GraceConnect E-News, No. 34, Week of February 10, 2014


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Pastor Kevin Smith and his church in Washington Heights reaches out to children in the community each week through Wednesday night classes and hot meals.

Upside Down Church

Part 2

Last week we were introduced to Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church in Roanoke, Va., where the church’s Wednesday night children’s ministry draws more attendees than the church on Sunday morning.

And they are totally okay with that.

The church, established in 1951, has been faithful in prayer for many years. In the last few years, God started moving there in a new way, and they have they have ventured outside of their usual congregational comfort zones to touch the community around them in big ways.

After reaching out to the low-income neighborhood surrounding them, Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church was excited to watch as God prospered their Wednesday night children’s ministry, and then as some of the parents started responding too. Pastor Kevin Smith believes that God started answering their prayers when the congregation decided to stop waiting for people to come and go out instead.

“People don’t want to go to a place there not familiar with and even though we had a sincere desire to cross that barrier, the neighborhood didn’t. Finally we had to go to where they are.

“Some Saturdays, we go down to a certain housing complex a few blocks from us and bring bagged lunches. We’ll show up, we’ll give away food and I’ll preach right there in the parking lot for just a few minutes,” explains Pastor Smith. “Typically outreach in an American church is about marketing in such a way to get people to come to your church -- which seems to be opposite of what Jesus and the early church did. We’d like to bring church to their territory.

“When we follow up at someone’s door, we always bring a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk – simple for us but it makes their week – and in this way we earned our right to have conversations with them and eventually be invited into their home.”

The apartment complex that the church focuses on is reputed in the town as one of the most dangerous.  The police raid it so often that it’s set up like a compound –there is only one way in and out. “That is the place we walk into unarmed at night,” explains Pastor Smith. “The Lord’s hand is upon it now I believe. There’s joy spiritually in stepping out like that. Risk is right.”

“This has been a great adventure, seeing Jesus share his love with other people – we’re still learning and growing every day.”
The church services at Washington Heights Grace Brethren Church are small - about 40 people - but the church has a tremendous impact on the community around them. 

From Around the Web

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

Leadership Development

Faith Alone Leads to Freedom, More than a Sunday Faith, a blog by Pastor Chris Suitt (New Hope Community Church, Canyon Lake, Calif.)


Integrated Ministries

A Stranger in Their Land: a blog post by Amanda Damon of CPR-3 about cultural sensitivity.

Church Planting

VisionAlaska is a new church-planting ministry in the 49th State! Check out the photos from the visit of Tony Webb (VisionOhio) as VisionAlaska got it's start.

Other Links of Interest

Registration for the annual youth conference sponsored by CE National, Momentum, is now open. Click here to sign up!

One Hour. One Book. Bible scholar, archaeologist, historian and Grace Brethren pastor Dr. Randy Smith (Grace Church, Sebring, Fla.), takes you on a fly-over tour of each of the 66 books of the Bible. Check out the playlist on YouTube.
Marital Intelligence
This week's featured book

Marital Intelligence

By Gil Stieglitz

Gil Stieglitz says there are only five problems in marriage: (1) Ignoring needs; (2) Immature behaviors, (3) Clashing temperaments, (4) Competing relationships, and (5) Past baggage. With each issue, he carefully and consistently lays out biblical teaching on the subject, and then includes helpful anecdotes, solutions, and self-tests to help the reader.

Subtitled “A foolproof guide for saving and supercharging marriage,” Marital Intelligence is based on thousands of hours of marital counseling and observation by the author. Stieglitz is a counselor, speaker, mentor, professor, and leadership consultant based in Roseville, Calif. He is currently a professor at Western Seminary, a district superintendent for the Evangelical Free Church of America, and a church consultant for Thriving Churches International. He also directs his own ministry, Principles to Live By.

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Events in the FGBC

March 16, 2014 â€“ Prayer Sprint Begins (EWP)
March 17-19, 2014 â€“ South Focus Retreat, Florida FFA Center, Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
April 25-26, 2014 â€“ Women's Leadership Studies: Equipping Others (WGUSA)
May 19-21, 2014 – Northwest Focus Retreat, Camp Clear Lake, Whites Pass, 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
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