A group of Christ's followers who once met in the home of Brian and Trish Workman is now planning to build a church to accommodate the growing number of folks who call Grace Community Church home.
The Delta church is an extension of Grace Community Church Montrose. Brian Workman, pastor, recalls that the local movement began with about 12 couples. They gathered in the living room of his house, while 15 or so kids met in the basement.
Among the church followers was Gregg Hawkins, who was the assistant principal at Delta High School. As the group grew, he suggested the church move to the school cafeteria. After filling out the necessary paperwork, the church began holding Sunday morning worship services at DHS. That was four years ago, and the church has continued to grow. Workman estimates that about 350 people call Grace home.
"When the average church attendance is 98, and on the decline, it's pretty nice to see so many people from our community want to get involved and stay involved with Grace. It's pretty cool to watch."
The ministry team has also expanded and now includes Brian; his wife Trish, director of children's ministry; Jacob Sullivan, worship/associate pastor; Mat Lujan, youth pastor; Lindsey Lujan, youth pastor/office manager; and Brian Anderson, facility director. Church offices are located at 300 Stafford Lane, Suite 30200 (above Aaron's).
In addition to 10 a.m. Sunday worship and activities for children and youth, smaller life groups meet in homes or at venues that support common interests, such as archery and paddleboarding.
With the growth the church has experienced, Workman said it's time to find a permanent home. Plans for a new building are being drawn up while the search continues for a suitable building lot. Acreage off 7th Street previously under consideration was recently crossed off the list due to the cost of infrastructure requirements.
Ideally, Workman said, the church will be located as centrally as possible, because an important component of church ministry is community involvement. "We are continually looking for ways to give back," Workman said. "We want to be a vital part of this town. We also want the building to be available for use by the community," he said.
Regardless of where followers meet, the vision remains the same: "We strive to be a group of people who desire to love God more, and to love one another more."
The church website explains, "We're all at different stages in our faith and commitment. On any given weekend at Grace you'll run into people who have been following Jesus for decades, people who are brand new in their faith, and others who are just exploring their options. We strive to make everyone feel welcomed and loved, regardless of where they're coming from."
Workman himself was not raised in a church-going home, but through his wife was introduced to a life of faith that eventually led to his ministry. A 2000 graduate of Delta High School, he initially studied wildlife biology at Adams State College. He soon realized that wasn't the path God had laid out for him, and he enrolled in an online pastoral program through the Assembly of God Global University. His education continued with Foursquare, a worldwide network of churches that provides a model for the future development of Grace Community Church. Workman recently completed the ministry certification process and will be ordained during a service in January.
The Foursquare model of church development is demonstrated through the extension of Grace Montrose to Grace Delta, and in the future to Gunnison, Ouray/Ridgway and eventually the North Fork area. The church at Ephesus in Turkey developed and multiplied this way (Acts 19-20).
"But we will still be one church, with central leadership that provides resources that might not otherwise be available in smaller towns," Workman said.
Grace Montrose has topped 1,000 followers and continues to grow, even as a portion of disciples broke off to provide a foundation for Grace Delta. When asked if a church can become too large, Workman said the risk in any church is for members and leaders to forget their mission. "A church of any size can lose its way," he said. Being an integral part of the community is a vital way for Grace to keep sight of its goals -- to send and support missionaries, develop a group of healthy churches with a common goal of serving others, share the gospel and pursue Jesus.
"That's how movements gain momentum," he said.
On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the Delta County Board of Commissioners called a special meeting to consider the board's response to the Bureau of Land Management's preliminary Environmental Assessment (EA) concerning the lease parcels proposed for the December BLM sale.
Several people from the North Fork were present to provide input.