casey Horner on Unsplash)

Could God be calling you as a pioneer to unite with a small body of believers with an awesome, spectacular message for our community and our world? What will we look like as we grow together? Few have said it as well as Ligon Duncan, and this is our prayer for our body of believers. Won’t you visit us soon?