One of my first jobs out of college was working for a Grace Brethren church planting organization. (In those days, it was the only North American church-planting group in the Fellowship.) I wrote stories about church planters, raised funds for their work, and help encourage prayer support for their growing ministries.
Many times I wished I could stay and help the developing churches I visited. The tug I felt as I drove away was almost stronger than my desire to share the many stories I found along the way.
It is no surprise that I enjoy producing the church-planting themed issues of GraceConnect. The stories are no different than before – there are just more of them. Five church-planting groups are recognized within the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches – all tasked with developing disciples through the development of new congregations around the world. Plus there are many churches and districts that are starting new congregations.
The challenge now is which story to tell!
In this issue, you’ll get a glimpse of a new work by Dr. Tony Webb, the executive director of VisionOhio. We’ve included the first chapter of Raising Rabbits, Not Elephants, his book on the gatherer-shepherd-elder model of church planting. (This new release is available at bmhbooks.com.) Dr. Tim Boal writes about the changing world of church planting and you’ll learn about a new church in central Ohio that is led by a “tentmaker” pastor. We also say “well done” to Dr. Larry Chamberlain, who retires this year after a career not only in helping new churches, but being a catalyst for change in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches. — Liz Cutler Gates, editor
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