Elder Updates – 05.17.15 – Forum Recap: Newport Campus

May 17, 2015


5.12ForumWe had one of our most well attended & exciting Elder Forums ever on Tuesday! In case you missed it, here’s a brief (very brief) recap of what was discussed concerning GFC Newport.

“Facts are our friends.” Things can oftentimes seem or feel different than they really are, so it’s helpful to go with something objective. Thankfully, after holding worship services at the Levee for over two years now, we have two years of history to look back on. I’ll spare you the details (but you can view full PowerPoint presentation below). The bottom line was this: although GFC Newport is reaching people, and people are plugging in, we thought it wise to consider strategic “next steps” to increase her reach for the long haul.

 A Team of Staff assembled to prayerfully and diligently mine the data, solicit outside help, and decide what changes might be best to make at this point in time (the team was Peter LaRuffa, Todd Richmond, Brad Bigney, Ken Long & Brad Spence).

A Purpose was clarified: GFC Newport is a regional campus reaching new people with the Gospel; the lost unto salvation, the saved unto sanctification.

“Regional” acknowledges the fact that our draw thus far has not been from one specific community or neighborhood, but tends to draw from a larger region. Most folks at Newport drive between 15-25 minutes on average to church. This does not mean we cease ministering on a local level by any means, but that our primary focus will be to minister to the needs of the people God brings us throughout the region.

“New people” means just that. We long to see people reached with the saving and sanctifying Gospel of Jesus Christ. Reaching new people is a “win.”

Change of Venue – While we’re grateful for what God has blessed us with at the Levee, we think ministry would be enhanced if there were a place we could call our own for more than a few hours on a Sunday. The place that has risen to the top is at 90 Alexandria Pike, Fort Thomas, KY. We will hold worship services in the Highlander Event Center (this would be set up and torn down each week), but would also lease three retail units (totaling 4,500 square feet) where we could hold Nursery Ministry & Sunday School classes for kids & adults, as well as use the space throughout the week for counseling, Small Groups, Ladies Bible study, and offices. In particular, we’d like to start our own Student Ministry.

Presence – The vast majority of the times I’m not at the Newport campus is due to my preaching at the Florence campus. Effective Sep, 2015 through Dec, 2016, I will no longer preach at Florence. This increases my presence at Newport by about 67%.

Video & Live Preaching Combo – The campus should transition from an all-video venue, to one that incorporates both forms of teaching. In 2016, approx. 19 Sundays/year would be live preaching (more than 1/month), and the rest would be via video.

Sabbatical for Pastor Peter – After having delayed my Sabbatical two times now, I look forward to taking a Sabbatical this Summer, and coming back to launch what will be the Fort Thomas campus of Grace Fellowship Church. I’ll return to work mid-August, and look forward to preparing to launch in mid-September.

Sabbatical for GFC Newport Campus – Since Pastor Peter’s Sabbatical coincides with a major transition time for the Newport Campus, we think it would be beneficial for the Newport campus to go on a Sabbatical of sorts as well, worshiping at the Florence campus over the Summer during this transitional period.

  • Serve Teams will have the opportunity to rest, refocus, recharge, and prepare to go full steam ahead in September when it comes time to launch in Fort Thomas.
  • Guest Speakers will be at Florence that many may prefer to see in person while they are with us.
  • Minimizes impact on staff & volunteers to fill in for Pastor Peter while he’s gone.
  • Preparing to launch is easier at Florence because of the facility and service options. Meetings could be held on Sunday mornings, whereas Newport doesn’t currently offer that option so there would be several meetings scheduled on weekday evenings.
  • Money could be saved and put towards build-out of new space and any other costs associated with launching in Fort Thomas (approx. $10,000 would be saved that is budgeted for the rent we pay in Newport). 

(We realize that there was not much time for dialogue on this recommendation that Newport takes a pause over the summer. If you have thoughts or comments, please pass them on to toddrichmond@graceky.org ,call Todd at the church or comment below.)

I was so thankful for the many people who came out to the Forum. The questions were great, the input was insightful, the suggestions were helpful, I could go on and on (but we already did that for about 1 hour 40 minutes on Tuesday, so I’ll stop here).

I hope this helps you get a glimpse of what we discussed on Tuesday night. Please continue to think & pray about the above, and also how you might be involved come Fall! We’ll have more details re: that over the Summer months as the launch date approaches. It’ll be here before we know it!


Pastor Peter




Contact the Elders HERE.