“Our mission statement is ‘worship God, serve others.’ This is part of how we serve others.”
Brian McCall, executive pastor at Martinsburg Grace Brethren Church (MGBC), a Charis Fellowship congregation in southern Pennsylvania, explains how they pursue this mission. “We have three community outreach focused ministries that we invest in through volunteers and financial support: Wheels of Joy, Family Counseling Center, and an English as a Second Language (ESL) Ministry.”
Each outreach meets a different need in their community. Below is a brief explanation of each. Contact Brian for more details or send him an encouraging note here.
Wheels of Joy
Wheels of Joy is entering its 14th Christmas season. It is headed up by a couple who attend MGBC, Jason and Jennifer Butler, who love cycling and lead a cycling club at church. The ministry started as a way to provide bicycles for children in the community with little financial resources. Over the years it has grown to provide gift cards, small gifts, and household items, based on the needs of the family. The school district refers families, members of the church shop for items or donate money, and the church distributes them to the families.
“Our primary goal over the years has been to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a real and practical way to those in our community who are faced with hardship,” said Jennifer Butler. “This program has allowed us to meet families that live near us, work with us, and go to school with our kids. It’s allowed us to build relationships, as some families have been in our program a few times.”
English as a Second Language (ESL)
After attending a Perspectives Class, several members from MGBC wanted to minster to and serve immigrants and migrant workers in the community. The class started on a dairy farm where many migrant workers are employed, but the class quickly grew and had a need for childcare. The class moved to the church where childcare could be offered in the nursery. The class currently has 22 students from six different countries. Out of this class came a women’s Bible study and a citizenship preparation class.
Barb Knepper, ESL coordinator, said, “For those of us involved in the program, we learn about different cultures firsthand and have the joy of sharing our faith and loving on people who are far from their home. For many this is the first time they’ve had this opportunity!”
Family Counseling Center
Through Counseling is located in a school-turned-community-center that offers various public service operations like food pantry, free medical care, and a backpack program. Offering counseling services was something Brian wanted to do since he started at MGBC nine years ago. He connected with the community center and a licensed counselor, Luella Stern, and together they launched Through Counseling in 2016. Anyone in the community can seek counseling there, and any church can refer people. They offer Biblically-based counseling services in marital, family, and grief. Fees are based on what a client can pay and MGBC subsidizes the remainder.