Todd Scoles, writing in the introduction to Restoring the Household: The Quest of the Grace Brethren Church (BMH Books, 2008), believed the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches suffered from a sort of identity crisis.
He noted that we are a group who sincerely want to know and follow Jesus, but we are relatively small within the evangelical community. “We tend to look for examples of success in size and activity, then adopt or adapt the models of ministry we find without really considering whether or not those models fit our distinctive beliefs and heritage,” he said.
That identity crisis may soon be resolved, as leaders in the FGBC have begun to further define who we are as a movement of churches. At four regional Focus Retreats (a fifth is yet to be held), Dr. Dave Guiles has skillfully led participants through a series of discussions that listened to our past, while beginning to look forward. It is part of a two-year process, called the Identity Initiative, to examine how we understand ourselves, and the way we explain ourselves to others.
This issue of GraceConnect begins the next phase of the Identity Initiative. Written completely by Dr. Guiles, it lays the groundwork for a series of healthy discussions to be held around North America in the next two years that will ensure that we remain a biblically sound, culturally relevant movement of churches.
We encourage you to pray for the Identity Initiative. Watch for updates on the process in future issues of GraceConnect and on our news site, graceconnect.us. On the website, you may want to check out the Timothy Letters, written by Focus Retreat participants to their ministry protégés outlining values they want to pass on. (Click on the pull-down list under the “Grace Stories” menu item.) Or see real-time reactions to the Focus Retreat discussions by clicking on the Values Canvas link in the right column.
I can’t close this column without thanking Judy Daniels. As the magazine went into production, I left on an extended medical leave to recover from major surgery. Judy, an experienced writer and magazine editor, guided the publication through the rest of the process. Thanks, Judy, for stepping in to help! — Liz Cutler Gates, editor, GraceConnect magazine
- So, What Is a Grace Brethren Anyway?
- Getting It Right, Again!
- Truth That Builds Bridges
- The Path Forward
- Dr. Dave Guiles, author
- The Message of the Brethren Ministry
- The Statement of Faith
- Charis Commitment to Common Mission
- Charis Declaration of Common Identity