GraceConnect eNews, No. 104, Week of June 15, 2015

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

In It for the Long Haul

Urban church planting ministry has unique challenges. In places where Pete Forshtay ministers as congregational pastor at Crossroads Community Church (Philadelphia, Pa.), individuals and families are often entrenched in generations of poverty, family imbalance, violence, and mental illness.

Sharing the gospel with individuals who come from such backgrounds is a life-changing matter of the heart, but often the outer changes are met with forces that include years of destructive habits that are deeply rooted in negative thought processes.

"These kinds of challenges absorb great amounts of time, take a deep emotional toll and drain spiritual energy,” reminds MetroGrace executive director Jim Brown. Last February, MetroGrace church planters Pete and Danielle Forshtay began such a journey with a young man named John.*

“John was saved and baptized last summer at Crossroads Community Church,” explains Brown. “As he began to grow in Christ, he shared with Pete that he had fled another city to avoid some criminal charges. In an act of repentance, he turned himself in to authorities and is now facing jail time. That’s a tough path to walk!”

Pete and the congregation at Crossroads began praying that this act of faith will help John focus on his relationship with the Lord.

“At the same time,” Brown continues, “John’s girlfriend was left with a two-month old baby. She, too, is newly saved. She had been growing well at first, but then she lapsed for a period of time. After the baby’s birth, a serious mental illness presented itself. She has recently been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital and the baby has been entrusted to the custody of the woman’s father.

What does a church family do when two new souls in God’s flock are struggling?

They reach out. And they pray. After finding out that John’s sentence is about a year and a half, the church immediately requested his address in order to allow individuals to begin writing him and encourage him through the process. 

“We continue to pray for him regularly, hoping that the Lord would continue the work He has begun in him,” says Forshtay. The church is in it for the long haul.

Currently, John’s girlfriend has been released from the mental health facility, has obtained a job, is working on improving conditions in her apartment and towards regaining custody of her daughter. 

“Her situation continues to be tumultuous, so we appreciate prayers for her and her walk with the Lord,” says Forshtay. Join Pastor Forshtay and Crossroads Community Church in asking God to help John and his girlfriend emerge stronger, committed to serving Christ with their lives.

MetroGrace is an urban ministry that gathers, trains, sends, and coaches teams to develop gospel- centered community-based churches in neighborhoods throughout Philadelphia. Find out more about ministry opportunities at www.metrograce.org

Send Pastor Forshtay a letter of encouragement at peteforshtay@gmail.com

*name changed

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[Pray:]

Operation Barnabas, a ministry of CE National, has begun! Students from around the globe gathered at CE National’s headquarters in Winona Lake, Ind., to begin their summer ministry team experience. Visit 
tours.operationbarnabas.net/2015 to read reports and see pictures from the event. Don't forget to pray!

Also, 28 children from the
First Brethren Church in Buena Vista, Va. (Mike Hamilton, pastor), are spending currently spending a week at Camp Tuk-a-way in Blacksburg, Va., along with others from the Blue Ridge Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. Pray that the kids have fun and be safe, but most of all they grow one step closer to God. 

Several other Grace Brethren districts are hosting summer camps this months -- watch the GraceConnect Facebook page for updates and prayer requests. 

Don't forget to join MetroGrace in praying for John and his girlfriend, as well as for their ministry in Philadelphia.

[Watch:] 

Encompass World Partners recently released a video update on the work of the Crisis Response Network, directed by Barb Wooler, in response to the crisis in Nepal. Watch the video update below, or read the article on the Encompass website.  
 
Nepali Homes: Thank You!
[Layman's Corner:]
 
In this archive post from the CMA Resources blog, church planter Neil Cole gives a thorough and thoughtful answer to how to share a gospel in a postmodern world. 

"While it is very easy to argue against relativism with logic, I find that immediately jumping into an argument to prove that a person is wrong is not the most fruitful method of evangelism," he writes.

"Usually, we are too quick to jump into a debate that isn't close to the heart of the one we are sharing with. I know many people who are great at winning arguments but not at winning souls. Once they recognize your real concern for them as a person, they will weigh your words more heavily."

Click here to read the rest of the article. 
 

Events in the FGBC

June 15-July 27, 2015 – Operation Barnabas, Winona Lake, Ind. (CEN)
June 21-27, 2015  Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Ontario (GBC)
June 21-27, 2015 – Encounter Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga. (EWP)
June 23-July 7, 2015 City Life Tours East Coast & West Coast (CEN)
July 14-19, 2015 – Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CEN) 
July 23, 2015 – Women's Celebration at Flinch Conference, Newark, NJ (WGUSA)
July 23-26, 2015 – Flinch Conference (national conference), Newark, N.J. (FGBC) 
August 10-14, 2015 – Encounter SoCal Santa Ana, Calif. (EWP) 
August 28-29, 2015  WLS: Biblical Foundations of Leadership, Winona Lake, Ind.   (WGUSA)
September 25-26, 2015  Revive '15 Fellowship Forum, Indianapolis, Ind.  (WGUSA)
October 30-31, 2015  WLS: Principles of Effective Bible Study, Columbus, Ohio  (WGUSA)
November 13-14, 2015  WLS: Women & Scripture, Elizabethtown, Pa.  (WGUSA)
January 15-16, 2016 WLS: Women & Scripture, Ocala, Fla.  (WGUSA)

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

Send events for the calendar to lcgates@bmhbooks.com.
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