Language & Culture

What do we mean by the words we use?

Sociologists will tell you that language creates culture. The words we use in community will shape the community, for better or for worse. We can see this in the New Testament and in the life of the early church. Therefore, here at Grantham Church we want our language to be reflective of biblical theology and our desire to make disciples of Jesus in our own American context.

Our leadership believes we need a “discipling language” to create a disciple-making culture. And so, we seek to be intentional with the words we use so that our congregation is Christ-centered, and we are cultivating a Kingdom community amid a broken, divided, and polarized world.

The following list of words reflects some of our common language at Grantham Church. This webpage is a concise collection of terms intended to help members and visitors understand what we mean by the words we use, and it serves as an invitation to adopt this language that we believe is creating a unique disciple-making culture at Grantham Church.


Who is Jesus?

Jesus is God in the flesh. He is the Messiah, the Son sent by the Father. He lived a sinless life. He taught and showed us how to be fully human. He was crucified for our sins, was raised to life on the third day, ascended, and will someday return to judge the living and the dead. He is Savior and Lord over all creation. We can learn about Jesus through the gospels of the New Testament. We can know Jesus personally and follow him as a disciple through the power of the Holy Spirit.

What is a disciple?

Disciples are people in community who—empowered by the Holy Spirit—are growing to love, follow, and lead others to the God who looks like Jesus. For more on this definition, check out this helpful sermon series called, We Are Disciples.

What does “the God who looks like Jesus” mean?

Jesus perfectly reveals God the Father to us. Jesus is what God is like and has always been like. We’ve not always known this, but we know it now through the God-man, Jesus Christ. Jesus is the full and final revelation of God. Therefore, we seek to obey his teachings and commands.

What is the gospel?

The “good news” story of how God has been at work in the world in ages past and is now redeeming it in Jesus Christ, who will someday return to bring the fullness of the Kingdom. The gospel is God’s gift of grace, forgiveness, and redemption in Jesus. We are “saved” and believe in the gospel when we confess Christ as Savior and Lord and welcome the Kingdom of God.

What is the Kingdom of God?

The reign and rule of God on the earth, which always looks like Jesus (e.g., loving God, loving neighbors, loving enemies, healing, restoring, reconciling, self-sacrifice, Spirit-filled living, giving to the poor and needy, peacemaking, showing mercy, doing justice, etc.). For more on the gospel of the Kingdom, check out this sermon series on the topic.

What does it mean to be intergenerational?

An intergenerational church is a faith community that welcomes all generations to learn, worship, and grow alongside each other in the life of the congregation. To be intergenerational is to see the value of children, youth, adults, and seniors all sharing life together in Christ.

What does it mean to be convergent?

A convergent church is a faith community that is purposefully holding ancient and traditional forms of worship together with modern and contemporary expressions. Rather than choose a style of worship or liturgy to satisfy personal preferences, convergent worship values the movement of the Spirit in the past and in the present, as God invites us into his good future.

What does it mean to be Third Way?

The Third Way means we are purposely pursuing a loving way to address injustice in our world and work for more of the Kingdom without mixing the gospel with partisan politics in the process. The Third Way is a gospel-centered approach to political and religious differences that is rooted in the example of Jesus. For a more detailed definition, read this short article.

What is a Centered-Set Church?

A Centered-Set Church discerns who belongs to the faith community by observing people’s relationship with the center—Jesus Christ. The group includes all whose hearts are oriented toward the center. Their common pursuit of Jesus brings unity. There is space to struggle and fail because we believe that everyone is in process—moving closer to the center. A centered-set approach remedies the problems of a bounded (legalistic) church that motivate a fuzzy (liberal) church to blur boundaries and give up on historic Christian beliefs. For more on being a centered-set congregation, check out this sermon series called, Christ the Center.

What is an Anabaptist?

The first “Anabaptists” were a scattered and diverse group of 16th century separatists who first originated in Switzerland. They wanted a radical reformation of the church that went far beyond the reforms of Protestantism (e.g., separation of church and state, believer’s baptism, belief in peacemaking and non-violence, strict adherence to the teachings of Jesus, etc.). While there are many Anabaptist denominations in the world today, there are also Christians who belong to other traditions who resonate with Anabaptism. Anabaptism is a major theological stream of the Brethren in Christ Church, which is the denomination that Grantham Church calls home.

What does “working the triangle” mean?

We seek to foster and develop connections with Jesus (Up), the church (In), and the world (Out). We call this “working the triangle” at Grantham Church. Our hope is that each person will be nurturing their personal relationship with God, growing in community with other Christians, and living out their faith in the places that God has put us in the world.

What does “working the spaces” mean?

There are different spaces that we engage with on the path of discipleship. Jesus operated in public, social, personal, and intimate spaces. We recognize that the social dynamic of each space is uniquely different, and that Jesus invites us to come closer to him by “working the spaces” and growing in our faith with other disciples. Check out these helpful images.

How can we connect with you? What questions can we help answer?