By Bob Fetterhoff
Nobody ever invited me to try out for a cheerleading squad. Just the thought of trying to do the splits or a cartwheel causes pain! God just didn’t bless me with the flexibility and strength (or beauty!!) required of a good cheerleader.
However, I know the value of good cheerleaders. They can encourage a team, develop strong fan support, and even promote hope among the defeated.
When the Fellowship Council invited me to serve as moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), I discovered that I needed to serve as lead cheerleader for what God is doing throughout our churches. That part of the job isn’t hard. I believe a new day is dawning for the FGBC.
Many churches are aggressively reaching their communities with the love of Christ in creative ways. Others have attempted to meet the desperate needs of the under-resourced in the spirit of Micah 6:8. Some have launched new congregations, creative services, or leadership training efforts. Many leaders want to position our churches to reach the next generation with the changeless message of the Gospel of Christ. All this is very good news!
In the months to come, I hope we’ll be able to share with each other what God is doing. He really is at work in us and through us. Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to hear what’s happening.
Sure, some are discouraged. Others are ready to quit– or to find a different sport. It’s easy to focus on the negative, assume the worst, or repeat some gossip. But I don’t think that qualifies as building each other up (1 Thess. 5:11).
God is moving in wonderful ways. People have found eternal life in Christ. Lives have been transformed by the power of the Gospel. Believers are being deployed to serve Christ and others with His love. The Word of God is “living and active” in thousands of us across this country and the world. We just need to hear the stories and be encouraged!
Recently, I’ve been asked, “What’s your vision for the FGBC?”
Frankly, that’s a tough question for several reasons:
- I can’t dictate my vision to a group of independent churches and pastors.
- Even if I had that authority, each church still must respond to the leadership of God’s Spirit.
- Both our National Conference and Fellowship Council have declared that the Commitment to Common Mission, or CCM (adopted by international Grace Brethren representatives in 2008), outlines the vision of the FGBC.
Therefore, our focus and energy must be directed to the three pillars of the CCM: Church-Planting, Leadership Development and Integrated (or Compassion) Ministries.
You will hear much about all this at our Vision 2020 National Conference in Wooster, Ohio, July 23-27. You will be challenged with what God might do in your own church. Your eyes will be lifted to the needs of a lost world without Christ. You’ll learn practical strategies for penetrating your community in practical ways with God’s love. I know you won’t want to miss this!
You will be invited to share what God is doing in these areas through your local church. Let’s spur one another on toward love and good deeds (Heb. 10:25).
Just don’t expect any cartwheels. That wouldn’t be pretty!
Bob Fetterhoff is serving as moderator of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC) following the resignation of Tom Hocking. Bob is the pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, Wooster, Ohio, and has been nominated to serve as the first multi-year moderator of the FGBC.