GraceConnect eNews, No. 167, Week of August 29, 2016


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

Creating a Gospel Hub 

Chico Grace Brethren Church in Chico, Calif. (Matthew Raley, lead pastor), is about to embark on a new journey: one that brings the entire family together for learning, and fellowship. Starting this month the church will begin meeting as a body – children and adults alike – on Thursday nights during a gathering called The Hub. This new phase of ministry is a response to the need that many in their congregation expressed for deeper connection within the body.

The idea arose this past spring, while the pastor and staff were brainstorming ways to meet the needs of young families in the church. The pastors had noticed that Sunday morning classes were difficult for families to attend, and so they started discussing other ideas.

“Connected with this question was another issue: Children’s Church,” explains Christopher Raley, director of operations at
Chico Grace Brethren Church. “We asked ourselves, how can we best minister to our children and give them knowledge and skills that can help them in life? How can we get a broad range of ages interacting together?”

Inspired by the story of another church -- who had moved all of their Sunday school classes to an evening class mid-week and experienced an uptake in attendance -- they got to work putting out an informational survey to collect data from the church body. What they found was surprising: 72 percent of those who took the survey were interested in the idea of midweek classes. In fact, the majority of those surveyed said they would be more likely to attend a mid-week class than a Sunday morning one. A change was in order.

“We found that most of [those surveyed] thought it was important that children build relationships with other adults in the body,” said Raley. “While we didn’t think a complete shift…to mid-week classes was a perfect fit for us, the idea of having a dedicated time for our families to come together was intriguing.”

And so the idea of the Hub was born.

“The Hub of a wheel is where all the spokes connect. So it will be on Thursday nights here at the church. Our plan is to have a parenthood class, another adult Life Builder option, activities and teaching for kids, and our newly re-named youth group, Crux. While children’s ‘Sunday school’ will not be held [on Sunday], Children’s Church during the service will continue as it is now with a possible expansion to include children up to fifth grade.”

One of the focuses of The Hub will be teaching children skills they can use to serve Christ in practical ways. For example, Raley notes, instead of just teaching children what communion is, they will be taught how to serve it. Then they will put that skill into practice by serving communion, under the supervision of adult leaders, to their shut-in members of the congregation.  

“Imagine what it would look like if we put this into practice along with other spiritual disciplines: praying aloud, reading Scripture in front of others. We would be teaching our kids spiritual disciplines while providing the opportunities to exercise them. The possibilities for this are huge.”

Send a letter of encouragement to
Pastor Matthew Raley, or Heath Jarrett, director of Christian education at Chico GBC and who is at the helm of the project, by clicking on their names.  

[Your Turn]


In this brief devotional by Nathan Wells, SEEDNet church planter, he meditates on what it means to be known by God ... "arguably the greatest pleasure a human being can experience," he writes. 

"When we believe that Jesus died on the cross for our sins and rose from the dead we become known by God in an intimately personal way. Before we were saved God knew us as His creation but after we are saved God knows us as His children. He knows EVERYTHING and still loves us with a deep, intimate, transforming, never ending love."

Click here to read the rest. 


Brenda Welling and Bess Farrell are retiring from the mission field in Mexico. The below video is a commemoration of their years of service. The two women will be taking 5 months to travel to visit supporters and churches and will settle in Warsaw, Ind. to look for work. Brenda and Bess have missionaries to Mexico with
Encompass World Partners for many years. Click the picture below to watch the video.

Events in the FGBC

September 9-10, 2016   WLS: Soul Care in Leadership, Eagle River, Alaska (WGUSA)
September 26-28, 2016  ​Central Focus Retreat (Oregon, Ohio) (FGBC)
September 30-October 2, 2016   Soul Cry: Prayer Summit, Auburn, Ind. (WGUSA)
October 7-8, 2016   WLS: Soul Care in Leadership, New Holland, Pa. (WGUSA)
October 16, 2016   Day Away: North of 55, Dublin, Ohio (WGUSA)
October 17-19, 2016  ​East Focus Retreat (Ocean City, Md.) (FGBC)
November 11-12, 2016   WLS: Equipping Others for Ministry, Marysville, Ohio (WGUSA)
November 20, 2016   Day Away: North of 55, Duncansville, Pa. (CEN)

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

Send events for the calendar to
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