GraceConnect E-News, No. 9, Week of August 19, 2013
The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
A pastor visiting the GraceConnect office this week commented on how church life revolves around the school year schedule. "You always want a big re-set in the fall," he said, as he told how his congregation, led by their youth, spent a recent Sunday afternoon and evening at an area beach. The day help draw the church members together and be prepared for the year ahead.

Many congregations in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches are in re-set mode this month. The summer months that were marked with vacation Bible school, church camp, and warm-weather celebrations peaked with Momentum Youth Conference and Vision2020 South. It's an opportunity to evaluate how a church does life together, so we've included a story about how one congregation uses Life Groups to encourage the building of relationships while spurring spiritual growth.

This week's featured product is The Book of the Revelation. Regularly priced at $17.99, the book is 50% off only for subscribers of GraceConnect eNews! This is a great resource for students of the Bible and particularly for those who are interested in the end times.

If you enjoy this newsletter, would you forward it to one friend within your church and encourage them to subscribe? It's the best way to stay connected with news, ministries, and events within congregations of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC).

Doing Life Together

The concept of Adult Bible Fellowship—or ABF, as they are often abbreviated—has been around for a while. (Former Grace Brethren pastor, Knute Larson, is credited with coining the term.) An ABF is exactly what it sounds like. Adults meet together and study the Bible.
Pastor Dave Holmes and the people of Centerville Grace Church in Centerville, Ohio decided to try a variation on the traditional ABF, which they call Life Groups.
They began with a format where a group begins, then divides when it becomes too large. “We weren’t really enjoying that model because we really weren’t seeing a lot of people want to jump into an existing group,” Holmes explains.
They decided to try an approach suggested by Nelson Searcy, an evangelical pastor who writes in the area of church growth. “You meet for 12 weeks, and then you take a break for a month,” says Holmes. “That month is designed to promote and plan for the next Life Group. Everybody starts fresh and there’s a clear end date and a clear start date.”
Life Groups differ from ABFs in purpose as well as structure, Holmes explains. At Centerville, the ABFs were teacher-and-lecture-focused, whereas Life Groups put more emphasis on relationships. They also meet in homes. “There’s more of a familial sense inside a home than a church classroom,” says the pastor.
“In Life Groups, you get together. You share prayer requests, you eat together,” Holmes adds. “We ask our Life Groups to do a service project together and spend one night playing together—do a bowling activity or whatever—just to hang out.”
According to Holmes, 60 to 65 percent of the Centerville Grace Church congregation is currently involved in Life Groups. He hopes to see that number reach 100 percent over time. – by Andrea Skowronski

Subscribe to GraceConnect Magazine 

The Summer 2013 issue of GraceConnect magazine was the final issue to be mailed in bulk at no charge to churches. However, it doesn't mean we are discontinuing the magazine. We will continue to mail the magazine -- for free -- to individuals. It will contain thought-provoking articles that contribute to the Grace Brethren conversation in North America.

If you'd like to receive your personal subscription to GraceConnect magazine, click here.

The Fall 2013 issue of the magazine will be in the mail during the first week of October.

If you are interested in writing for GraceConnect -- the magazine, web site, or eNews, please contact Liz Cutler Gates, editor.

Pastors on the Move

Todd and Deb McQueenTodd McQueen has joined the staff of Grace Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Sebring, Fla., where he will serve as Assistant to the Pastor. According to Pastor Randy Smith, "in the coming year, Todd will be in Great Commission Bible Institute classes, and participating in a home grown leadership development and equipping program put together by Pastor Matt Wheelock." Todd and his wife, Deb (in photo), have relocated to Sebring from Winona Lake, Ind., where he was a student at Grace Theological Seminary.

The Book of the Revelation
This week's featured product

The Book of the Revelation

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By Lehman Strauss

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Simply enter the code Revelation in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, August 28, 2013.)

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"Genesis is the book of commencement; Revelation is the book of consummation," says Lehman Strauss, a highly regarded pastor and Bible conference speaker, in the introduction to this book.

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Events in the FGBC

August 24 â€“ Student Activities Board Beach Day (GCS)
September 4-16 â€“ Argentine Ministry Trip (WGUSA)
September 18  â€“ Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN)
September 29 â€“ Prayer Sprint (EWP)
October 7-9 â€“ Central Focus Retreat (FGBC, Maumee Bay State Park, Ohio)
October 21-23 â€“ East Focus Retreat (FGBC, Ocean City, Md.)
November 3 â€“ Day of Generosity (EWP)
November 5 – Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN)
November 15-16, 2013 – Women's Leadership Class, Wooster, Ohio (WGUSA)
January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC, location to be announced)
January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council (FGBC, location to be announced)
July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)

CEN – CE National
EPW â€“ Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GCS  â€“  Grace College & Seminary
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA
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