GraceConnect eNews, No. 169, Week of September 12, 2016

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Sometimes sharing the love of Jesus starts with sharing a meal.

The Family Table


Today's story is by Pastor Jason Brown of Suntree Grace Brethren Church in Melbourne, Fla. He, along with two other families, were led to start a simple ministry: sharing a table with the community around them. Read on to hear how God is using this powerful act of obedience.

I can make the claim that I love my brother or sister in Christ, but unless the evidence is found in how others view my actions, my faith makes no difference at all. I can make the claim I love God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength, and I can further make the claim I love my neighbor as myself. However, validation of said claim is in the testimony of my neighbor -- not simply the claim of my household.

In the third year of my ministry as lead pastor at Suntree (January of 2016), I began praying through John 13:35 and Mark 12:30-31, which talk about loving God and our neighbor. One of the most profound things about these two passages is that they require third party verification.

God answers prayer. He placed on the heart of a Bill and Jennifer Tweeddale, a household of the Suntree Grace Brethren Church, to purchase a picnic table and invite everyone on their street to break bread together one night a week. The result has been a series of gospel conversations, prayer requests, fellowship, and encouragement.

Since its initial start date, more than 30 people from their street gather each Wednesday, and others make a 15 to 20-minute drive to the Tweeddale’s neighborhood, where other neighbors have placed picnic tables either in their front yards or added to Bill and Jennifer’s. We’re praying to plant a church out of the harvest in this very location as a result of what Jesus is doing.  

The first week of August, we launched another family table ministry to reach unchurched and unsaved neighbors through another couple from our church: Chad and Milady Griffin started with prayer and one gatherer to reach out to their neighbors. They bought a picnic table, put invitations in mailboxes and, their first night, gathered everyone on their street. More than 50 people now attend.

To date, Suntree has three locations reaching neighbors, praying with neighbors, and sharing intentional conversations about Christ with them. Our prayer is that we would see three to four Grace Brethren Churches planted in these locations as a result of what Jesus is doing through the heart of His people.

Our desire is to paint a Biblical picture: a Family of families, a Gathering of believers in Christ who seek to know Him and to make Him known, and to continuously seek the heart of Jesus. We long to be a fellowship who strives to create a Biblical storyboard; a narrative that reflects His Glory and reveals His authorship upon our everyday lives. That goal echoes the words of Matthew 5:13-16 “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

[Connect:]
Send a note of encouragement and find out how you can pray for this ministry by emailing Jason at 
gbcsuntree@gmail.com.
 
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[Your Turn]


[Gather: Table]

The Griffins, one of the families involved in project in the above story, started a magazine, called Part and Parcel, which is all about the intersection of faith and hospitality. According to Pastor Brown, who is one of the contributors, it has gone national as a means of creating community and giving opportunity for Jesus to use believers through their homes. Click here to check it out. 

[Gather: Church]

Another great resource is gsecoach.org, a website of church planter Tony Webb (of church planting ministry Vision USA) and Jonathan Reitz, the director of training/CEO at CoachNet, a collaboration and multiplication organization. This site is a tool for finding Biblically defined gatherers and is a great resource for churches who are seeking to establishing a gathering culture. Click here for more.

[Vote:]

Ballots are in the mail to corporation members of the Brethren Missionary Herald Company, parent organization of
GraceConnect, to vote for three directors who were approved at the annual corporation meeting in Toronto during the July. These ballot are due by October 15. The all-volunteer board is vital to the operation of GraceConnect. On this year's ballot are two incumbents: David Collins (Ripon, Calif.) and Bill Gordon (Winona Lake, Ind.). Also on the ballot for member¹s approval is new member Sarah Knepper (Columbus, Ohio). If approved, they join Tim Sprankle (chair, Warsaw, Ind.), Daron Butler (Wooster, Ohio), John Rowe (Ashland, Ohio), and Beau Stanley (Columbus, Ohio). 

If you don¹t receive a ballot and would like to be a corporation member so that you may cast a ballot next year, all it requires is a donation of $50 or more in a year to BMH and a connection to a Grace Brethren church. (
Click here to make a donation online to GraceConnect.)
 

Events in the FGBC

September 26-28, 2016   Central Focus Retreat (Oregon, Ohio) (FGBC)
September 30-October 2, 2016   Soul Cry: Prayer Summit, Auburn, Ind. (WGUSA)
October 7-8, 2016   WLS: Soul Care in Leadership, New Holland, Pa. (WGUSA)
October 17-19, 2016   East Focus Retreat (Ocean City, Md.) (FGBC)
November 11-12, 2016   WLS: Equipping Others for Ministry, Marysville, Ohio (WGUSA)

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

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