GraceConnect E-News, No. 17, Week of October 14, 2013
The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
The 70s song, "Pass it On" by Kurt Kaiser, said it so succinctly: "It only takes a spark to get a fire going. And soon all those around can warm up in its glowing... I want the world to know the Lord of love has come to me. I want to pass it on."
This week's eNews takes a look at one Grace Brethren ministry that is passing the spark -- literally and figuratively. Grace Brethren Boys, an organization designed to model godly leadership for young men, is passing on that spark by teaching outdoor skills, like building a fire, combined with practical, Christ-centered lessons that focus on a young man's spiritual health. Rob Gable, executive director, wants to see men mobilized and impassioned to disciple the next generation of Christian leaders and missionaries.
Our second story comes from Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren congregation in Frederick, Md. (R. Greene, pastor). Lynnae Miller recently rededicated her life to Christ at the church. She shared her testimony via video as she was baptized in celebration of her commitment to following Jesus every day.
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Sparking a Passion for Leadership
Nurturing future leaders is simple. All it takes is a little time and the right tools to spark a passion in a young boy.
Sometimes itâ€™s a literal spark.
Grace Brethren Boys (GBB) is a ministry to young boys that uses outdoor skill-building activities like fire starting and tent building as a vehicle for the opportunity to be mentored by Christian church leaders and men in the church. Established in 1974, GBB was modeled after the Boy Scouts and the mandate in 2 Timothy 2:2. In the program, unit leaders take the boys on camping and service trips, guide them through Scripture and teach them the basics of the Christian faith.
Rob Gable, director of the GBB for the past five years, understands the life-changing impact of men mentoring younger men. â€œThereâ€™s a huge need for young men to be developed into leaders in their families, churches, and communities,â€ he explains. â€œRight now - not just in GBB church culture - thereâ€™s a lack of men leading in all areas of ministry, so we want to start building our boys into future godly leaders.â€
William Wegert, who grew up in a Grace Brethren church in Fremont, Ohio, and participated in GBB with his father, Matt, believes the ministry had a profound impact on his leadership skills and spiritual development. He also watched the program positively influence his peers, some of whom didnâ€™t have fathers.
â€œOne boy I remember didnâ€™t have a dad. His whole life was Grace Brethren Boys because Tim Soule, his unit leader, became almost his working father, taking him on all the camping trips and spending lots of time with him. Grace Brethren Boys implemented that sort of fatherly role for boys that didnâ€™t have one, and it encouraged the church men to follow suit with their own sons.â€
â€œAt the time it was all fun â€“ learning knots, camping, memorizing Bible verses, and camaraderie with other boys. Looking back, I realize GBB helped me know what it meant to be a good man, and I aspired to become one. It was simple stuff â€“ learning basic outdoor skills like backpacking and tying knots, combined with elements of service and putting Christ at the center. GBB made learning those things enjoyable and tangible.â€
Currently GBB is in the process of refocusing slightly, giving more emphasis to Bible teaching and service. They will add â€œRecruitâ€ to the boysâ€™ list of ranks to achieve, highlighting the importance of sharing the opportunity with others. They also have started doing more volunteer work.
â€œDuring the camping trips, we always do some sort of work project where we just serve the camp with no expectations in return,â€ said Gable. â€œWeâ€™ve done everything from digging waste water holes to picking up trash to trail maintenance.â€
Gable is encouraged to see several graduating GBB guys attending a Christian college with an emphasis on youth ministry or missions. Currently 15 Grace Brethren congregations in Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania are involved with GBB, and Gable hopes to see many more men mobilized and impassioned to disciple the next generation of Christian leaders and missionaries through GBBâ€™s simple, effective methods.
â€œBoys and young men need to see godly leadership modeled through an experienced man. GBB does that, and is focused on strengthening leadership, building Godâ€™s kingdom through outreach and weaving service into young men. Every church could benefit from a ministry thatâ€™s focused on that.
â€Doing so isnâ€™t difficult â€“ it just requires a man to step up and do what is called of him through Godâ€™s word.â€
Lynnae Miller shares the story of how God captured her heart after years of pursuing her own way. "Knowing no matter where I've been, no matter the things I've done, He loves me unconditionally, just the same. That is all I need. That is my strength and my contentment and all the happiness that I need right there," she says. This video was first shown at Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Frederick, Md. (R. Greene, pastor) and is shared here with permission.
This week's featured book
Faith that Works: Studies in the Epistle of James
by Homer A. Kent, Jr.
Regularly $14.99, now available for GraceConnect eNews subscribers ONLY at 50% off!
Simply enter the code "faith" in your shopping cart at bmhbooks.com. (Price is good only until midnight, October 22, 2013.)
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The Epistle of James may be the oldest book in the New Testament, but its message is as fresh as tomorrow morning. Careful reading of its content in a clear translation communicates a challenge to an active faith that every Christian should find relevant. The themes discussed are intensely human, and James was a graphic and compelling writer who gives evidence of experience as a dramatic preacher.
Faith that Works: Studies in the Epistle of James is a concise, verse-by-verse commentary that provides readers what they need to understand the Epistle. First written in 1986, this has been revised and updated for the 21st century.
The studies included in this volume have grown out of the writer's experience in teaching James for many years at Grace Theological Seminary, and in preaching its themes in Bible conferences and churches. It is his understanding that James, the author, was the half-brother of Jesus, that his epistle is a Christian document, and that it properly belongs in the canon of Scripture.
Events in the FGBC
October 21-23 â€“ East Focus Retreat (FGBC, Ocean City, Md.) November 3 â€“ Day of Generosity (EWP) November 6 â€“ Super Wednesday (GCS, CEN) November 15-16, 2013 â€“ Women's Leadership Class, Wooster, Ohio (WGUSA) January 27-29, 2014 â€“ Southwest Focus Retreat (FGBC, location to be announced) January 29-31, 2014 â€“ Fellowship Council (FGBC, location to be announced) July 17-21, 2014 â€“ Vision2020 DC (FGBC) July 22-27, 2014 â€“ Momentum Youth Conference (CEN)
CEN â€“ CE National EWP â€“ Encompass World Partners FGBC â€“ Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches GCS â€“ Grace College & Seminary WGUSAâ€“ Women of Grace USA