GraceConnect E-News, No. 29, Week of January 6, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

SEED Net Branches Out

SEED Net, the project of VisionOhio that has become known for its unique role in planting churches in apartment complexes and low-income communities, has become an independent organization. Still partnering with local churches and VisionOhio, the new corporate standing of SEED Net includes a board of directors who meet four times a year and regional leaders who meet periodically to ask “50,000 foot questions” that focus on the movement and nurture those in the leadership positions.
SEED Net began under the umbrella of Vision Ohio, a Grace Brethren regional church-planting network that helps catalyze local churches to plant other churches. In 2006, VisionOhio member Nathan Wells (then serving as the youth pastor at Ashland Grace Brethren Church) gathered a few others to start intentionally building relationships with the adults living at a low income community nearby. Eastgate Bible Church, the first apartment-complex congregation, grew out of that initiative.
“God put on my heart to keep planting churches,” explains Wells. “Specifically in spiritually, emotionally, economically, and developmentally oppressed areas (SEED). The people living there aren’t just surviving hard times, their lives are oppressed. They are oppressed by their own blatant sin, by fear, godlessness, brokenness, sadness, anger, poverty, and addiction,” said Wells.
SEED Net currently has congregations in ten different apartment complexes from Cleveland to Columbus. They have already been approached by apartment owners and asked to plant churches in more than 300 multi-family dwellings throughout Ohio, a challenge they have tackled head-on.
“The apartment complexes are filled with oppressed people who are in desperate need. And Christ is meeting them there,” continues Wells. “The soil is ripe and the need is great to bring the gospel and plant churches among them that will nurture their souls, and give them a spiritual community in which to thrive and grow. Their walk with Christ is tender and precious. They need the gospel and they need a church.”
SEED Net is funded through gifts from individuals and churches. To learn more about this ministry, see the SEED Net blog. (You also can subscribe to have regular updates sent to your email inbox.)

Kalahari Retreat Impacts Students

This past weekend (January 3-5, 2014) more than 2,000 young people and youth staff from 26 churches from Ohio and Indiana gathered at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, Ohio, for the 9th annual Kalahari Winter Retreat. Clayton King returned as the speaker, with worship led by Exodus, a team from Liberty University. Hundreds of students made decisions to follow Christ, for the first time or as a rededication. To learn more about the events of the weekend, check out the Kalahari Retreat page on Facebook or search Twitter for #Kalahari14. Click here to learn more about the roots of the Kalahari Retreat, which was begun by youth pastors from two Grace Brethren churches.

The testimony below is one that was shown over the weekend. In it, Tyler Trogden shares how last year's retreat impacted his life.


Mark and Cheri Tubbs and family have joined Community of Hope in Surrey, British Columbia (Phil Bryant, pastor). Mark will be serving as pastoral intern over the next year. Mark is a trained educator and has worked in secondary and post-secondary environments. Cheri valiantly spends most of her time raising their four children (Kenny, Lydia, Leo, and Carmandy) and has dreams of owning her own business or operating a Christian retreat house once again one day.

From Around the Web

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

Leadership Development

The Ten Commandments of Equipping -- developed by Tom Julien and recounted on The Church Planter Blog by Kurt Miller.

Integrated Ministries

Awaken Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Virginia Beach, Va. (Michael Pumphrey, pastor), is hosting a marriage retreat January 31 and February 1. The Art of Marriage consists of six video sessions that combine dramatic stories, real-life testimonies, expert interviews, humorous vignettes, and other teaching methods to lay out God’s design for marriage in a fresh, engaging way. 

Church Planting

Core training for seven missions trainees was held last week at the Atlanta headquarters of Encompass World Partners. These individuals are preparing to serve in cross-cultural settings in Africa, Asia, and the United States.

News of Interest

The Volunteer
This week's featured book

The Volunteer

A Personal Toolkit for the Dedicated Volunteer

by Doug Fagerstrom

Every believer has at least one God-given gift, and has the responsibility before God and the community of believers to use that gift. The author believes that volunteering in ministry can be one of the most fulfilling, rewarding, and significant experiences in your life. This guide will energize, encourage, and equip volunteers. It packs a punch both as a guide to the individual volunteer and as an outline for a volunteer retreat or training program.

Regularly $15.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code "volunteer" in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, January 14, 2014.)

Events in the FGBC

January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat, Oaks Conference Center (FGBC)
January 24-25, 2014 â€“ Biblical Foundations of Leadership, Long Beach, Calif. (WGUSA)
January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council Meeting, Seal Beach, Calif. (FGBC)
March 16, 2014 â€“ Prayer Sprint Begins (EWP)
March 17-19, 2014 â€“ South Focus Retreat, location to be announced, (FGBC)
April 25-26, 2014 â€“ Women's Leadership Studies: Equipping Others (WGUSA)
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€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
October 28-November 9, 2014 â€“ Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA
Send events for the calendar to
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