Talking With Kelsi - Member Profile

Hello Kelsi! What brought you to DC?

So October 2014, you guys announced that you were going to plant the church. One, my husband and I always felt called to DC; but two, we always had a heart for Grace Midtown. And we really struggled to find a church the last 3 years we’ve been married, so when the church announced they were planting it in DC my husband and I just felt like God was saying, “Hey your time is now. It’s time to move to DC.” So my husband applied for his dream job and he got it. And here we are.

Awesome! What’s your favorite part about DC?

I would say definitely the history. I love how there’s so much history here. Also there’s a very big cultural diversity which, since I was a little girl, is definitely what my heart is for. I feel like it sparks a lot of interest in me. It sparks a lot of desire to know more about this country and the history of how it started. That’s my favorite part.

Do you have a favorite museum?

Definitely the National Art Gallery. Because every Sunday they have free music concerts. 3:30

Why did I not know that? What kinds of music?

Anything. One time I went for a piano concert. String concerts. Opera. Every Sunday at 3:30.

Oh my gosh I want to go! What’s one thing you think everyone should know about DC?

I think DC is a place for everyone, even if when you first come here it doesn’t really feel like it. It might feel kind of scary or big, but its got something for everyone. Every culture, every group. I’ve never lived in a big city before, so I don’t know if that’s the way most cities are, but where I grew up, it’s definitely not as accepting of a place. And there’s just something special about this place. My husband and I used to come up here on what we called dream trips. We would just come up here whenever we could for a weekend and just walk around dreaming of our future. We’d be talking back and forth, “can you imagine this?”

Do you think that that the church fit in with what you guys were searching for?

Yes. Because several times we felt like we were meant to be in DC. We felt like that since before we got married. But, we considered moving back to Atlanta because we were having such a hard time finding a church. So it was kinda scary when you guys announced that you were going to plant a church here. Oh gosh we started asking, “So God are you going to give us what you promised us?” It’s exciting when he provides.

And it’s so exciting when people are in their dream place.

Yeah all my friends in Georgia are like, “So you’re a part of Grace Capital City, that’s awesome!”

What’s one thing you want people to know about you?

I want people to know that I love easily. I really do see the best in everyone and I want to be everyone’s friend. But, I’m also sassy, so that may seem like a contradiction but its not. I guess I can be sassy because I do love people so much. And I want to be a midwife in India someday.

Oh alright! What’s your catchphrase?

Is it bad if I don’t have one?

Come up with one. This is the thing you say and everyone goes “That’s so Kelsi.”

What is so Kelsi? There’s definitely things that only I say. I wish Joe was here. That’s it! “Joe would know!” Where’s my car? Joe would know. Or, whenever I say goodbye I say “goodbyyyyeeeee.”

That’s perfect. Thanks Kelsi.

House Church

Way back in January we launched three house churches in DC. They were made with the hopes of creating a place for people to have community, to know and be known, and to encounter the Lord with shared hearts. Now, six months down the road, the communities are thriving and solidifying their place in this city. Groups tend to meet about once a week, sometimes more, for hangouts or worship or simply to spend time together. Each week, relationships grow. Groups continue to become family and relationships with Jesus become stronger and even more exciting. A new house church has started up and more are in the works. It’s such a gift. It has been such a privilege and a blessing to watch people develop from near strangers to a loving family of friends.

My own experience with house church has been such a powerful testament to the potential of these communities and to the Lord’s goodness. We started out just meeting once a week, about fifteen of us, spending time getting to know each other. We mostly hung out, sharing meals and enjoying the company. At some point we started talking about more real stuff like what’s going on in our lives and what we’re struggling with or thinking about. Slowly but surely we became more comfortable with each other. It was natural to sit and share without prompting. It developed into a place of authenticity and transparency. We began worshiping and praying together, pursuing the Lord’s heart in all things. Every week now it’s something different. We get ice cream, we pray for healing, we talk about things we like, and these things don’t just happen once a week. If somebody wants to hang on the weekend or something, they just send a message to the group and see what’s up. It’s at this point now where I realize that these are my people. This is my family.

I truly believe that this kind of community, the house church community, is something the Lord loves. This is something He longs for, His children coming together in love and support of one another in a place where there is no question of whether or not they’ll be accepted. These communities are safe places where your name is remembered and you are wanted, not just by the people but by the Father. I could go on and on about how strongly I believe in the power of house churches and how much I adore the one I call home. I thank God for His presence in these communities and His heart for His children. And I thank God for the look on someone’s face when they realize that they’re wanted, they belong, and that they’re seen and heard. I love it.

Talking with Ryan - Member Profile

TALKING WITH RYAN SANFORD

What is it that brought you to DC?

I came to DC to intern with International Justice Mission as a field communications intern. I basically came down here to jump into that and see where it would take me.

Sweet. Where do you live?

I live near Union Market, with five other dudes. Not the burger place, but just as much good food.

What is your favorite part about DC?

Probably the small pockets of community you can find in the mess of the crazy workload of the city. My favorite part about it is that because it’s so crazy and busy, you find these small groups of really awesome people who are intentionally looking for community because it’s so hard to find. Since its not normal to have really good community in DC and to have a place of belonging it makes it even more special when you find those pockets.

How did you find your community?

I found a lot of community at IJM and through playing music. The majority of community I found though and the most powerful and special one is at Grace Capital City. Between house church, church, and doing life with all these people its really been fulfilling for me and my walk with Christ.

Is that what drew you into Grace?

The community was definitely part of it. But it was more of a tap on shoulder from Jesus. When I came to visit with a couple friends, within the worship and at the gathering I felt Jesus’ presence in a way that I hadn’t necessarily felt before. I wasn’t used to following God’s calling or feeling that tap on the shoulder and I felt that for the first time. It was like “This is where you’re supposed to be. You are here for a reason.” I didn’t know what that meant but that is what drew me in. When the community kicked in, that’s when I knew why I was supposed to be here.

What is one thing you think everybody should know about DC?

There’s a lot more good than you would think. There’s a lot of people who have more love that they show in small acts of kindness that is not displayed in the media or in the generalization of the culture. You just see people opening the door someone or picking up an older person on the metro if they fall. You can see that people want to be loved and they want to love other people. I actually feel that specifically in DC. There’s a lot of people that have that heart and they just don’t always know how to display it because it is, for whatever reason, not supposed to be shown in a place where ambition is the focus.

What is one thing you want people to know about you?

I’m a mysterious guy. No. Just kidding. I love the ocean. I love long walks on the beach. Short walks on the beach. Strolling on the beach. Jogging on the beach. Sprints on the beach. Basically any sort of beach activity.

What is your catch phrase?

“Don’t put my baby in a corner.” Yeah that’s it. Would you put your baby in a corner? Nobody puts a baby in a corner. Or, “Don’t nickname babies in a corner.”

Wow. That was a heavy ending. Thanks dude.

MAY UPDATE

HEY GUYS!

Jacob here. When I was nineteen years old, I got connected to Grace Fellowship Churches through a series of seemingly random events. However, now I see that God was leading my steps the entire time. During that fall of 2009, my life was dramatically impacted by the culture of worship at Grace and through many of their leaders. During that time I met an Aussie from down under, by the name of Chris who had just moved to Atlanta. I had no idea at the time that I’d be planting a church with him in the Nation’s capital 7 years later! Sometimes life is crazy and unexpected, but it’s a beautiful thing to be a part of.

So far ministry at  Grace Capital City has been amazing. We are growing a lot and are seeing new people experience community, worship, and discipleship. We have been experiencing breakthrough in worship and have had a lot of growth in our ability to seek God together corporately and to worship freely. This weekend we have our first learning intensive to equip and empower people intentionally to hear God’s voice. We’re excited about the how this is going to continue to grow and deepen our community. God has been so faithful to us in the process, and He continues to teach us and grow us along the way as we build something beautiful for the city. I can’t wait to see what God has in store as we prepare to launch in September. Thank you so much for your prayers and support!

Love you guys!
– Jacob Cantrell

 

Meet the Launch Team!

Time to introduce you to some members of our incredible GCC launch team. We have so many amazing people with so many different gifts and passions as part of this community, and this month’s members are no exception.

Let me introduce you to the David & Abby Bernhardt! The Bernhardts grew up in the Virginia/DC area and have recently joined the GCC launch team. Both David & Abby are amazing individuals who have recently started helping lead one of our house churches! We are so excited for Bernhardts to be a part of this community!

Why did you decide to be a part of the GCC launch team?

We heard about Grace Capital City through a good friend who had moved to the DC area with the church from Atlanta. Once we visited GCC and learned more about it, both of us wanted to be apart of this great opportunity.

What do you love about the city of Washington DC and the GCC community?

We love DC because of the friendships that we have developed here. DC is known for being a very high-strung and status-driven area to live in, but through the connections we have made and the opportunities we have been given, we have seen the brighter side of DC.
How would you describe the kind of church community you want to be a part of establishing in DC?

We want to be a part of a church community that is hospitable to everyone intentionally and has a very welcoming atmosphere for all who are new.