The Tie That Binds
What a difference a day – or a decade – makes! Or does it?
This issue, focused on the theme of being mission-minded, went into production as I was thinking about the 75th anniversary of the founding of the Brethren Missionary Herald Co. The organization, which publishes GraceConnect, began with a magazine, the Brethren Missionary Herald, to meet the communication needs of a fledgling group of mission-minded churches.
It made me realize how being on mission is very much in the DNA of the Grace Brethren movement.
While browsing through the first issue, it became apparent that in 1940, economic worries were causing alarm. The imminent return of Jesus Christ was expected. The record of the “bloody orgy” of killings, beatings, and other cruelties upon the Jews in Germany was noted as rivaling the blackest pages of the Spanish Inquisition. Textbooks taught evolutionary theory as established fact while the Bible was ignored.
That first edition was dedicated to Jesus Christ and the heralding of His gospel to the lost in America. It promised to carry the stories of the gospel with nothing contrary to sound doctrine. There was a commitment to reaching people for Jesus Christ before He comes, establishing strong congregations of believers, and holding forth an invincible testimony that would silence unbelief.
To leaf through some of those yellowed pages is like watching today’s headlines scroll across the bottom of a television screen. In the 21st century, economic hardships often force both men and women to work outside the home in order to make ends meet. The return of Jesus seems even closer.
Brutal murders are at the hand of terrorists, but no less disconcerting. Jewish people continue to be the target of violence and the Bible is repeatedly ignored as the source of truth (and not just in academic settings).
So it seems not much has changed in 75 years. The Brethren Missionary Herald Company (now known as GraceConnect) continues to tell the stories of what God is doing in the Grace Brethren movement. Evangelism and intercessory prayer is encouraged through stirring stories, inspirational articles, and encouraging photos and news. The platforms of GraceConnect – whether in print or online – are designed to fan the flames of a passion for lost souls throughout
Grace Brethren congregations in North America. We are building bridges of communication so that kingdom-buildings efforts in the FGBC (and beyond) will grow.
It is our hope you’ll be inspired to be more mission-minded after reading this issue of GraceConnect. It was the second-most cited value of leaders in the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches during last year’s Focus Retreats. And it’s something we’ve valued as a network of congregations for more than 75 years!
Liz Cutler Gates is the editor of GraceConnect. Since 2010, she has served as executive director of the Brethren Missionary Herald Company. She and her husband, Doug, live near Warsaw, Ind.