Hi! My name is Lauren and I have set up the Gravity Church blog. If you are unsure as to the purpose of the blog, have a peek at the About section to read the heart of this and to understand what Gravity Church is. This post expands on this, telling the history, sharing the heart and explaining the logistics of Gravity Church.
I had the opportunity to sit and meet with Pastor Joel to gain some insight about Gravity Church. Questions answered!
Q: What is the vision of Gravity Church?
A: The vision of Gravity Church is far reaching. The desire is to reach people far from Jesus and those that have gone to church but no longer attend. We desire to see God reach out with the Gospel in Calgary!
Q: What is the mission of the Gravity Church?
A: The desire is to have Gravity Church as a place, as an outreach event for all churches in the city of Calgary to bring people to hear the Truth of the Gospel.
Q: Where did the idea of Gravity Church originate?
A: Three years ago I was at a conference in Seattle and was captivated by a sermon on faith shared by David Guzic. He really challenged people to “step out in faith”. At this time, I was studying the adventure of Jonathan and his armour bearer in the Bible. The Coles’ notes version of the story is that Jonathan makes the decision to attack a Philistine [the enemy] outpost without notifying the whole army [of whom his father is the leader]. He encourages his armour bearer to join him in going over the mountain and declares, “Nothing can hinder the Lord from saving, whether by many or by few.” Powerful words. He simply declares, “Let’s see if the Lord is in it”. I didn’t see it as an actual vision, but a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
I began to pray about it. I prayed for a year that God would provide direction as the Heart was for something outside of the church to engage this city.
I often say that, “Too much church air is not good for me personally” and the need to reach beyond the church walls was apparent. I personally love sharing the Gospel, not only in church, but in the community. Gravity Church is a place where people who don’t know the Gospel or don’t go to church will hear about the Gospel.
I’ll share a story. One afternoon I was sharing the Gospel with a person on an airplane. This guy was burnt by a church or a Christian, as many have also experienced. The heart of Gravity church is for these types of people.
This is what I shared with him- “If you put your eyes on Christians they will disappoint you and let you down, but if you get your eyes on Christ, He will never let you down!” Of course Christians will let you down, of course the church will let you down, but Jesus will never let you down!
This statement was an epiphany moment for him. This man was led to the Lord while on the plane. He gave his life to the Lord. Praise God!
How many people are done with Church, done with religion, done with Christians? Studies show that people like Jesus but don’t like church or religion.
Returning to the beginning of Gravity Church. After a year of prayer, I brought this idea forward to our elders. They listened to the same sermon I had. The proposal I had was an outreach within the city, not in the church, but somewhere in the city. After time in prayer, the elders realized this vision and got behind it.
We could see the need. Revelation 3 v. 8 declares that “See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut.”
The next step in the journey was to determine how the outreach would look. We looked within our church. Chuck Smith, a man of God, often comments, “Get behind what the Holy Spirit is already doing in your church and catch the wave of the Holy Spirit!”. We began to look within.
We realized that we have leaders from two of the biggest Christian clubs on campus and multitudes of young adults. We decided that the heart would be to create something targeted, not exclusive, to college, university aged adults.
We met with various young adults and posed our heart for this outreach asking them, how would you do an outreach, when would you do it, among others.
Through prayer we zoned in on the first Thursday of the month.
Q: Why the name Gravity Church?
A: One day I was sitting in my office and I noticed that the Christian artist LeCrae’s album was the first Christian album to go to number one on iTunes. I was intrigued and I bought it to listen to. I wanted to know what music was hitting pop culture and was Christian.
One of the songs hit the mark- it was the heart of this outreach that God has been preparing from day one. The song describes the sin that so easily entangles us! The weight of sin that drags people down. The weight of this sin is death.
The decision to follow the Lord, to call on Him to release us from the weight of sin- that is what we need. The emphasis is on the weight of this decision.
“Weight Church” didn’t appear to make the cut, ha!
The title of his album is Gravity- hence, our name.
Q: Cool. Why Church?
A: Research done on outreaches going on around North America indicate the significance of keeping the church name, despite being an outreach and not a church. It’s an outreach for churches.
Why keep the name church? People are open to church.
People are open to the idea of church, it’s the terminology and traditions of church that they have a hard time with. “Come out Sunday at 10:00 am – oh church”. There is opposition to this.
Something midweek at night, breaks with tradition and terminology. To be upfront and honest is what people want. This is what it is. This is what is real. Authentic community. No questions. You are going to hear about Jesus and we are going to read from the Word. Read the Bible! This is what Gravity Church is doing!
Q: Location, location, location. How did the choice of the Plaza Theatre in Kensington come about?
A: This is an outreach and we need a location. We walked and prayed through campuses and had several location scouts. We asked the Lord where He would want it to be. We could see a triangle with Mount Royal University, University of Calgary and SAIT.
The decision was a venue in Kensington and the Plaza Theatre was a go!
The next step was to create teams of people to carry out various functions.
Q: Ah! That leads into my next question. What is the function of the ten “squads” involved with Gravity Church? What is the purpose of a squad?
A: There a number of squads to complete different aspects of Gravity Church.
It all began with writing on a napkin. In a coffee shop I asked myself, how do we do this? How will we do this separate from our church? Initially, we picked people who are builders, people who are self-starters. Ministry is like a treadmill, if you are not running you are already going backwards. The desire was to have others outside of our church to be involved as well.
There is a need and desire to streamline and the ten squads were created.
The Underground Squad came initially- God spoke really clearly one morning and the realization that there is a lot of “above ground” work, when it comes to ministry! All the things that we physically see, hear- what our senses experience- you know the stage, lights, advertising, sound… things that we need, but that don’t necessarily equal “Spiritual Success” for lack of better words. In other words I have seen a lot of ministry done with an “above ground” emphasis.
God spoke to me that success in his eyes starts below ground in a sense and that prayer is the unseen underground work that should under gird everything we do. When that is in place, it acts as the foundation for His Spirit to really move and work “above ground”. Make sense?
So our Underground Squad is a team of people praying while the whole event is happening. This all happens at our Ministry centre. Physically away from the Plaza Theatre, the Underground Squad prays for the work of the Holy Spirit to be done at Gravity Church.
Look at the power of this concept of underground work. What we don’t see is what produces the power. What is unseen- prayer- produces the power!
Secondly, the Hit Squad. The name has a great ring to it and it’s catchy but the idea is a solid one- “Let’s Hit the streets with the Good News, with invitation, with love and prayer!” Thousands of invitations will be handed out monthly through this squad.
This is a “deadly” combination- Prayer and evangelism.
Our other teams are the Social Squad- spreading the word through social media, the Gravity Band Squad- the band that plays at Gravity Church.
The Setup Squad- looks after setting up the building and security.
The Creative Squad- designs all the stage elements and creates art for each month.
Prayer/Follow up Squad- this team is trained and prepared to pray at the front with people after each Gravity Session. They are equipped with Bibles and resources and can connect people to initial mentoring and discipleship.
Tech Squad- these are the guys who operate lighting, sound and media!
Process Squad- this is the “glue team” they organize and communicate everything. They act as the catch-all for every other team.
Promo Squad- this team communicates and connects individuals, churches, and advertising all across the region!
Finance Squad- this Squad works towards making budgets, gathering support and setting up avenues to receive funds and donations.
We have ten squads right now but will probably add 2 more in the days ahead.
How would the Squads operate? As I already said, each leader has to be a self starter, so they work throughout the month on their specific area then bring a report at a once a month meeting. They each share for five minutes how they are doing with their area- then we take half an hour for prayer.
Q: Lastly, how can one get involved?
A: Generally speaking, there are five specific ways by which someone can be involved in what God is doing at Gravity Church!
- Prayer– it’s been said “Don’t pray for a greater work, prayer is the greater work!” we want to see people call on the name of the Lord. The greatest result of prayer is more prayer- no great work of God has been done outside of prayer- so as people start praying more people will pray and that’s how God moves with power!
- Invite/ bring somebody– it’s so important that people genuinely respond to Jesus’ call to “Go make disciples” the modern church has often either “Stayed and made disciples” or “Gone and made decisions”; neither of these are correct. We are called to “Go” and as we bring people to hear about Jesus then they can be saved and discipled- so exciting!
- Spread the word– facebook, twitter, Instagram, invites….. 2 Thessalonians 3:1 “Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may run swiftly and be glorified, just as it is with you.”
- Serving– we don’t rush people into leadership. These things take time and as people come, we build relationships and then, of course there are opportunities to serve.
- Supporting– this is a step of faith! We intend to bring a big band in every four months and this will take finances. Our prayer is that as people are led to support this, they will. “Where God guides, God provides”, so we are sure that He will take care of Gravity Church and His purposes as long as we keep taking our cues from the Holy Spirit and keep pointing people to Jesus!