GraceConnect E-News, No. 31, Week of January 20, 2014

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

Today has been set aside as an International Day of Solidarity by Encompass World Partners, a sister organization of GraceConnect, to pray for the Central African Republic (C.A.R.). Click here for prayer requests or follow graceconnectus on Twitter for regular updates throughout the day.

Obedience While Church Planting

Ken and Judy White knew it was time to downsize. So they sold their home in a suburb of Dayton, Ohio, and moved to a retirement community in nearby Eaton. It meant a 30-minute drive to worship at the Basore Road Grace Brethren Church, where they have been active members for nearly 20 years.
 
“Oh, it’s a little harder to get back for midweek things, but it’s not that bad,” Ken, a retired electrical contractor, said with a smile. (That's him in the photo below. Judy is in the photo at right.)
 
Challenged by Basore Road GBC Pastor Shannon Horst, they decided to begin a church in their neighborhood. One Saturday last summer, they knocked on the door of every home in their new community – all 45 of them.
 
They began by inviting everyone to their home. “We’re going to sing, read Scripture, and share prayer requests,” Ken said they told people. “We’re going to have fellowship together.”

 
Beginning in early June, they began meeting on Thursday nights. Pastor Horst came the first few weeks to lead a verse-by-verse discussion on the book of John, but Rob, the White's son-in-law, has guided the conversation since. He uses five simple questions: What did you hear that you liked? What did you hear that you didn’t like? What did you hear that you were confused about or didn’t know? What did you learn new about Jesus? What does Jesus want us to do this week?
 
“It engages everyone,” noted Ken. “Nobody is being preached at, per se, but they’re talking to each other and interacting with Scripture.”
 
The White’s dream of beginning a church was almost squashed when they discovered that the covenants of their community barred them from starting a church. Not to be dissuaded, they continued to meet as a Bible study.

They take prayer requests at each meeting, which Judy prints out and delivers to everyone, plus several who are care-givers for their spouses and can't attend. They've had a carry-in dinner and a carol sing. "We have wonderful evenings of fellowship together," says Judy.
 
“We’ve found it was a great way for us to meet our neighbors,” adds Ken. But at the same time, the two have followed the advice of Tony Webb, the executive director of VisionOhio, who met with them as they started – “Just do it and watch for Jesus to show up.”
 
For them, the end result isn't as important as the process.
 
“I wasn’t far-thinking as to what the church might become necessarily, as it was to be obedient to what we thought we should do,” adds Ken. “It was a great way to meet our neighbors because we had a reason to talk to them.”

From Around the Web

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

Leadership Development

Grace Polaris U, the program at Grace Polaris Church, Columbus, Ohio (Mike Yoder, lead pastor), for training believers for service.
 

Integrated Ministries

Tragic Update from Abakar, Water for Good (formerly ICDI). Water for Good has worked with Pastor Abakar in the Central African Republic for the last three years by drilling a water well to help him improve the lives of the Fulani (a historically nomadic people group) in his village. Here's an update on a video story that was released several months ago.
 

Church Planting

From Liberia to Philadelphia, the blog of Kurt Miller, director of strategic partnerships at MetroGrace, a church planting ministry in Philadelphia, Pa. "MetroGrace’s purpose is 'Developing Urban Churches.' Our vision is to plant gospel-centered, community-based churches. What is so unique about Philadelphia is that recent immigrants are scattering throughout the city. They are integrating into all neighborhoods. Philadelphia is recognized as a 'Gateway City.' Many are first generation immigrants. A surprising number of them have been here for several years and speak English."

People

Fenton McDonald has been called as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, Upper Arlington, Ohio (Columbus area). In 2013, he retired as pastor of the Grace Brethren Church in Pataskala, Ohio, where he had ministered since 1997. He previously pastored Grace Brethren congregations in Mabton, Wash.; Plugerville, Tex.; and San Jose, Calif.
Principles and Practice of Prayer
This week's featured book

Principles and Practice of Prayer

By Ivan H. French

Somewhere along its historical journey, the church of Jesus Christ has been deceived into substituting plans, programs, and organization for the power of God obtained in answer to prayer. In the early years of her life (and they were years of vitality, growth, and effectiveness), the church relied entirely upon the divine resources made available to her by her sovereign Lord. One of these resources was prayer. It is far past time for Christians and assemblies to set themselves to discover what the Bible says about prayer and then do it!

These outline studies were prepared for use in the classroom at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Ind. Prepared without any thought to possible publication, the material lays a biblical groundwork for a life and ministry of prayer. There are practical suggestions for the personal prayer experience and for the ministry of the church.
 
Regularly $6.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!

Simply enter the code "prayer" in your shopping cart at bmhbooks.com. (Price is good only until midnight, January 28, 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)
November 11-24, 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 lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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