GraceConnect E-News, No. 46, Week of May 5, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

From One Pastor to Another: Don't Give Up! 

 â€œWithout a doubt God called me into the ministry. I have no option really. That’s why I keep on doing it.”
 
This June, Bill Smith (pictured at right) will celebrate 67 years of ministry. He has pastored eight Grace Brethren congregations, served 20 years as an evangelist, and five years as the director of evangelism for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, as well as more than six years coaching church planters with the now-defunct Grace Brethren Home Missions. He is currently pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Brooksville, Fla., commuting an hour from Lakeland, Fla., where he lives with his wife, Phyllis.
 
“I grew up in Washington D.C. and at 10 or 11 years of age my parents started attending First Brethren Church in Washington D.C., pastored by Dr. Homer Kent, Sr.,” he reminisces. “I was saved when I was about 12 years old. I had good, strong Bible preaching and during the ministry of Bernard Schneider, I gave my life to full-time service. I was 17.
 
“I started preaching pretty soon after that. I felt God was calling me to ministry so I contacted the local jail, in downtown Washington D.C., and went there and preached.”
 
Bill’s passion for ministry only grew. He attended American University and Grace Theological Seminary, preaching on the weekends all the way through school. He was ordained in 1952 and met his wife, the former Phyllis Schumacher, in 1954. They were married in 1955. In 1958, in between evangelistic ministries he took his first pastorate in Compton, Calif.
 
Currently, God is blessing his small flock at Brooksville Grace. A relatively small church, Smith says that the Brooksville congregation includes many young couples and children (a sign, he says, of a thriving church).
 
There are spiritual children as well. “We have new people coming to the church every month,” explains Smith. And he takes his role as leader of his flock very seriously. “I’m in the word of God every day – I have to be. I give an invitation every Sunday. I’m continually witnessing.
 
“These young couples come to our church and they are blessed. Some of them have gotten saved and they start telling their friends. It’s the old story that the people themselves are bringing in the congregation. It’s New Testament Christianity.”
 
Smith has a passionate heart to encourage other pastors in their ministries. “I went to a pastor’s luncheon about four months ago, and there was a young man there who was very discouraged,” he explains. “He was about ready to leave the pastorate. I encouraged him to stick with it. ‘Don’t even think of giving up!’ I told him. ‘Don’t leave the ministry. Satan wants you to give up.  I’m almost 88 years old, and I’ve been in the ministry all these years. I wouldn't think of wanting to give up.’"
 
That’s why his story needs to be told.

“I’m thankful," he notes. "Not about ‘Bill Smith,’ but about the goodness of the Lord. I stand back and thank Him every day…he’s the one that’s doing the work.”

From Around the Web

A few links of interest from Grace Brethren churches…

On May 03, 2014, the life of Dorothy Beaver was celebrated in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. (The former Grace Brethren missionary and seminary professor's wife died March 28 at the age of 94.) The services were held at the Legends Assisted Living home where Dorothy spent the last years of her life with her husband of 70 years, Wayne Beaver. The video below was shown at the service.


News and images from the Central African Republic

The crisis in the Central African Republic, where Grace Brethren missionaries have ministered for years (including Wayne and Dorothy Beaver), continues to loom. Here are a few reports, which provide poignant reminders to continue to pray for our brothers and sisters there.

The Central African Republic: A Photo Journey (United Nations OCHA)

Central African Republic: Three MSF workers among sixteen unarmed civilians killed at Boguila Hospital (The hospital formerly housed the Grace Brethren medical work. It is now operated by Doctors Without Borders.)

Bangui, Central African Republic, has been a war zone since December 5, 2013. When the shooting broke out, many fled to the airport where the French military base is located. At one point more than 100,000 people were living there. On Sunday, May 4, instead of gunfire, JOY broke out at the as believers from various denominations of like faith worshiped together. Check out the video below.
Make the Bible Live
This week's featured book:

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by Glenn O'Neal

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The vitality of the church depends on how effectively pastors and teachers communicate the Word of God and how they relate it to the needs of the people. This book is a practical guide to preparing an expository sermon or lesson. It provides tips for organizing the sermon and guidelines for gathering material, in addition to suggestions for planning a preaching program.
 
Regularly $3.50, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off, plus FREE SHIPPING!

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Events in the FGBC

May 10, 2014 -- Commencement (GCS)
May 19-21, 2014 – Northwest Focus Retreat, Camp Clear Lake, Wash. (FGBC)
June 27-July 3, 2014 – Encounter ATL (EWP)
July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision Conference 2014, Washington, D.C.(FGBC)
June 22-27 â€“ National Rendezvous Camp, Burr Oak State Park, Ohio (GBB)
July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
July 29-August 11 â€“ National Timothy Adventure (GBB)
October 3-4 â€“ Homecoming (GCS)
November 11-24, 2014 â€“ Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBB â€“ Grace Brethren Boys
GCS – Grace College and Seminary
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA

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