GraceConnect E-News, No. 51, Week of June 9, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches

It Takes a Church 

Of all the things a congregation expects of a Sunday morning service, the onset of a live Hollywood production is probably quite low on the list. Goshen, Ind.’s Grace Community Church met with just such a unique and surprising opportunity last December, when It Takes a Church, the newest Game Show Network (GSN) matchmaking plug, approached Pastor Jim Brown (pictured above) about using Grace as one of eight show locations. “Needless to say,” he said, “I asked what that really meant.”
It Takes a Church poses the question, “What does it take to find love?” and answers it over a 45-minute time slot hosted by Natalie Grant (pictured above on the left). With the premise of a stereotypical dating game, where one young lady chooses from among eight young men vying for her affection, “It Takes a Church” adopts a different matchmaking methodology: all contestants come from the church’s congregation, and the church itself plays a large part in determining who is appropriate for the young lady.
“As I began to walk through my list of questions,” said Brown, “I soon found out that [the show] was really going to be an opportunity geared toward Christians and those who are dating on how to find a biblical partner and what to look for in a person to potentially date, court, or eventually marry.” 
“A leap of faith could land a lifetime of love,” the show quips.
After praying over the opportunity, Grace Community’s pastoral leadership team decided to accept. “We saw it as [a chance] to have a platform in our world on a major network channel not only to present biblical, godly values, but also to elevate and to give Jesus greater glory,” said Brown.
February Filming
Filming began in February. Apart from the young men, their matchmakers, a select group of leaders in the church, and the pastoral leadership team,
 no one in the church knew the show would be happening. Anyone who went to the third service that Sunday would simply find himself or herself on set and on screen following the benediction. Despite the surprise, Brown recalled hearing only positive feedback from the congregation. “Once they saw the heart behind it and the reason why, they were on board with it.”
The filming also gave the church an opportunity to meet and befriend the production’s staff. Richard Hall, who directed “The Amazing Race” for its first six seasons, directed “It Takes a Church.”
“We saw it as an opportunity to meet with some of the most influential people in the world,” said Brown. “They basically set up in our church from a Sunday morning experience through the whole taping of [the young lady] choosing, going on dates, pastor moments with [the couples], and matchmaking. I was able to rub shoulders with some of the front, lead men and women in our world when it comes to major network TV. My goal was obviously to share Christ with them. Our hope was that we planted the seed of the Gospel there, too.
“Overall,” Brown said, “we realize we took some risks. We know there are going to be some critics out there. We know we’re going to be judged. It hasn’t stopped us because we felt that this is what God wanted us to do. We’ll work in the mission field that God planted right here. If He says go, we’ll go.
“We are anxiously awaiting the show itself,” Brown continued, “and our hope is that when it is aired, it truly just gives Jesus greater glory. That even the unchurched person or de-churched person would say, ‘The local church is different,’ and that it would have them running back to the local church and finding Jesus. Above all and before all and in all, our hearts’ desire is to use this as a platform to point people to Jesus. That’s ultimately why we did it.
Don't Settle
“God gave us a voice to all these single people out there: don’t settle in relationships. There are men out there who are gentlemen, there are men out there who are single and really love Jesus, there are men out there who are available, and they are the kind of man that God would really want you to connect with.”
Most importantly, Brown concluded, the show “gave us a chance to talk about Jesus on the airways, where millions and millions and millions of people will be watching.”
The show filmed in Goshen airs at 9 p.m., Thursday, June 12. Check for channel availability. – by Marisa Vogel

Click here to watch Pastor Jim Brown explain why the church decided to participate in filming It Takes a Church.
The crew of "It Takes A Church" on set at Grace Community Church, Goshen, Ind. (Jim Brown, pastor).
Filming at Grace began in February, and the show airs Thursday, June 12.


Dan Thornton, executive pastor at Maranatha Brethren Church, Hagerstown, Md. (pictured at right), received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Biblical Studies from Trinity Theological Seminary. His thesis is titled, “An Analysis of the Pre-Sinai Background to Romans 5:13-14 and Its Implications Regarding Paul’s Understanding of Law.”

Send Dan a note of congratulations.

Grace Brethren pastor and church planter, Ron Boehm earned a D.Min. degree from Ashland Theological Seminary. His dissertation is titled, "Factors Shaping the Ministry Contributions of Church Planter Wives." He is pictured at left with his wife, Chery. They serve as missionaries with VisionOhio.

Send Ron a note of congratulations.

From Around the Web

Here are a few links from Grace Brethren churches that you might find of interest…
Check out the newly-launched Pastors' Blog at Grace Polaris, a Grace Brethren church in Westerville, Ohio (Mike Yoder, pastor). Each of the pastoral staff will be contributing challenging and insightful resources on a regular basis.

Awaken Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Virginia Beach, Va. (Michael Pumphrey, pastor) asks people make a 90-day prayer commitment to ask God to move in Virginia Beach and nearby Hampton Roads. Click here to learn how to pray.

Young leaders in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC) are encouraged to attend Fellow/Shift, the national vision conference of the FGBC. The conference will be July 17-21 in Washington, D.C. Check out the video below or click here for more information.
Israel: A Commentary on Joshua-2 Kings
This week's featured book

Israel: A Commentary on Joshua-2 Kings

By John J. Davis and John C. Whitcomb

With a focus on the biblical text rather than the various theories of Israel's history as reconstructed by contemporary critics, Israel: A Commentary on Joshua-2 Kings looks the conquest through the fall of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah.

The book is a composite of three earlier volumes published under the titles, Conquest and Crisis, The Birth of a Kingdom, and Solomon to the Exile. The first two were authored by John J. Davis and the latter by John C. Whitcomb. Corrections, revisions, and stylistic changes were made in this newer version, and improvements in the graphics have been incorporated.

The authors have approached the Old Testament text with full confidence that the original words (which have been marvelously and providentially preserved through the centuries) were inspired by God and therefore absolutely inerrant. Since extended quotations from the biblical text have been omitted for lack of space, the authors urge the student to approach this study with both an open Bible and a ready heart.

Regularly $22.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50%!

Simply enter the code "IsraelOT" in your shopping cart at (Price is good only until midnight, June 17, 2014.)

Events in the FGBC

June 27-July 3, 2014 – Encounter ATL (EWP)
July 17-21, 2014 – Vision2020 DC (FGBC)
June 22-27 – National Rendezvous Camp, Burr Oak State Park, Ohio (GBB)
July 22-27, 2014 – Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
July 29-August 11 – National Timothy Adventure (GBB)
November 11-24, 2014 – Cambodia GO Team (WGUSA)

CEN – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
GBB – Grace Brethren Boys
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA
Send events for the calendar to
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