GraceConnect E-News, No. 59, Week of August 4, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
The Happy Church in Jackson, Ky., does outreach to the children and teens of the community.

Bible Quizzes and Food Baskets: Sharing Joy at the Happy Church 

The Happy Church, a Grace Brethren Church in Jackson, Ky. (Mike Tabor, pastor), runs 15 ministries geared toward teaching lasting skills and positive attitudes in adults and, especially, children. These ministries include weekly Bible studies; food baskets, where adults can work an hour in exchange for a meal; Happy Soles, a back-to-school ministry that provides kids with shoes, backpacks, and winter clothes; lessons and tutoring in musical instruments and various theatre projects; and Bible Quizzing, among many others. 

Bible quizzing is perhaps The Happy Church’s most important discipleship tool, said Tabor, mainly because of the values it subtly imparts. Any child or teenager who decides to quiz automatically receives a good meal—and a dose of immediate gratification. Then, for every verse they memorize, the quizzers win “happy cash,” which they can spend at the church’s thrift store. That thrift store, however, is only open once a month, so quizzers must wait to redeem their prize. Thus, they learn the concept of delayed gratification along the way.

Once the team has earned the right to compete, they are treated to a special outing like ice skating or Jump Zone. Of course, the real prize comes when “they’re competing against kids who [the quizzers] think are smarter or rich or whatever. As they compete,” said Tabor, “they find out that they’re just as capable to not just compete but to excel.”

Long-term benefits include higher grades in school “because [the quizzers] realize they can memorize, and they can do well, even though they may have drug-addict parents or live in difficult circumstances. They see that they’re capable.”

Among the Bible quizzing success stories, Tabor spoke of a girl—the first in her family—to graduate from high school.


Another young boy, who had a serious speech impediment, desperately wanted to quiz. He joined the team. Every time he answered a question, however, no one understood him. 

“He’d start crying,” said Tabor, who initially had doubts about the little boy’s ability to participate. The boy was afraid to talk and wouldn't talk outside of quizzing, Tabor recalled. “But he kept at it, and we encouraged and encouraged and encouraged him. After six months,” Tabor said, “the school teacher said to [the little boy’s] mom, ‘What have you been doing? He’s talking to other kids. His speech has gotten a lot better.’ And she said, ‘He’s been going to Happy Church and doing Bible quizzing.’ And the boy chirps up and says, ‘I have five ribbons and won two trophies!’”

Bringing Christ to Jackson, Ky., is an everyday challenge for The Happy Church. “This is long and slow and hard. There is no three- to five-year plan,” said Tabor. “This is a generational plan.

“You have to say 'no' all the time,” he continued. “People want help with their water bills, electric bills, and we just can’t do it. We have to understand that it’s okay sometimes to say 'no', but [we] gotta' do it with the right intentions. Sometimes, when you give stuff to impoverished thinkers,” Tabor said, “you’re actually confirming in their minds that they’re worthless and unable to take care of themselves. You have to try to find ways where people earn what they need.” 

Tabor credited God for guiding The Happy Church’s ministries: “God’s helped us. He’s given us the ideas that we could put to use. We’re constantly telling people,” Tabor concluded, “that we're just trying to figure out what God wants us to do not mess it up too bad.” -- by Marisa Vogel

From Around the Web...

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that you might find of interest…

Momentum 2014 was a phenomenal week of revival and spiritual commitment for more than 2,000 attendees. Read CE National's official recap from the week by clicking here

Follow Grace Brethren Boys during their first Timothy Adventure in Alaska by visiting their Facebook page.


Keith Minier announces that Tim Farrant is joining the staff of Grace Fellowship, a Grace Brethren congregation in Pickerington, Ohio, as executive pastor.

 
Heroes Who Live One (Volumes 1, 2, and 3)
This week's featured book

Revelation: The Grand Finale
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Regularly priced at $14.99, Revelation: The Grand Finale is on sale for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews ONLY at 50 percent off! Simply enter the coupon, FeinbergRev, when you check out. Click here to order now. (Price good through August 12, 2014.)

Events in the FGBC

July 29-August 11 – National Timothy Adventure (GBB)
September 15-17 – Northwest Focus Retreat, Camp Clear Lake, Wash. (FGBC)
October 6-8 – Central Focus Retreat, Maumee Bay State Park, Oregon, Ohio (FGBC)
October 17-19  Leadership Summit (WGUSA)
October 20-22  – East Focus Retreat, Holiday Inn and Suites, Ocean City, Md. (FGBC)
November 11-24 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)
January 26-28, 2015  –  Southwest Focus Retreat, location to be announced (FGBC)
March 16-18, 2015 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
July 14-15, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN)
July 23-25, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC)

CEN   – CE National
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBB – Grace Brethren Boys
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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