GraceConnect eNews, No. 191, Week of Feburary 13, 2017

Communication-Conversation-Conservation

The eNewsletter for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
Off the Ledge

Five years ago, Scott Avey packed up his wife Jennifer and three kids and moved to Maryland to be a worship pastor at Grace Community Church in Frederick.

“I was so happy to have a ministry and community,” Avey notes. The church quickly became home to him and his family as they developed deep relationships with their friends and the people of the church.

“I had no aspirations of doing anything different than playing my guitar and leading in worship. In fact, I resisted it,” Avey continues. “I had waited what seemed to be forever to have a ministry like this. Why would I ever do anything different?”

Of course, God had other plans. After about a year of attending Grace, Avey attended a church planting conference at the request of senior pastor R. Dallas Greene.

“I wasn’t sure why I was there because what I do - play guitar and making videos - has very little do with grassroots church planting. The entrepreneurial spirit of starting from scratch intrigued me, but I shrugged it off.”

At one point at the conference, a man was speaking about measuring success not by the size of the building or budget, but on whether or not the church is training future leaders. An elder from Grace Community leaned over and asked Avey if there was anyone from their church with the role of leader-in-training. Avey responded that he didn’t think so.

His friend replied, “Well maybe that’s you.”  At that moment, God pushed Avey off the ledge.

“All I know is that for about five minutes I went numb and tingly all over. The speaker seemed to be in a muted slow motion. I began to write furiously in my journal.”

Avey responded to the call at the end of the service, confident that God was pushing him out of his comfort zone, calling him to plant a church. But he wasn’t sure how, when or what that would look like.

“After many years of dreaming and planning, and even saying ‘no’ to other opportunities, I knew that to delay any longer was to be disobedient,” Avey said. So, he approached Pastor Greene, to ask about partnering with him to plant a church.

The elders and pastors of Grace Community Church enthusiastically supported the idea, and commissioned the Aveys, as well as five other core families from Grace Community, to begin a gospel community in the target town. They chose Brunswick, a highly secularized area with over 58% claiming no religious affiliation -- twice the national average. Located within the greater Washington D.C. metro area and comprised of both professionals and local workers, Brunswick was a place of great opportunity to reach people with the gospel.

Avey and the other members of the church planting team began meeting as a Bible study in a home, christening the church “
Grace Fellowship.”

“We started our first meeting in January of 2017 in a home with 38 people (just under half were kids!), and by the second week, we have seen about four unchurched families get involved. Our goal is to build a foundation with these folks of really understanding the gospel: to Know It, Live it, and Give it away. We hope to continue to grow the church, and if God continues to bless it, we will look to have a public launch in the fall.”

“We’ve been under spiritual attack since starting this endeavor,” notes Avey. “The obstacles are great, but prayer God works through his praying people.” --Scott Avey contributed to this story.


[Connect:]
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here to visit their website, and here to send a note of encouragement to Pastor Avey, sign up for their newsletter, or donate.                                                                                                                
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[Your Turn]


[Read:]

"It’s the thing that we work so hard for. The thing that led us to lose relationships. The thing the cost us our morality. The thing that we had to have because everyone else did. We got it and then we realized we did not even care. Maybe the great tragedy in life is not that we get what we want, but that we get what we want and realize it was the wrong thing in the first place."

Keith Minier, lead pastor of
Grace Fellowship in Columbus, Ohio, blogs over at A Pastor's Thoughts. In a recent post, he writes about counting the true cost of our passions before it's too late. Click here to read the rest of the post. 

[Celebrate:]


Precious Lamb's Preschool in Los Altos, Calif., celebrated its 15th birthday this week! Los Altos Grace Brethren Church (Phil Helfer, pastor), helped start the preschool over 15 years ago and have continued to support the school as it serves homeless children and families in Long Beach. 

Click here to read more about the hundreds of children who have come through their doors, the dedicated team of staff and directors who serve with huge hearts, and God’s constant faithfulness and provision that helped them succeed.

[Share the Love:]

Happy Valentine's Day from GraceConnect! We want to hear your stories! Do you or someone you know have an amazing story about your marriage, about your spouse, or about how God brought and kept you together? We want to hear about it! Send your stories, between 300-600 words,
here for a chance to be featured in our eNewsletter.
 
Note: the video link from last week was produced by Global Frontier Missions, a partner with Encompass World Partners, not by Encompass itself. 

Events in the FGBC

February 23, 2017   Kid (Min): Summit for Children's Ministry Leaders, Goshen, Ind. (CE)
February 24-25, 2017   WLS: Spiritual Formation (Spanish), Tampa, Fla. (WGUSA)
March 13-15, 2017   South Focus Retreat Haines City, Fla. (FGBC)
March 17, 2017   Day Away - North of 55, Ashland, Ohio (AGBC)
March 17-18, 2017   WLS: Women & Scripture, Roanoke, Va. (WGUSA)
March 25, 2017  Connect & Equip East: Regional Mission Conference, Parkesburg, PA. (EWP)
April 5, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
April 7-8, 2017   WLS: Spiritual Formation, Frederick, Md. (WGUSA)
April 28, 2017   Heritage Event: Shady Maple Smörgåsbord, East Earl, Pa. (CE)
April 28-30, 2017 –  Hispanic Summit,  Atlanta, Ga. (WGUSA)
April 28, 2017  Heritage Event, East Earl, Pa. (CE)
May 11-17, 2017   National Institute Cross Cultural Youth Min.Module, Philadelphia, Pa. (CE)
May 22-24, 2017   Northwest Focus Retreat, White Pass, Wash. (FGBC)
June 14, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
June 18 – July 11, 2017   Operation Barnabas (CE)
June 26-30, 2017   Encounter Atlanta (EWP)
July 5-9, 2017   StreetWise, Philadelphia, Pa. (CE)
July 18-23, 2017   Momentum Youth Conference, Marion, Ind. (CE)
July 25-27, 2017 – ​ Access2017, Fremont, Ohio (FGBC)
September 20, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)
November 8, 2017   Pastorpedia Live, Winona Lake, Ind. (CE)

AGBC – Ashland, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church
CE – CE National
EWP – Encompass World Partners
FGBC – Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches
SGCC – Susquehanna Grace Community Church, Wrightsville , Pa.
WGUSA – Women of Grace USA

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