Here are some answers to the questions most commonly asked about Word of Grace Network.
What is the difference between between a network and a denomination?
What does your network do overseas?
How is the network financed?
How does your leadership function?
How to you handle credentialing?
Where does your name come from?
Are you incorporated?
Q. How is the difference between a network and a denomination?
A. DIFFERENT WAY OF THINKING
Today, God is raising up many apostolic-minded churches to network together so they can help bring in the end-time harvest. In order to do this effectively, we have to begin thinking differently than we did in the past. Most of us came out of various denominational backgrounds. While we appreciate any way this contributed to our growth and development, we were always looking for something more. I believe we were looking for a new approach to working together to get the great harvest in. Which, by the way, will be so great, that God will use anything to get it in, including the denominations we have left.
My concern was that the system we were in needed so much time, energy, and finances to maintain, yet it produced so little. My personal experience could be described as walking beside a large combine that was crawling across the field, with all the steam and noise, belts, pulleys, and tracks moving, yet out the back end came a just little bale of hay and a big puff of smoke. I wanted to spend my time being part of something that accomplished more than this. I noticed that during this same time-frame, that the brothers who were working with me in mission, were all like-minded. We could accomplish so much, and it has stood the test of time. That is when I began to make a distinction between apostolic thinking and denominational thinking.
Apostles tend to bring people together for a common work, strengthen local churches, plant new works, raise up leaders, and do mission work at home and overseas. In many cases, an apostle will also pastor a local church. The life and liberty of that church will attract other like-minded ministries and churches so they can join together to reach their area.
Apostolic movements have five basic things in common:
1. They gather churches and people around specific purposes, not just around specific doctrinal distinctives.
2. They realize that the form and function of most present day denominations is not sufficient alone to get the harvest in.
3. They encourage leadership to function with a higher level of authority than what would be allowed in most denominations, who tend to reserve most of their authority to a board function.
4. They tend to have a higher expectation of what a local church can do to impact the world.
5. Apostolic-minded churches are usually connected with other churches out of mutual respect and have common goals.
Denominations are usually made up of those who hold the same doctrine, the same system of government or the same historical roots. Networks can be made up of people who come from many different backgrounds, but are like-minded, which comes out of sharing the same values and vision.
Denominations usually place people into fellowship together because they share the same geographic location, whereas Networks tend to link people together because of relationships, in spite of the geography involved.
Denominations tend to control things from a central government, whereas Networks want to give as much local autonomy to churches as possible.
Denominations tend to require exclusive relationship of their ministers, whereas Networks will work with anyone who is interested in building the Kingdom of God.
Denominations tend to invite people into positions of influence based on rank, tenure, or political influence, whereas Networks tend to focus more on a person’s calling, gifts, and the health of their relationships with others.
Q. What does your network do overseas?
A. OUR GLOBAL GOALS
Word of Grace is active in a number of countries overseas including India, the Ukraine, Spain, Portugal, Haiti, Chile, Argentina, and Colombia. Everyone in our network is involved with overseas missions in some way or another, either by doing relief work, training leaders, or planting churches, or providing support for those who do this.
It is also our desire to help indigenous leaders build autonomous networks of their own. We tend to relate to those who do not fit into any particular denominational mold, but who want to be part of something larger than themselves.
We want to show them that it is important to be connected and accountable to others so we can build safe, healthy churches for their people.
We what to show them how to relate properly to authority without dominating one another’s faith. To do this, we intentionally limit our own authority so they can see by our example how they are to relate to their own churches. We desire no other authority beyond what this affords us.
We desire to help build native networks like ours in each of the countries we work in.
It is our desire to come alongside those who are already helping the poor, planting churches, providing leadership training, and doing evangelism, rather than going into an area and doing these things ourselves.
We desire to support our native partners through counsel, training, and other resources, which will help them fulfill their mission.
We are looking to partner with those who want what is in our hearts, rather than what is in our wallets. It is our goal to avoid creating unhealthy financial dependencies. instead, we what to always show people how to trust the Lord to meet all our needs.
We tend to draw those who hold a conservative view of the scripture, have a real reliance on the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and whose priority is to worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
Q. How is the network financed?
A. Just as in a local church, those who relate to us to show their commitment by their attendance, participation, relationship to leadership, and financial support. Those who are committed to Word of Grace to show it the same way.
Each Network has its own way supporting it’s efforts financially. Many require that the senior pastor or minister direct their personal tithe (or the equivalent) to support the organization. We do not tell our members how much they should give, as it would change the nature of our relationship. We would like each pastor or minister to find a consistent way to contribute to the ongoing support of the Network. Currently, some are redirecting their personal tithes, while others have asked their churches to forward a similar amount on their behalf each month as a line item in their budget. Others are giving offerings as they are able.
This support goes to pay our staff salaries, office expenses, and travel costs as we move around the State helping our members. It also helps us to underwrite our events.
The Elders Team decides how the finances are dispersed. They do this by carefully considering the any input given by those who are committed to us. An accounting of the previous year's spending, as well as the proposed spending for the coming year, will be presented at each Annual Meeting in May.
Q. How does your leadership function?
A. The leadership team of Word of Grace Network is called the Elders. Their responsibilities are:
1. Establishing the vision for and giving direction to the Word of Grace with the input and counsel from our members.
2. Ensuring that this network functions in such a way that the purposes listed herein become a reality.
3. Maintaining doctrinal purity in the network through the formulation and distribution of position statements.
4. Raising up and releasing other like-minded leaders to assist in reaching our goals.
5. Setting the direction and themes for the gatherings, retreats, and seminars.
6. Being available for consultation and assistance for our pastors and affiliate churches.
7. Overseeing all areas of financial concern including collection, budgeting, accounting, and distribution of finances given in trust by our members. They will provide an annual report to the network to keep the members informed.
Q. How to you handle credentialing?
A. We believe that pastors and missionaries should be ordained or credentialed by the local church. This is not only more practical, but insures true autonomy of the local church and real accountability for the pastor.
Word of Grace would provide temporary credentials for pastors in transition or for churches that have not developed to the stage where they can do this themselves.
Q. Where does your name come from?
A. The name "Word of Grace" comes from a verse found in Acts 20:32 where the Apostle Paul turned the churches he had established over to the elders, entrusting them God and to the "word of His grace".
This is our heart and desire for those who affiliate with us.
Q. Are you incorporated?
A. Yes, we were incorporated in Lowville, NY in 2001 as a 501 (c) 3 non-profit religious organization.
Links We Like...