Normally I would not review a church, but this one is well worth more than the few kind words I can type here. This is a wonderful church! I go every time I am in town visiting relatives, and really appreciate the friendly people. The service is non-traditional, but every time, I leave feeling filled with the spirit, and Pastor Chip is inspiring with his sermons. While I think that service is always best experienced in person, I know they do an online broadcast, so that can give you an easy way to check it out.
Highly recommend! I moved down to Florida in May of 2022. Went to a Sunday service that first Sunday and have been going ever since! All of the pastors are incredible communicators of God’s word & I’ve had the pleasure of getting involved with The Exchange (the 20s and 30s group). The staff and volunteers are incredibly friendly and most importantly: everyone is welcome to come and worship Jesus! Check it out 😃
While Grace is attended by many lovely people and the sermons are frequently insightful, the leadership has severely wounded and crushed a significant number of people. It's heartbreaking how much deceit there is, and leadership has to do a better job managing conflict. Therefore, my advice would be to simply show up, not become overly involved, and refrain from joining the staff.
This is a great place to worship! The pastor had an amazing message. The music was superb! We were visiting from Nebraska and staying with friends in Florida! We will definitely come back to worship next time we come back!
Oh, where to begin with Grace. Let me start by saying I've attended/been involved with Grace in some capacity since 2017, back when the congregation was a quarter of the size it is now. Grace Community Church is your typical non-denominational, mini-mega church that really epitomizes AmeriChristianity and corporate christianity so well - they've perfected the Church Formula. You'll always be moved by the well-performed worship, you'll appreciate how friendly everyone is, and you'll walk away from a sermon preached by Chip thinking he made some really excellent and easy-to-understand points that seem theologically sound (if you subscribe to protestant/baptist theologies). I'll give them kudos for putting their money where their mouth is, and unlike many churches, they're worthy of their 501(c)3 status. Grace has used portions of their tithes and donations to pay off millions of dollars of local medical debt (do more of this, y'all!!!), and if you're part of the community that exists within the church, know that they really do care about and show up for one another. And I know that at least some church staff are paid a decent, living wage, which is a step up from many religious institutions. That said, it's not all rainbows and butterflies here. Leadership at this church likes to say that Grace is a place "where everyone is welcome", and with most congregants, I'd say this rings true (so long as you don't reveal yourself as an unbeliever, or a progressive liberal, that is). What they fail to say is that you might be "welcome", but your acceptance, on the other hand, is in fact deeply conditional. I can attest to the review left by John D - leadership has burned so many people in this church - good people who want to serve their community and serve their god. Time and time again, I have heard about and experienced first-hand the toxic, judgemental, restrictive, and passive-aggressive behavior embodied by the upper echelon at this church. Take John's warning and advice seriously - if you attend Grace, find your people and stay connected to them, but I highly discourage you from joining staff or becoming significantly or consistently involved through volunteering. Off the top of my head I can think of at least five separate instances with five different people where a disagreement between leadership and staff or volunteers led to pastors displaying passive aggressive, judgemental, emotionally abusive, and downright toxic behavior. That said, when one's core belief is that all people are inherently bad and deserving of punishment, I can understand how, at least subconsciously, the leadership at this church may believe their actions justified. Do with this information what you will. Some of my family have been attending and tithing to this church for over 8 years now, and they're perfectly content with their experience as nothing more than attendees who occasionally volunteer or pop into a small group. If that's the extent of what you're looking for in a christian community, Grace is a great place. But if you're looking for somewhere you can bring all your questions and doubts, you're hoping to find unconditional love and acceptance for who you are exactly as you are, or you're wanting to get deeply involved in the church through volunteering or working for Grace, I'd encourage you to think twice and tread carefully.
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