By Tom Avey, Fellowship Coordinator
These are exciting months in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches national office.
What do you see in the future of the FGBC? The GrowGoLead2010 passion is that the FGBC will be growing by making disciples of Jesus, each church going on mission, and leading by producing leaders. This vision is built on the solid foundation of Jesus; His word, His church, and His mission.
“Celebrate06” (the FGBC National Conference) is coming this summer, July 29-August 3. Hundreds of families have registered and a prayer force is being gathered. Will you pray for Celebrate06 in the days and weeks before conference? Pray for “Hearts On Fire” for Jesus and for His Word. We are calling this prayer challenge “Firestation06.” You can join the prayer force at www.celebrate06.com/firestation06.
The following year’s conference, Equip07, will be July 29 – August 3, 2007 in Winona Lake, Indiana. We have already secured a list of highly-qualified facilitators including Jim Bullard, Doug Pagitt, Gary McIntosh, and Jeffrey Arthurs in addition to some of the best and brightest in the FGBC. There will be a great women’s track (Dr. Tammy Schultz and Dr. Christy Morr), a Seniors “Menu” (New!) and Clinics (Sports and the arts) for kids grades 1-6. A full list of offerings will be available this summer and at www.fgbc.org/equip07.
Celebrate08 is just two years away! Are you ready for a cruise? That year, 2008, is also the 300th anniversary of the Brethren movement.
It looks as though we will welcome at least six new churches into the FGBC this year. Delegates will consider requests to join the Fellowship from Encuentro Latino, (Coatesville, PA); Crossroads Community Church (Philadelphia, PA); Cocalico Creek Fellowship (Reamstown, PA); Upper Arlington Grace Brethren Church (Columbus, OH); Cornerstone Grace Brethren Church (Springboro, OH); and Rialto Mosaic (Rialto, CA). It is exciting to read how God has worked in starting new communities of believers committed to one another, His Word, and to reaching the lost.
The Fellowship Council is recommending a change in the method we use to calculate membership contributions for member churches each year. The North Central Ohio District has tested a system using ranges of church attendance. A first look at this plan will be presented at conference this summer. Check out the www.fgbc.org for more details.
The Grace Brethren movement has always been a “grass roots” movement. Effective strategies to transform lives come from committed people, not from structure. The Fellowship Council is also recommending new ways of recognizing these “grass roots” ministries. These will also be first presented at conference this summer and more information is available at www.fgbc.org
The 2005/06 Focus Retreats are now complete. We studied Psalm 119 together and were deeply impacted personally and professionally by the text. Plans for 2006/07 are coming together nicely. Check out www.fgbc.org for dates. What is the best way to stay “up” on late-breaking news in the FGBC? As you read local and world news each morning, check out Terry White’s blog at www.fgbc-world.blogspot.com to remain current about FGBC news. Or you can see an overview of headlines from Terry’s Blog as well as from CE National, GBIM and GBNAM at www.fgbc.org. And be sure to subscribe to the official FGBC E-Newsletter at www.fgbc.org/e-newsletter.htm. Subscribe to CE News Online at www.cenational.org or GBIM’s “Pray Now” at www.gbim.org. What’s your FGBCIQ? Take this quick quiz:
- What is the name of the new and exciting training program that CE National launched this year?
- How many USA and Canadian cities have a Grace Brethren Church?
- What is the name of the new monthly publication from Grace Brethren International Missions?
- How many churches are in the FGBC (USA and Canada)?
- What is the new student apprenticeship program from Grace Brethren North American Missions?
- Which district has welcomed a new church into the FGBC each year for the past four years?
- Who is making grants available to churches and individuals for church planting?
- How many people attend FGBC Churches (USA and Canada) each Sunday?
- Who recently published “Four Laws for Effective Communicators” by Tom Julien?
- How many people attend Grace Brethren Churches worldwide?
Answers: the 412 Commission, 230 cities, KAIROS, approximately 260, Antioch Student Apprenticeship, TriStates District (formerly Southern Ohio), Grace Brethren North American Missions, approximately 40,000, BMH, no one knows for sure – possibly 750,000.
You are prayed for! Each month, folks in Winona Lake that work for many of our National Ministries gather to pray for your church. If you have a faithful prayer group in your church, ask them to use the prayer guide in the back of the FGBC handbook to pray for our churches. You can order a handbook from CE National at 574-267-6622.
Thanks for all you do for the Church. We have a rich heritage, a solid foundation, and great opportunity ahead.