It was a struggle to find the right cover photo for this issue. Ideally, it should be an image that relates to a story inside, but that didn’t happen this time. I looked through multiple stock photo collections. Nothing to illustrate fraternity, brotherhood, and honoring one another–the proposed theme. That was the original plan, at least. But as the final pieces of the magazine came together, it became apparent that God had orchestrated the focus to be church planting.
When I saw the image of the climber extending a helping hand to his companion, I knew that was the one. It spoke about the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), particularly as we grow through the development of new congregations.
In recent discussions people have talked about the FGBC as “family” and said that the relationships developed within a district, at a conference, or even in college or seminary, are the glue that keeps us together.
But I also like to think about our network of congregations as a giant partnership. We lend a hand to each other when necessary, we encourage one another — in good times and bad — and help our sister congregations be successful in reaching their communities for Christ. We partner on projects that could not have been accomplished otherwise. How else would we have seen the development of an international mission agency that has witnessed exponential church planting outside of North America, a premier youth conference that has been ministering to teens for more than 50 years, or a college and seminary that have remained true to an original mission since 1939?
So as I begin putting this issue “to bed,” I’m watching God’s hand at work across North America in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. A new wind is blowing as one hand after another stretches out to pull up a brother or sister in Christ. A call to prayer has been issued to remember our land “from sea to shining sea” or a mari usque ad mare (from sea to sea) for our Canadian neighbors. The need for Bible-teaching churches in North America–Grace Brethren churches–has never been greater!
Sit back and enjoy this issue of the magazine. In it, you’ll read about how one church planting agency intentionally creates a bond among its staff, you’ll discover that one of the newest Grace Brethren congregations is planned in Central Ohio, and you’ll learn about six new congregations scheduled to be considered as new members of the Fellowship at conference this summer (with more expected to make application) in Indian Wells, Calif.
And while you are doing that, pray for each of the people and ministries represented in the magazine. It’s one way to lend a hand