GraceConnect E-News, No. 19, Week of October 28, 2013


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

An Eye to the Future

This week's eNews looks to the future, with stories about reaching the next generation for Jesus Christ, opportunities to "Shape the Future" of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches, and a video clip about an aging congregation that knew it needed to stay relevant in a changing world. 
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).

A Club with Good News

God has been working in amazing ways at Pleasant Grove Grace Brethren Church, a congregation outside North English, Iowa. From paving the way for the formation of a local Bible club to bringing children to saving faith in Jesus Christ, exciting things have been happening in their community.

For some time, the mother of Pastor Edwin Jordan, Phyllis Jordan, desired to have a Bible club in her home for neighborhood children. So with the help of the pastor and his wife, Eloise, a club was started in her home three years ago. When two area pastors approached them a year and a half ago with an idea to expand the club, they quickly agreed.

They decided to meet in a church that was centrally located in the community. Eloise said that on the first day of club, they were expecting about 23 kids. However, 32 showed up.

“It was exciting to watch the Lord work,” she remembers.

Click here to read the rest of the story.

Identity Check

Focus Retreats have been an annual event for leaders of Grace Brethren ministries around North America for quite a few years. Five regional events are regularly scheduled -- Central, East, Southwest, South, and Northwest -- with a sixth sometimes held in Alaska. It's a time for pastors and ministry leaders to get away from their normal schedule, spend some time with God, and enjoy the fellowship of others in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC).

Attendance over the last few years has been good, but it's always apparent many leaders are not there. This year has been different. Fellowship leaders, along with the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (AGBM), have strongly encouraged people to attend because the discussion at the gatherings are important as the Fellowship begins to examine its identity. It's been said, "If you don't attend, you'll feel like you've been left behind."

The purpose of the two days away are to launch the Identity Initiative in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. The retreat encourages participants to explore, create, and commit to a cluster of shared ministry values. These will provide guidelines for further discussion about how to express the identity, values, and doctrinal convictions of the Fellowship in ways that are meaningful for 2015 and beyond.

Dave Guiles, executive director of Encompass World Partners is leading the retreat following the theme "Shaping the Future." He provides opportunities to celebrate the gift of multigenerational leadership by having attendees break into groups of three -- with one from the younger, middle, and mature generations -- to tell their own stories. They also have an opportunity to consider their own ministry values, as each participant is encouraged to write a letter to the person they have discipled or mentored, or their "Timothy." Click here to read the letters from the first two retreats. Other sessions focus on ways to create a shared set of Grace Brethren values, "learning to play in the same sandbox," and looking at "where to go from here?"

AGBM, as well as various districts of churches, has helped underwrite the costs of those attending the retreats.

Thoughts and impressions from the two days are being captured on the FGBC Identity Wall at Photos from the fall retreats may be found in separate albums at To learn more about the individual retreats that have already been held, see Central Focus Retreat Begins in OhioCentral Focus Retreat Concludes, and East Focus Retreat Begins.

The Fall retreats have attracted a larger audience than ever before. Both the Central Retreat, held at the Maumee Bay Lodge and Conference Center near Toledo, Ohio, from October 7-9, and the East Retreat, held October 21-23 at the Holiday Inn and Suites at Ocean City, Md., drew more than double the number of participants when compared with the previous year. At the Central Retreat, more than 85 pastors and ministry leaders attended, while more than 100 participated in the East Retreat -- a record number for any Focus Retreat.

The next Focus Retreat will be the Southwest Retreat, held in Southern California from January 27-29, 2014. Subsequent retreats will be: South, held in Florida from March 17-19 and Northwest, held in Washington state from May 19-21, 2014. While pastors and leaders may want to attend the retreat in their region, they may also choose to attend a retreat in another area.

Practical Outreach

The folks at the Grace Brethren Church in Waynesboro, Pa., realized their ranks were growing old and gray and they needed to reach out to younger people. So they disbanded their traditional Wednesday evening prayer service and created 606 Family Gathering, an outreach that provides practical living skills while sharing the gospel. Pastor Larry Weber shared the story during Vision2020 West in 2012. Since then, he reports, "we have been averaging 110+ since a year ago, and nearly 120 this fall in our 606 Family Gathering on Wednesday evenings. Our church attendance is also at a ten-year high. We praise the Lord for His blessing."


Paul Poyner has been named to succeed his dad, Jim Poyner, as senior pastor of the Gulfview Grace Brethren Church in Port Richey, Fla. (Jim was the founding pastor at the church 32 years ago.) Paul has served the congregation as pastor to students for the past 16 years. Dustin Zerwas, who grew up in the youth group at the church, has been named youth pastor.

On December 7, the church will be honoring Jim and his wife, Charlotte, as they retire from 42 years of ministry. Watch for details in an upcoming GraceConnect eNews.
Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks
This week's featured book

Daniel's Prophecy of the 70 Weeks

by Alva J. McClain

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The brief but well-known prophecy of the Seventy Weeks, recorded in Daniel 9:24-27, has always been a focus of interest to scholars of God's Word and eschatology.

In this short, but important work, Alva J. McClain introduces the first 69 weeks and answers questions such as "What is the measure of time indicated in the 'weeks' of this prophecy?" and "When did the whole period of the seventy weeks begin?"

Continuing with a discussion of the parenthesis of time between the sixty-ninth and the seventieth weeks, he concludes with an exposition of the seventieth week and the coming of the Roman Prince.

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Events in the FGBC

November 3 â€“ Day of Generosity (EWP)
November 6 – 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)
March 17-19, 2014 â€“ South Focus Retreat (FGBC, location to be announced)
May 19-21, 2014 – Northwest Focus Retreat (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
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GCS  â€“  Grace College & Seminary
WGUSA â€“ Women of Grace USA
Send events for the calendar to
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