Home | BGAV Blog | Graceland Baptist Church: Connecting with Neighbors

Graceland Baptist Church: Connecting with Neighbors

Posted: 7/9/19 at 3:00pm. Column by Greg LeMaster.

Then Jesus went about to all the cities and villages, teaching and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom, and curing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to the disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the laborers are few; therefore, pray to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” …. Matthew 9:35-38

I love this quote by William Temple: “The Church is the only organization that does not exist for itself, but for those that live outside of it.” I believe that this outside—in mission (Matthew 28:19-20)—is what Jesus and the early church were all about.

Many times in scripture we see Jesus going to someone’s home and eating with them at the table.

Many times in scripture we see Jesus going to someone’s home and eating with them at the table. He had great compassion for all people. The church seems to always grow (both inwardly and outwardly) as it becomes intentional and passionate by going out to share the love of Christ with people, to bless and relate with people, to pray with people, to break bread with people, and to give them the good news as the love of Christ is experienced in action.

This was the heart of Christ as he came for all people—for even the marginalized and for the least of these.   

About nine years ago we started our first house church in my neighborhood, and now we can see how the Lord has planted an orchard of many more house churches, dinner churches, and special needs churches.

This time last year some of us here at Graceland were training to launch our first dinner church, “At The Table,” in August 2018. (By the way, summer months are a great time to train). Maybe next time I write, I will share more about these other Acts 2:42 fellowships. 

We have seen some amazing things happen that only God could do over this past year “at the table,” as the folks that have come have really seemed comfortable and open as we worship together around the table. Many “awe” moments have occurred just like in the book of Acts!

Now we have two more dinner churches that were started last month: one located in a mall and another one in a local restaurant. I am so excited about all the relationships and friends that we are making in the community, as many now call the dinner church their church!

We have seen the fruit of salvation in people giving their lives to live for Christ and folks being introduced to the healer, Jesus.

I’ve heard it said that “belonging enhances believing,” and I have seen that happen in both our dinner church congregation as well as the in our congregation at Graceland. I am so blessed and to see several of us experiencing God in new ways as they/we love on the folks who were at one time outside our doors!            

Read more about the “At the Table” dinner church.

Greg LeMaster is Associate Pastor of Outreach and Education at Graceland Baptist Church, a BGAV-participating congregation in Powhatan, VA. He and his family have served at Graceland for 27 years and lead multiple house churches, restaurant fellowships, dinner churches, and a special needs church called “Miracles of God.”