Calvary Grace Brethren Church in Kettering, Ohio, is a small church with a big heart for discipleship and missions. About 14 years ago, the men at Calvary Grace started visiting a prison in central Ohio. Every fourth Sunday, they hold a service at the facility, sharing the gospel message and spending time with the inmates. It has impacted the fabric of the church.
“It’s pretty rare that we don’t have at least a couple first-time decisions for Christ,” said Mark Combs, pastor at Calvary.
“The jail program has been an opportunity to share Christ and for our men to grow in their ability to evangelize,” he continues. “Guys that would ordinarily be very shy about getting up in front of a group of people will share their testimony or scripture with the inmates. It’s made our group of men very bold.”
Combs – who grew up attending Calvary – and his father, assistant pastor Harold Combs, focus on preaching God’s word and discipling the church members instead of increasing membership or executing elaborate programs.
“We’ve got to be faithful to what God’s called us to do,” Combs explains. “I see our church members taking the great commission very seriously; and their faithful giving just amazes me for such a small group.
“During prayer meetings I hear our members say, ‘I was talking to so-and-so about their need for salvation.’ Or, ‘My brother doesn’t know the Lord and I’ve been talking to him about his need to accept Jesus.’ I hear that kind of thing all the time, so I know that it’s on their heart.”
“Our greatest challenge is the fact that we’re somewhat countercultural,” Combs explains. “If you look at the culture surrounding us and what’s important there — our folks at Calvary are definitely not caught up in that. We have to ask ourselves how to reach the culture without becoming part of it.” – by MariJean Sanders
This story first appeared in the GraceConnect eNews, Week 12, September 9, 2013. To subscribe to the eNews, see the orange box in the upper right corner of graceconnect.us.