It’s a pivotal year for the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches (FGBC), according to conference coordinator Tom Avey. For that reason, participants in the FGBC national conference, to be held July 16-20 at the Crowne Plaza North in Cincinnati, Ohio, can expect to “Take the Plunge” in sessions that will be spiritually refreshing, emotionally rewarding, and practically life changing.
The conference, held over a long weekend, is jam-packed with activities and speakers.
“We are entering a new decade and we need to make decisions as a fellowship,” stresses Tom Hocking, conference moderator and pastor of the Bellflower Brethren Church in California. He cites the Commitment to Common Mission, a document developed by Charis, the international partnership of Grace Brethren churches. “[It] is a vision that essentially says we are here to glorify God by multiplying disciples through planting churches, developing leaders, and meeting the real needs of people all around us.”
He recognizes that as a group, the Grace Brethren are not moving in that direction. “I’m eager to see us get intentional about inflaming the hearts of our young people with a passion to reach people for Christ and plant churches, both here in the states and abroad,” he says.
Three major topics will be emphasized at the conference.
One feature will be a round-table discussion to address the opportunities ahead. “[We will] seek God together on our knees to simply ask Him to give us very clear direction about how we’re going to follow His lead during the next decade,” says Hocking.
A second major aspect of conference will be We Care Miami Valley , a joint effort with CE National’s Momentum youth conference and Dayton area churches. On Saturday, July 17, teams of youth and adults will go into various neighborhoods to complete acts of kindness, including neighborhood clean-ups, block parties, and door-to-door literature distribution.
Hocking hopes the day will be a model activity that people can take back to implement in their own communities. (For more details, see wecaremiamivalley.com.)
A third emphasis of conference will be an additional workshop on July 19-20 about reaching ethnic America . Led by Jay Bell of Grace Brethren International Missions’ Internationals USA, participants will learn practical tips on taking the gospel to the nations in one’s own community. (See related story here .)
That’s only a taste of the extended weekend that will provide opportunities to be challenged by speakers like Hocking, Mac Pier, and Jeff Bogue; to rub shoulders with missionaries from around the world; and to become better acquainted with Grace Brethren ministries in the U.S., Canada, and beyond.
Participants may want to extend their time in the Queen City to take advantage of the many area attractions, including the Creation Museum at nearby Petersburg, Ky.; King’s Island Theme Park in Mason, Ohio; or a Reds game at the Great American Ball Park on the Ohio River.
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