GraceConnect eNews, No. 120, Week of October 5, 2015


The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Members of the East Side Grace Brethren Church, Blacklick, Ohio, combine their construction skills with a heart for missions.

Missions and Manual Labor

For the last 30 years, the East Side Grace Brethren Church in Blacklick, Ohio (Chip Heim, pastor), has been combining missions and manual labor as a testimony to their love of Christ.

In the early 1980s, the men’s group at East Side “had a vision to bring men together to pound nails to help others and in the process disciple each other,” said Heim, who also participates in the group’s ministry efforts. With the Lord leading the way, the group was able to fulfill their vision. The East Side church completed their first construction project at the then-Brethren Navajo Mission in 1983 and since then has completed roughly 40 projects.

The official program coordinator, Butch Forrest, works to find projects, but Heim says that often they “simply fall into our lap.” The church has numerous connections through people in other Grace Brethren churches who need help, or when their church goes on mission trips they might make improvements for the mission they are working with. Forrest will also regularly contact Grace Brethren ministries to see if there are any needs that they could fulfill.

While this ministry stemmed from a men’s group, they still need other people to participate who aren’t doing the manual labor, making it a ministry opportunity for all members of the church. The average number of volunteers is 30 to 50 people per project, with helpers ranging from young children to grandparents. Children often bring drinks to construction workers while older members prepare meals during the projects’ completion. Others who are more experienced in manual labor often pitch in with the construction work itself.

In addition to working in their area, the group has also traveled throughout the U.S. or overseas to complete projects. A project last summer found them working at the Happy Church in Jackson, Ky., which is located in one of the poorest counties in America. The group added a second story to the church, reconfigured the entrance, and worked on building a new multipurpose structure. This was their fourth visit to the Happy Church in the last six years.

Not all of the projects have as big as the Happy Church project. In addition to the 40-plus larger projects Heim mentioned, the group has also completed countless smaller projects locally. Some of their past projects include completing someone’s roof, repairing a driveway, or fixing someone’s plumbing. To this group, it doesn’t matter how big the project is, just the fact that they get to help someone out for the glory of Christ is enough for them. -- By Melissa Sorensen

(Editor's Note: Melissa Sorensen was an editorial intern for GraceConnect.)

[Connect:] Send a note of thanks or encouragement to this group via Pastor Chip Heim.
The team from East Side helped at The Happy Church in Kentucky this summer.

[Your Turn]

The Epistle of Jude is an end-times cautionary tale regarding false teaching and the security of the flock of God. Robert MacMillan, pastor of the Tracy, Calif., Grace Brethren Church, sees four truths in this book that we must understand in perilous times. See Falling away is a growth industry at his blog, Shoeleather Faith.
Next month, the Charis International Leadership Encounter will be held in Bangkok, Thailand. Representatives will come from around the world to consider, improve, and endorse The Charis Commitment to Common Identity. This will be the culmination of a three-year effort to create a truly global expression of common values and beliefs of our movement. A global prayer chain has been set up to pray for this event during November 1-7 and is being promoted by Women of Grace USA. Click here to sign up for your time to pray.

What does it mean to be the “aroma” of Christ? Pastor Mike Yoder, at Grace Polaris Church, a Grace Brethren congregation on the north side of Columbus, Ohio, was preaching through 2 Corinthians 2 when he invited two couples to the platform for four stories of what it is like to be a witness at home and in the workplace. (See his sermon here.)

[Leader's Corner:]

In preparation for the Charis International Leadership Encounter 2015, in Bangkok, Thailand, members of the international family of Grace Brethren churches are encouraged to set aside Wednesday, October 14, as a Charis Day of Prayer and Fasting.

Dr. Tom Julien, executive director emeritus of Encompass World Partners, has written a special guide to help mobilize the leaders and members of Grace Brethren Churches to participate in this initiative. Leaders and members of Grace Brethren Churches around the world are also invited to sign up to pray during the conference.

Charis, a transliteration of the Greek word for grace, is the name adopted by the international fraternity of Grace Brethren churches and leaders. Begun in 1994, Charis serves as a platform for pursuing matters of common purpose and interest for those who share the values of the Grace Brethren movement.

For more information visit the new website.

Events in the FGBC

October 30-31, 2015  WLS: Women and Scripture, Ripon, Calif. (WGUSA)
October 19-21, 2015  East Focus Retreat (FGBC)
October 30-31, 2015  WLS: Principles of Effective Bible Study, Columbus, Ohio  (WGUSA)
November 2-6, 2015 – Charis International Leadership Encounter, Bangkok, Thailand (EWP)
November 13-14, 2015  WLS: Women and Scripture, Elizabethtown, Pa.  (WGUSA)
January 15-16, 2016 – WLS: Women and Scripture, Ocala, Fla.  (WGUSA)
January 22-24, 2016  Kalahari Retreat, Sandusky, Ohio (FGBC)
January 25-27, 2016  Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC)
January 27-19, 2016  Fellowship Council (FGBC)
February 26-27, 2016  WLS: Women and Scripture (in Spanish), Valrico, Fla. (WGUSA)
March 14-16, 2016  South Focus Retreat (FGBC) 
June 19-25, 2016  The Great Canadian Adventure, Toronto, Canada (GBC)
July 22-25, 2016  Vision Toronto (FGBC) 
July 26-31, 2016  Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)

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
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