GraceConnect eNews, No. 177, Week of November 7, 2016

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
At Eastside Grace Brethren Church, community members can get their cars fixed for free during an event put on by the church called #Eastsideoutside. 

EastSideOutside

In early 2015, the leaders at East Side Grace Brethren Church in Blacklick, Ohio, started talking about practical ways to turn the focus of their church outward through various ministries. They dubbed this new initiative #EastSideOutside.

“Some of [the ministries] were familiar: intentional nursing home visits, and home bound people, yard work for families, that sort of thing,” says Chip Heim, pastor at East Side.

Then the adult ministry pastor at East Side, John Harmony, presented a unique idea: offer car care available at no charge one night a week during the fall and spring seasons, offering services such as oil changes and repair jobs, along with a cookout while the community members waited for the repairs. All of this would be offered for free.

Heim was skeptical, but agreed that the idea had its advantages. The church owns a property next to the church building where the previous owner had operated a trucking company. It included multiple garages, which would make fixing several vehicles at once much less difficult. Also, getting the word out would be easy:

“We are on the most recognizable road in the entire county,” notes Heim, of their East Broad Street location. “On any given day, thousands of cars pass by.”

So, they set a date and time. For eight weeks after Labor Day, Wednesdays from 6-8:30 p.m. would be open for the community to bring their cars for repair. They put up signs, raised money, garnered volunteers… and waited. Heim expected one or two cars that first night, and was surprised when instead almost a dozen families showed up. And they kept coming.

They made the event accessible to whole families with a bounce house, sidewalk chalk for kids, tables where people could eat outside as they waited for their repairs, and a car wash run by youth group members and elders alike. The resulting event garnered church-wide volunteers and had the air of a festival.

“People are sitting down eating together with others that they don’t know, and everybody leaves satisfied,” notes Heim. And he could tell that it was meeting a real need in the community as well.

“The church members [who volunteer] see the value of it. They can tell the people who come are here because they can’t get the car fixed. They know they’re doing something that’s really helping.”

The church closed up their third season of the outreach having repaired a total of over 300 cars – far more than Heim ever expected. The last event was November 2, (pictured at right) when the church put on a special rib dinner to celebrate a successful season with the community. Another session will open up in the spring.

Although the temptation may have been to use the event to add notches to their church attendance numbers, Heim stresses that serving and loving the people in the community around them is their real goal:

“If people come to the church as a result, that’s great, but that’s not why we’re doing it. It cheapens what we’re doing. We’re trying not to have in our mindset that we’re not offering free car care so we get people in the church door. We’re doing it because it has value in of itself.”


[Connect:]

Send Pastor Heim a note of encouragement and find out how you can pray for the ministry by emailing him
here

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[Your Turn]


[Read:]

“There is no possible way for man to fully understand God. Yet, this is exactly what God has called us to do; we are to seek after Him. In the process of seeking after God, man has become very good at bringing God down to his own level, making the uncommon common and the spectacular just ordinary.”

Dr. Carl H. Snyder, pastor at Grace Chapel of Southern Maryland in Mechanicsville, Md. is the author of a book entitled, "Acceptable Worship," which explores the biblical teachings about worship, both individual and corporate. Click here to find out more about Dr. Snyder and purchase his book here

[Sing:]

"When we sing as a congregation, don’t let the words simply fly in one ear and out the other. Although not all songs are created equally, many of them hold profound biblical truths that are encapsulated in easy to remember words. Learn from the masters. Whether it’s the songs you hear at church, on the radio, or from your own personal library, remember that words have power. Let them transform you and let them stick with you."


In this post, Danny Nathan, worship leader at Grace Polaris Church in Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), explores the meaning of the words in Charles Wesley's well-known hymn, "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." In the post, he fleshes out the words of the old hymn into fresh language that displays the Gospel message at the heart of the song.  

Click here to read the rest of the post. 
 
[Leader's Corner:]

Looking for inspiration as a small group leader? Josh Howard, communication arts pastor at Movement Church in Columbus, Ohio, (Mark Artrip, lead pastor) recently started a podcast geared towards leaders of small groups (called Movement Groups at Movement Church).

The goal of the podcast is, according to Howard, to "help encourage you as a group leader by hearing from other leaders who are right in the trenches with you. Each month we will hear about the wins, struggles and tensions each leader goes through while focusing on one leadership principle that leaders can grow in and apply."

Click here to be directed to the podcast. (Scroll to the bottom of the page to view and listen to the podcast episodes.)

Events in the FGBC

November 11-12, 2016   WLS: Equipping Others for Ministry, Marysville, Ohio (WGUSA)
January 30-February 1, 2017   Southwest Focus Retreat,  (FGBC)
March 13-15, 2017   South Focus Retreat, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
May 22-24, 2017   Northwest Focus Retreat, White Pass, Wash. (FGBC)
July 18-23, 2017   Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN)
July 25- 27, 2017   Access 2017, (national conference) Fremont, Ohio (FGBC)

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

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