What We Believe
Grace Fellowship is a congregation in the broad tradition of evangelical Christianity. Our roots are in the great revival God worked through John Wesley and others during the first “Great Awakening” in England and America in the 18th century.
We describe ourselves us “Bible based, Christ Centered, and Spirit Filled.” We take each of those phrases seriously and seek to live up to the high calling of Christian discipleship.
The following expresses our core doctrine with references from Scripture.
1. We believe in one God in three persons: the Father, Jesus Christ the Son and the Holy Spirit as coexistent, coeternal and unified in will. Gen. 1:26, Jn. 1:1-5, 14:9, 11, 15-17, Mt. 28:19.
2. We believe in the Divine inspiration, reliability and authority of the Holy Scriptures, as found in the Old and New Testaments, as the foundation and rule for Christian faith, doctrine and conduct. Dt. 29:29, Is. 55:10-11, 2 Tim. 3:16-17, 2 Peter 1:20-20
3. We believe man is a sinner, lost, separated from God, void of His abundant and eternal life. Man is therefore in need of repentance and faith in the Savior Jesus Christ who died on the cross for the sins of the world and was resurrected into life. Rom. 3:23, 5:8, 1 Jn. 1:10, Gal. 1:3-5, 1 Cor. 15:3-4
4. We believe in man's need for repentance of sin and personally professing faith in Christ for forgiveness, to be born again unto salvation, to be reconciled to God and to receive eternal life. Mt. 4:17, Ac. 2:38-39, 1 Jn. 1:9-10, Jn. 1:12, 6:40,47.
5. We believe a Christian can be sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit in which his heart is cleansed of the rebellious sin nature and empowered by the Spirit to live a holy, victorious and abundant life in Christ and this experience is usually subsequent to being born again. Mt. 3:11-12, Ac. 1:4-5, 8, 2:14-17, 1 Th. 5:23.
6. We believe that living the spirit filled life is the scriptural goal for every believer through which the Christian bears the Fruit of the Spirit which is the character of Christ. Mt. 3:8, Rm. 6:11-18, 8:4-8, Gal. 5:-16-25, 2 Pe. 1:3-7.
7. We believe God endows those filled with the spirit with Spiritual Gifts for Christian service, ministry to others and the edification of the Body of Christ which is the Church. Rom. 12:4-8, 1 Co. 12:1, 27-30, 13:1-3, 14:1-4, 37-40, 1 Pet. 4:10-11.
8. We believe in the priesthood of all believers, in the unity of the Body of Christ and in the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry. 1 Pe. 2:5-9, Rev. 5:9-10, Eph. 2:19-22, 1 Co. 12:12-20, Eph. 4:3-13.
9. We believe that the Lord Jesus will return, the dead will be raised and the final judgment will take place, with believers entering into eternal life in Heaven and unbelievers entering into eternal Hell. Mt. 24:30-31, 36, 1 Th. 4:13-18, 1 Co. 15:50-58, Mt. 25:45-46, Ac. 24:15, Rev. 20:11-21, 8.
What Makes Us Different
Tehachapi has a number of wonderful churches. Their doctrine is sound, their people warm and enthusiastic, and their leadership solid. We view most of the churches in town as members of the same family, serving the same Lord, and committed to the same basic truths of the Bible.
Although we share many similarities, each congregation is distinctive as well. What makes Grace Fellowship different?
Three qualities mark Grace Fellowship as unique. First, we are decentralized. We value the initiative the Holy Spirit takes in the lives of believers, regardless of the size of the group. We believe direction comes from Jesus, the Head of the body, not from a central group of leaders. In fact, we believe that the direction the Lord gives you is at least as important (certainly more important for you!) than what he might give to the leadership of Grace Fellowship. We seek to empower believers to follow what the Lord initiates in their lives and relationships. When you hear from the Lord, don't ask permission from us! Do what he tells you to do. If you think we can help, let us know. Our commitment is to keep the initiative with you in relationship with the Lord.
Related to this value is the commitment to honor your time. We work hard to make sure that our larger, formal gatherings do not demand so much time and energy from people that there is little left for the dynamic ways the Lord wants to use us where we live and work. This distinctive we describe as deprogramized. We experience life as too busy as it is. We don't need to add more craziness with multiple layers of religious activity added to the week. We
desire to experience Jesus in the midst of life. We prefer to "do church" where we live, work, and have fun. Church happens in our homes as we gather with family and friends with the Bible open and hearts responsive to the Lord's presence. Our most important ministry occurs wherever we share with friends struggling over the tough stuff of life or whenever we have opportunity to share the Good News with not-yet-Christians. We believe the Lord works better where life is really lived than in the designed setting of a church program.
A third way we are different is by being deinstitutionalized. The images of the church in the Scriptures are more organic than organizational. We've grown up through school and work with relationships shaped by "policies and procedures" mandated through bureaucratic ways of thinking. We feel the church is a simple community, more like a family than a business. Sometimes relationships get messy. Life rarely fits into the formulas that we hope would keep things nice and tidy. The kind of discipleship that leads to real transformation confronts life authentically and honestly. Loving one another is not easy. The Lord calls us to the highest degree of mutual commitment to him and to one another. Sometimes it's hard. It's not always pretty, but through real friendship we are changed and God is glorified.
If you're looking for a good church to be a part of, you have plenty of good choices in Tehachapi. We invite you to spend some time getting to know us. We may be a little bit different than what you're familiar with. We may be just what your heart longs for. Our hope is that you will experience Jesus among us.
Christian Discipleship isn’t easy. Of course, it never has been. The Lord’s invitation to follow Jesus is all encompassing. He requires a radical commitment. There is no other way to discover what he is like, how he thinks, and what he values. Following him means becoming like him, discovering how to die to self that he might reign in life. It’s letting go of familiar ideas so that we can take on the mind of Christ. In real discipleship we discover the power of submission, the freedom of serving, the joy of faithfulness, and the exhilaration that comes with real spiritual growth. Jesus’ call to discipleship takes us beyond the sinner’s prayer. We’ve admitted that we are sinners, that we have no hope in life except in Christ. We’ve invited Jesus into our hearts and have experienced the confirming presence of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. But we know there is more. We begin hungering for the meat of God’s Word. We discover that we are to grow up into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) to reflect his glory and to share his grace.
In our hearts we have heard Jesus’ invitation for ourselves: “Follow me.” It’s kind of scary. What would Jesus require? What would he have us to do? What has to change? How much will it cost?
On a good day, we say it doesn’t matter. Whatever it takes, whatever the cost. But then reality sets is. Our lives are full of pressures with demands from family, work, and friends. We all know how easy it is to push Jesus out of our lives. When the crunch comes, it’s often the Bible that gets put on the shelf. Who has time for prayer?
In our day and age, Christian discipleship is a challenge.
If you’ve tried and failed in the past or maybe never really responded in an authentic way to the invitation but now are ready to, you might find a “CD group” being what makes the difference in your Christian walk.
“CD” is our abbreviation for “Covenant Discipleship.” A CD Group is simply a small gathering of friends who commit together to hold each other accountable to do the kinds of things we know the Lord wants us to do in order to grow in Christ. What sorts of things? The group decides on the particular disciplines together. Usually the group will include things like regular Bible reading, prayer, and worship.
Other disciplines the group may want to hold each accountable to might be regularly serving others, fasting, sharing the gospel weekly, being responsive to the needs of one’s family, and taking time for solitude. Maybe there are specific lifestyle issues that the group wants help with such as overeating or getting more exercise. The specific disciplines will be as varied as the groups themselves.
A CD Group follows some simple ground rules. Each group opens and closes in prayer. The group meets for no longer than hour. Leadership is passed between participants from week to week. Everything that is shared in the group is kept in the strictest confidentiality. After the group is formed, no new people may participate unless all the members of the group agree.
If you’re not a part of a CD group and would like to be, talk to somebody who is. Ask around, or give Kyle a call. A CD group will get you moving on a spiritual adventure that will change your life.