GraceConnect E-News, No. 45, Week of April 28, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

Surfing and Skating for Jesus

Jason had been praying for one convert in the year 2013. Just one.

On December 30, 2013, he was sitting in his office at Suntree Grace Brethren Church in Melbourne, Fla., when there was a knock on the church door.

“It was a neighbor of one of the families in our church,” he explained. “She said, ‘Jason you don’t know me, but …I need religion.’

‘You don’t need religion,’ I told her. ‘You need Jesus.’”

And that’s when God answered the final request on his 2013 prayer list.

That’s only one of the stories that Jason Brown, senior pastor at Suntree Grace Brethren Church has about what God has been doing in his church and community. It all started the day he chased down a tenth grader in the parking lot.

In early 2013, a member donated a skate park to the church. Positioned in a thriving community with an active skateboard and surf culture, the congregation began to brainstorm ways to develop this sizable gift into a ministry.

“One day during church office hours, there were some high school kids skating in the parking lot,” explained Brown. “We ran out to meet them and they started running away! We chased them down and explained that someone donated a skate park and we’re looking for people to use it.”

That event – and the people they met that day - was the seed for a ministry to teenagers that blossomed into a unique surfing and skating community and the linchpin for the growth of ministry at Suntree Church. Melbourne is located on Florida's Space Coast, with close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean.

The club meets on Wednesday nights for fun and fellowship. “Our objective on Wednesdays is primarily discipleship,” said Brown. “We skate at 5 p.m. and at 6 we meet inside for a Bible study, walking some of the young people through the basics of biblical beliefs. On Saturdays, if the waves are good, we will surf and if the waves are bad we will go fishing.”

With this ministry as the seed, Suntree Grace Brethren has experienced growth, numerically and otherwise. But, as Pastor Brown is quick to tell you, it’s not about the numbers.

“Our objective isn’t to grow into a monstrosity but rather to reproduce some of the small church attraction in other areas around Melbourne,” he stressed. They planted their first church last year.

“Because our numbers grew so rapidly, we put two men in our church on track for leadership development, but I also see massive opportunities for planting a series of churches that are neighborhood-oriented.

“We decided to keep our church a blank piece of paper. We look for ways to follow wherever Jesus is going instead of running ahead of him. It’s to highlight the work that Jesus has done in the body of believers rather than the body of our building.”


Dan and Judi WhiteDan White has retired as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, York, Pa. He, with his wife, Judi, have served there since 1986. (They are in the photo at right.)

Word has been received of the death of 
Daniel Frederick Pettman, 62, of Bedford, Va., on March 1, 2014. He and his wife, Grace, served in Brazil with Grace Brethren International Missions (now Encompass World Partners) from 1981 to 1986. Click here for a complete obituary.

From Around the Web

A few links of interest from Grace Brethren churches…

Dr. Jared Burkholder, chair, Department of History and Political Science at Grace College, writes on the Pietist Schoolman, "Should Christian Scholars be Watchdogs? An Interview with David Barton Critic Warren Throckmorton."

Integrated Ministries

Why are students so interested in this social justice stuff!? Ashton Rank, who serves on the Child Sponsorship Team for CPR-3, shares tips on how to get involved in social justice.


Church Planting

Watch this humorous Send Me Update from John Ward and Christa Robles of Encompass World Partners. (Also, check out their new redesigned webpage!)

Josh Lehman will be joining Grasslands Church (Medicine Hat, Alberta) for five weeks (in June and July) to lead worship at their weekend gatherings.
Listen to some of his music here.
Parents with Broken Hearts
This week's featured book:

Parents with Broken Hearts

by William Coleman

Regularly $13.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code "Love" in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, May 6, 2014.)

On sale now!

Has your heart, or the heart of someone close to you, been broken by the destructive choices your adult children have made?  In this practical handbook, licensed counselor Bill Coleman helps you accept what has happened to your family, stop blaming yourself, regain peace of mind, and enjoy a fulfilling life despite your pain. Hope and healing are available for every parent who has suffered a broken heart.  Read and be healed.
Regularly $13.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!
Simply enter the code "Love" in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, May 6, 2014.)

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
Copyright © 2014, GraceConnect (Brethren Missionary Herald Company), All rights reserved. *


We are located at:
1104A Kings Highway, Winona Lake, IN 46590

Our mailing address is:
Box 544, Winona Lake, IN 46590

 unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences  forward to a friend