J. Gordon Duncan

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We Must Have an Urgency to Create Personal Churches

Acts 2: 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Our communities need personal churches.

What is a personal church?

A personal church is one where intimacy with Christ and each other is emphasized and strategically created within a community.

A personal church is one where it is easy to break into communities (small groups, women’s/men’s groups) that already exists.

A personal church is one where the leaders intentionally seek time with each family or single in the church so as to know them, encourage them, and love them.

Why do I say this? I’ll tell you why. I think our communities need personal churches because I see so few of them and their lack is inhibiting growth with Christ and growth in the church.

Two things helped me realize this.

First, the elders and I at Evident Grace Fellowship decided that we were going to try to do home visits (or at least get one on one time) with every family or single in our church over the course of 3 months. My elders raced out ahead of me and returned with encouraging stories or prayer, honesty, and appreciation. Real steps of intimacy in Christ were taken. As I began to make my visits, I experienced the same. One family was overwhelmingly appreciative that the pastor would visit without something being wrong. I could sense God moving in people’s lives. Once the elders and I visit everyone, we are going to try to just keep it up (visit everyone every 3 months). Real face time created open avenues for growth.

Second, I’m witnessing the damage done by the impersonal nature of some churches. Listen, I understand that needs go unmet in churches. Leadership is imperfect like church members and attendees. But people are walking away from worship because too many churches are too impersonal. They are either too big or they just yell theology without any personal care attached.

So, how do we create personal churches? Here are 3 steps.

One: Leadership must meet with their people. It doesn’t have to be home visits (though that is pretty effective). Day to day discipleship or lunches or whatever work. Genuine questions of care from leadership to the crowd make a huge impact.

Two: Discipleship must be encouraged. Conversations about prayer, book studies, etc have got to be emphasized. Testimonies of discipleship have to become common place. People meeting with people over the cause of Christ creates a personal church that is welcoming and open to growth.

Three: Small groups are essential, but not just 8 people studying a book. Small groups centered on the word of God that encourage real-time application and accountability create a personal church.

Hey, I’m an imperfect pastor leading an imperfect church, but let’s get beyond the showy, impersonal, facsimile of church that is passing today. If we have a personal Savior and a personal salvation to offer, then we must create a personal church to proclaim Him.

Gordon Duncan is the pastor of Evident Grace Fellowship in the Spotsylvania/Fredericksburg, VA community. .

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August 1, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Practice Progress – 3 Steps to Profitable Optometry

Back to BasicsWhat is it you can control to be a profitable eye care provider? Practice Progress offers 3 simple steps:

  1. Provide the best eye care.

  2. Keeps costs low.

  3. Increase revenues.

And while these steps make sense, implementing them and growing in profitability isn’t easy. That’s why Practice Progress released “Back to Basics – 3 Steps to Profitable Optometry”. In it, you will find details for each step with both positive examples to follow and poor examples to avoid.

You can find “Back to Basics” in e-book form exclusively through Jobson Research.

And you can find the paperback of “Back to Basics” at Amazon. Let’s partner together.

You can also find additional resources from Practice Progress at www.optometricrescue.com.

October 10, 2016 Posted by | optometric, optometrist, optometry, self-publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Glorious Burden to Care for Others

Psalm 122: 6 Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you be secure. 7 May there be peace within your walls and security within your citadels.” 8 For the sake of my family and friends, I will say, “Peace be within you.” 9 For the sake of the house of the Lord our God, I will seek your prosperity.

 The expression “glorious burden” describes the privilege that those in places of authority have to seek the good of those under their care.

Pastors have this as they shepherd and preach to their people.

Parents have this as they raise and teach their children.

Teachers have this. Politicians have this.

Essentially, all who have the privilege to care have this.

In reading David’s prayer in Psalm 122, you see a clear love for His people. He wanted their security. He wanted their peace. He wanted families to be safe. He wanted the prosperity of all of the people of God.

Today, each and every one of us bear this same glorious burden. It is neglected at times as we seek our good above others under our care, but we must always right ourselves to the heart of Jesus.

Hebrews 12:1b And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

 Our perseverance in loving and caring for others comes from Jesus’ love and care to joyfully endure the cross for our sake. So then…

Pastors, pray for the ongoing needs of your people asking God for mercy at every turn.

Parents, pray for the safety and godliness of your children in a world where both are rare.

Spouses, pray for each other as the road of lifeline companionship is fraught with obstacles.

Business Owners, pray for your employees to serve with dignity in an environment that you have created that enables it.

Teachers, pray for learning and appreciation in what you teach.

Children, pray for you parents and their perseverance in the long road of caring for you.

Pray for all who you love and even your enemies that they may be blessed.

 

May 17, 2016 Posted by | church, church planting, family worship, father, gospel, men, mission, missional | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Introduction from “Bedside – A Memoir of Care”

momandgordoAfter writing, “I am my father’s son” for my dad, I thought writing a book for my mom would be easy.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Ann Shehdan Duncan wasn’t hard to write about because there weren’t stories to tell.  There are plenty.  But Mom was difficult to write about because she lived a quiet, more subdued life than Sam   (my affectionate name for Dad).  Hopefully, you’ll find these words warm and affectionate.  Any stiffness is just my attempting to put Mom into words.  That was not an easy task.

So, to begin, what I did was to ask folks for stories.  I asked Amy (my wife) and my kids what they remembered.  I asked my brothers and sisters.  I asked anyone that I felt might remember Mom to tell me about her.

It’s not that I wanted to tell their stories.  I wanted to tell mine.  But I needed to hear theirs to help trigger memories.

Fortunately, writing “I am my father’s son” caused me to reflect a good bit about my mom.  Ann Shehdan Duncan was an amazing woman.  I don’t say that in a, “my mom has passed so I’m going to gloss,” attitude.  She really was.  It was (and still is) difficult to find any one person with a disagreement with her.  Any that she had, she resolved quickly.  She believed in keeping no records of wrongs.

Now, I know that no life is free of conflict, but at her death, and throughout most of her life, she lived fairly conflict free.  Her reputation was sweet and Godly.  People loved Mom and for good reason:  she was amazing.

So, what I hope to do in these meager pages is express some of the reasons why I loved her, and as always, that is best done in story.

I also hope these words enable you to enjoy and know Mom better.  If you knew her, you might smile and maybe even cry.  If you didn’t know her, you will wish you did.  Either way, in writing them, I have found a greater love and appreciation for her.

Thanks.

Look for details about the release of “Bedside – A Memoir of Care” very soon.

September 8, 2013 Posted by | self-publishing, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

See & Share Evident Grace Preview for 051913

See & Share Evident Grace Fellowship for 051913 from Gordon Duncan on Vimeo.

How can God command us to have hope? He would have guarantee something wouldn’t He? Join us this Sunday at Evident Grace to find out. We meet at the comedy club above Liberty Lanes off of exit 126.

May 16, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

New Spotsylvania Church Meets at a Comedy Club

ImageWhen asked by the Fredericksburg Examiner about why Evident Grace meets in a bowling alley, the following article resulted

New churches meeting in schools, civic buildings, and town auditoriums are nothing new. Church plants, as they are called, don’t normally build sanctuaries, and many don’t even desire one long-term. But finding a workable space for worship, nursery, and visibility is often the first big challenge of most new worshiping communities. Every now and then, a new church finds that perfect spot, and that spot is off the beaten path.

Meet Evident Grace Fellowship. As of April 21st, they began meeting at Liberty Laughs Comedy Club above Liberty Lanes Bowling Alley.

When asked why a church would meet at a comedy club, they gave several answers. Pastor Gordon responded with, “Well, it shows we don’t take ourselves too seriously, I guess.”

That answer may be humorous, but there are actually more specific, purposeful reasons for meeting at a comedy club. EG’er Erica K explained it this way. She said, “Just the air of curiosity for the public causes people to ask what’s happening up there.”

Asking what is happening is one thing. Something actually happening is another. EG’er Nathan T provided that. He said, “I think it gives the church the ability to not become complacent. We aren’t hiding from the world in our safe and separate little area. We are out there in the community looking for ways to serve and bring people in. What better opportunity for outreach than to worship in the midst of the people we hope to reach out to?”

So, the Examiner went asked. Does a church meeting in a comedy club provide those things?

Emma R from Connecticut gave this impression. She said, “It’s a great representation that God is everywhere, and church isn’t about wearing a suit and tie in a fancy building. God is in real life, real places with no per-requisites.”

With those things in mind, Evident Grace Fellowship is taking a slow and steady approach to growing and serving. They hope to eventually offer several services to the community, but they want to take them on in a way that they do them well.

With that in mind, they will offer a nursery for members and visitors, but that nursery will not be open until May 12th which is fitting Mother’s Day. Additionally, they have undertaken a ministry with Young Lives, an organization that helps, supports, and encourages single, teen moms. Doing that fits their mission of wanting to serve and comfort their community as an expression of how God has served and comforted them.

If you would like to join Evident Grace Fellowship, as they mentioned, they meet at Liberty Laughs above Liberty Lanes at 1030am each Sunday.

May 4, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment