GraceConnect E-News, No. 82, Week of January 12, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
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Over, Under, and Beyond the Pulpit 

“Sometimes the most powerful work within the church happens outside its walls."

Pretty good quote, huh? I’m thinking about patenting it. When I say it, I’m referring to the Southview Grace Brethren Church of Ashland, Ohio. Over the last twelve years at Southview, I have been sprinkled in Sunday school, youth group, and sermons. I recall, especially during the turbulent teen years, the words of the Bible and God’s character becoming more real to me each week. My pastors and peers alike helped to feed me spiritually, making me all the hungrier for it. I was baptized by our then-pastor, Larry Edwards and my youth group leader, Mark Abel, when I was 16.

Southview is a  solid brick building with a modest congregation, garnering an attendance of several hundred on a good weekend. My family and I bounced around several houses of worship before we pinpointed on the message being delivered at Southview, despite it being such a small church.

Southview may be small, but the staff and congregation work hard to offer leadership in any age group that walks through the doors. There’s BLAST, a Sunday School program for kids, the Women’s Titus 2 Bible study, and weekly potlucks in the modest fellowship hall. From secretary Sue to our high school puppet team, Acting Up, everyone is encouraged to be involved. And all those options and opportunities are great to find in any church because fellowship is part of the Christian faith.

Yet the Bible studies and the weekly gatherings aren’t the snaps of memory that come to me when I look back on our family’s years in attendance. Rather, it’s the times I spent outside the walls of Southview, spreading our ministry to people near and far.

I can still taste the pear baby food I was forced to swallow at youth group initiation. That and cramming eight squirming bodies into a complete stranger’s bath tub during the annual Christmas scavenger hunt. I recall hauling a whole household of furniture into a family’s new home; and praying with a teary-eyed mother afterwards. Then there’s reliving the Bible stories I told the kids in a 4-foot-x-4-foot Sunday School room in Washington D.C., only to find out later that a couple of adults had been listening, captivated, outside the doorway.

The point here is this: the leaders and members of Southview have created a mission field that continues to be nurtured outside the walls of their church. Larry Edwards preached it in his time as pastor and Mark Abel, his successor, does the same: the people in their pews already have the glory of God inside them-- now it’s their job to take that glory, that hope and love, and present it to someone who hasn’t witnessed it yet. -- by Haley Bradfield

Haley Bradfield is a 2013 graduate of Grace College & Theological Seminary. She emphasizes her love for God as much as her love of writing. She is currently working at an internship in downtown Indianapolis. Send Haley a note of encouragment at haleybradfield13@gmail.com.

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[Your Turn]


Read: Danny J. Wright, pastor at Grace Church in Greenville, Ohio, reviews the book Everyone’s a TheologianAn Introduction to Systematic Theology by RC Sproul. Click here to read the review. If you enjoy reading and learning about theology, this post will get you started!

Connect: Samantha Troughton of Grace Community Church in Mississauga, Ontario (Bartley Sawatsky, lead pastor), will be spending the next six months ministering in Haiti. Follow her Facebook blog, facebook.com/thehaitiexperiencefor pictures, updates and prayer requests and/or to send her a note of encouragement
 
  [#GraceConnectsUs]      
 What is one way you have seen grace in action  this week? Hashtag #GraceConnectsUs on  Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram for a chance to  be featured in our newsletter! 
[Laymen's Corner] Sometimes God uses innovative tools to help people grow in practical ways. RightNow Media is a powerful online media library that recently introduced to the Grace Polaris congregation. Pastor Beau Stanley of Grace Polaris (Mike Yoder, lead pastor) says, "One woman in our congregation who recently shared that she and her husband may use this technology to do the first Bible study they've done together in over two decades of marriage."

Email Pastor Beau at beau.stanley@gracepolaris.org to get an invitation to sign up for RightNow Media.

Events in the FGBC

January 16-17 WLS Class: Soul Care, Winona Lake, Ind. (WGUSA)
January 23-24
– WLS Class: Spiritual Formation, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 23-25  Kalahari Winter Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio
January 26-28 –  Southwest Focus Retreat, The Oaks, Lake Hughes, Calif. (FGBC)
March 16-18 – South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Training Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 20-21 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA) 
April 24-25 – WLS Class: Women and Scripture, Cedar Rapids, Iowa (WGUSA) 
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBC – Grace Brethren Canada
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

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