Friday, February 23, 2007

AGBM-Related Events for March, 2007

Here are some of the AGBM-related events for the month ahead. For details and updates, go to and click on "events."

Monday, February 26 South Focus Retreat

Friday, March 02 NCO Sweetheart Dinner

Friday, March 02 Tri-State Women's Conference

Saturday, March 03 West Penn On-Mission training

Monday, March 05 Church Planting Course

Thursday, March 08 West Penn Ministerium

Saturday, March 10 Northern Atlantic Ministerium

Tuesday, March 13 Tri-State Multiplication Mtg

Sunday, March 18 NAF Celebration

Sunday, March 18 Tri-State District Celebration

Tuesday, March 20 Heartland Ministerium

Tuesday, March 20 Tri-State Ministerium

Church-Planting Training February 27-28

MissionIntensive, February 27-28, Northwest Chapel GBC

The theme of "Recovering the Incarnational Church in the U.S." is geared to practictioners of existing or new church plants. The VisionOhio Church Planting Operations Center and Grace Brethren North American Missions are hosting a time of training to provide a new frameowrk for how we view culture, church and leadership.

For more information and to register, go to

'The Church You've Always Longed For'

From the Washington, PA, Observer-Reporter:

New Hope Grace Brethren Church, which meets in the Lone Pine Community Building, this Sunday begins an eight-week series, "The Church You've Always Longed For," at 10 a.m. Sunday.

This also will be the theme of the District Conference April 21 at Meyersdale Grace Brethren Church. For more information, call Pastor Ron Thorn at 724-809-8860.

Brookville, OH, Looks for Youth Pastor

Brookville (OH) Grace Brethren Church (Dale Harris, pastor) is looking for a youth pastor to complete its staff team.

Brookville is a growing town located just northwest of Dayton, OH. The church has a vision to reach lost and hurting people with the life-changing message of Jesus Christ.

The church's notice says, "We're looking for a guy who loves Jesus and has a passion for teenagers along with the creativity and motivation to help design and pull off regular community outreaches. We also want someone who can program for a variety of students, from those on the fringe to those needing leadership training and in-depth discipleship."

Music skills are a huge plus. Basic job responsibilities include: teaching youth group, planning and overseeing all youth events, overseeing the volunteers for our children's ministry, and helping with community blitz outreaches such as soccer camp and fun give-a-ways.

Anyone interested should download an application from the church's home page (, the application is available once you click on the link). Completed applications should be sent to Any additional questions, call the church office at (937) 833-5562.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

John Shirley New Pastor at Mt. Gilead, OH

Heartland Grace Brethren Church in Mt. Gilead, Ohio, voted February 11 to name John Shirley as its new pastor. John will complete his responsibilities at Delaware Christian School until the end of the school year while commuting to Mt. Gilead.

Pray for the Shirley family as they make this transition.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Dave Mitchell Says 'Thanks'

Pastor Dave Mitchell of Hawaii, who underwent extensive heart surgery earlier this month, gives the following good report:
How can I say "thanks" ? I want to thank the surgeon and his team as they literally held my life in their hands just ten days ago.
I want to thank the nursing staff at the Trippler Army Hospital as they cared for my every need, but most of all I want to thank all of you who prayed and fasted for me before, during, and after my surgery and of course all glory and honor is given to the Great Physician who was really calling the shots.
God is so good...While I will always have to battle heart disease, my immediate prognosis is that I will recover back to normal, whatever that is..and if I really take care of myself I will probably have some time to watch my grandson, Jordan (8 Months) grow to know the Lord.
My recovery is from 4-8 weeks but praise God I am in the office today just after a little over a week.
This will be my last report concerning me. So with this I close by saying once again, Thank You !

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Matt Mason Moving to Pennsylvania

Matt Mason (pictured) has been a part of the CE National staff in Winona Lake, Indiana, for nearly six years, is moving to Pennsylvania to join ministries there.

Mason has worked as staff accountant at CEN and, in the last few years, as an officer of Momentum (BNYC). Recently he was asked to serve as the business manager for Joy El Ministries in Eastern Pennsylvania.

He and his wife, Kathryn, and their two girls, will move next week. Matt is excited with this new opportunity since it will also allow him to serve as the youth director at the Conococheague Grace Brethren Church in Greencastle, PA, where Paul and Denise Hutchison serve.

In making the announcement, CE National says, "We at CE National want to say how much we have appreciated Matt and wish him God's best in this new opportunities to work with children, youth, and finances. "

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Grace Seminary Scholarships Available

From this week's Grace Connection:

FREE TUITION? FREE HOUSING? Grace Seminary will host its annual "Glimpse of Grace" event for prospective students on March 23-24 here on campus. It's a time for men and women who are considering Grace Seminary to meet the faculty and current students, and learn more about the school.

One of the most exciting features of this year's "Glimpse of Grace" is that interested students can compete in the Presidential Scholarship Competition. The seminary will be awarding 10 new scholarships to students entering Grace Seminary during the fall 2007 semester. The top scholarship award consists of free tuition and housing for a Master of Divinity student for three years.

If you'd like to learn more, plus see a schedule of events, go to or e-mail This is a great opportunity - so if you know someone who is considering seminary, pass this information along.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Lee Friesen Announces Retirement From Brooksville

After almost 11 years as pastor of the Brooksville, Florida, Grace Brethren Church, Pastor Lee Friesen has announced to his church family that he will be retiring May 31, 2007.

Lee and his wife, Janelle, plan to move to Ashland, Ohio, to be near their son who is a medical doctor there. Though retired he does not plan to be inactive but hopes to work with camping ministries and will be available to do pulpit supply for churches needing short-tem pastoral help.

Potential pastoral candidates, or those willing to make referrals, please contact Lawrence Wentz at 352-754-8547 or at LWENTZ@TAMPABAY.RR.COM.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Morning Update on Dave Mitchell

Monday morning update on Pastor David Mitchell (Hawaii) by Thomas Norris:

Dave is still doing well and getting better every day. He has been having some trouble with fluid in his lungs, but it seems to be a normal occurrence in this type of surgery recovery.

A lot of the pain is gone, except when he coughs or laughs. He seems to be in good spirits when I went to see him yesterday, but does not have much of an appetite. . . but I tried a taste of the food they are giving him and I really don't blame him for not wanting to eat.

All in all, I would say he looks good for a guy who just went through what he did and the doctors and nurses seem to agree that he is doing well. Please continue to pray for a complete recovery.

Also keep Betty Lou in those prayers. She has not gotten a good night's rest since the surgery and is very tired. Pray that God will give her rest and that she will have the energy to take care of Dave when he is back at home. . . which may be as early as Tuesday. Thanks again for the prayers, keep it up.

Bryan Nelson Leaving Lititz Church

Bryan Nelson, who has served the last 10 years as Worship Arts Director at the Grace Brethren Church of Lititz, PA (Scott Distler, pastor), will be leaving the Lititz church in April to become the Worship Arts Director at a church in Topeka, Kansas.

Pastor Distler, in an announcement to the Lititz church family, said, “I have nothing but the greatest of admiration for Bryan. I have grown over the past 2.5 years to love him dearly, and though I will be very saddened to see him go and no longer be able to partner with him in daily ministry anymore, I could not be any more excited for him and his family as God blesses them with this adventure. Bryan’s last day with us here at Grace Church will be on Easter Sunday, April 8th.”

Matt McElravy, who did a Worship Arts Internship at Grace Church under Bryan Nelson as part of his degree completion at Millersville University, has been on the Lititz church staff part-time since August of 2006 as Assistant Music Director. Matt will take the role of Interim Worship Arts Director, a full-time position that will officially begin Easter Sunday, April 8th and last through the end of the calendar year (December 31, 2007).

Saturday, February 10, 2007

SBC 2006 Minister's Tax Guide Available

The always-excellent minister's tax guide produced annually by the Southern Baptist Convention is available free as a download. Reproduced here is the table of contents. To download, click here:

Section 1 (Pages 1–40, 353 KB)
President’s message.
Part 1. Introduction.
Part 2. Basic tax questions for ministers and churches.
Part 3. 403(b) plans and IRAs.
Part 4. Step-by-step tax return preparation.
Schedules A, B, C, C-EZ and SE.
Forms 2106 and 2106-EZ.

Section 2 (Pages 41–49, 1.35 MB)
Part 5. Comprehensive example for active minister.
Facts about the example.
Example W-2 and 1040.
Example Schedules A, B, C-EZ and SE.
Forms 2106 and 2441.

Section 3 (Pages 50–57, 1.3 MB)
Part 5. Comprehensive example for active minister, continued.
Forms 8812 and 8880.
Supporting worksheets and statements.
Explanation of sample forms for active minister.

Section 4 (Pages 58–64, 702 KB)
Part 6. Comprehensive example for retired minister.
Facts about the example.
Example 1040.
Example Schedules C-EZ and SE.
Explanation of sample forms for retired minister.

Section 5 (Pages 65–80, 636 KB)
Special section: Important federal requirements for churches.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Update on Dave Mitchell

Got word from Betty Lou today that Dave is doing well in recovery and has been moved out of ICU. Still has a lot of pain and not up for visitors much. Today he was able to get up and take a few steps but it took a lot out of him.

Gary Austin: 'Not All We Hoped For'

Here is a Friday report from Gary Austin, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who is entering treatment for colorectal cancer:

Today was my appointment at the University of Iowa to have this EUS (endoscope ultrasound) done. The update is not all that we might have hoped for.

My "friend" is considered Stage 3 [T3 / N1] - which means it has taken hold through the wall of the rectum and has affected two lymph nodes as well. It could be a lot worse ... but not a whole lot more ;)

Thursday will be the next major appointment we have - with the oncologist as well as with the radiation clinic. It's all connected in the Univ. of Iowa Hospital complex. We anticipate entering radiation treatments along with chemo at the same time - for 5 or 6 weeks.

They want to shrink the tumor down so they can remove as much as possible by surgery and then "put me back together" so all the plumbing works right. Not sure when the treatments will begin but I don't think they want to put them off too long.

We know you've been praying for us - even as we have many praying for you. We are on a journey together - so it's good you know the details as they are available to share.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Dave Mitchell Recovering From Surgery

This update came this morning, following heart surgery on Pastor Dave Mitchell of the Waipio Grace Brethren Church in Mililani, Hawaii:

Betty Lou reports that the surgery went well. Dave went in at about 8:00 am and got out around 2:00 pm.

His heart started back up without a problem and he is now in ICU decked out with IV's, breathing tube, and all kinds of other wires and hoses. There is still the normal risk of a stroke or blood clotting, so prayers are still needed.

Keep Dave and Betty Lou in your prayers.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Mexico City Church Looking for Pastor

Roy Halberg, pastor of the Grace Fellowship of Alta Loma, California, passes along the following information item:

My sister-in-law attends a church in Mexico City that is looking for a pastor.

If you know of anyone who may have interest, please pass this information along.
Here is what the church is circulating as they begin their search:

"The Union Evangelical Church of Mexico City is looking for a Senior Pastor. Ideally, he would be a married Protestant and a native English speaker, with a Masters of Divinity. Applicants of all ages are welcome.

"International experience, as some Spanish, are not necessary, but certainly desirable.The candidate should be excited about moving to the largest city in the world. It is an exciting place, with a unique cultural heritage derived from both its Indian and Spanish roots.

"The church is located in a lovely residential area, with the manse next door."

Roy may be contacted at

SOA (jr) Latest Edition Now Out

The latest edition of the e-newsletter by AGBM president Joel Richards should be in your inbox by now. Here is one of the articles from the current edition. If you're not receiving the newsletter, please e-mail joel at to be added to the distribution list:

Board of Directors Selected

This is a first for our Association.

We have a board of directors chosen by the members. They will spend the next five months in the process of getting organized. This is being accomplished by e-mail at this point until this group of men has the opportunity to meet face to face.

Please pray for this foundational time.

The officers affirmed are listed below.

Ken Bickel
Mark Saunders
Randall Smith
Randy Weekley
Doug Courter
Robert Fetterhoff
Robert Soto
Terry Daniels
Greg Howell
Ralph Molyneaux

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Tad Hobert Concludes North Riverdale Ministry

After 28 years as pastor of the North Riverdale (Ohio) Grace Brethren Church, Tad Hobert concluded his ministry there on February 4. The North Riverdale church family had a farewell dinner and service with testimonies to honor the Hoberts, and also gave them a gift of cash, flowers, and a special platter.

He will become pastor of the Donnels Creek Church of the Brethren in North Hampton, Ohio, on February 12.

Hobert says, “Vivienne and I have been privileged to serve the Lord at NRGBC for over 28 years. I plan to keep my ministerial credentials with the FGBC.”

Praying for Dave Mitchell

Just a reminder to be especially in prayer today for Dave Mitchell, pastor of our Waipio church in Hawaii, and his wife, Betty Lou.

Today is the scheduled day for Dave's heart valve replacement and bypass surgery. We'll pass on information as soon as it is available.

Gary Austin Update

Gary Austin, pastor of the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Grace Brethren church, is in the early stages of seeking treatment for recently-diagnosed colorectal cancer. Here is his latest update:

Today was a verrrry cold day in Iowa - woke up to -28 degrees wind-chills, with actual temps at -11 degrees. It's going to warm up to 0 degree tonight and snow tomorrow. O the joys of winter!

I made my first trip to Iowa City, to the University of Iowa Hospital, to see the surgeon, Dr. Wilkinson. He confirmed the tumor is there and has a plan to treat it. He also wants to get some additional info, so tomorrow, Tuesday, I go back for a CT scan - different from the PET/CT scan I had two weeks ago.

I will also be having an endoscopic ultrasound soon to show the full size and stage of the tumor. Next Thursday, Feb. 15, I have two appointments - one with an oncologist, and one with a radiation doctor.

Wilkinson is anticipating what the results of the tests will be - radiation for several weeks - each day of the week [Mon - Fri], followed by chemo. The purpose is to shrink the tumor. Then he will remove what's left surgically. That's the tricky part - getting it out and putting me back together properly ... so everything functions the way it's suppose to function.

He's anticipating a recovery time of one week in the hospital and 3 or 4 weeks recuperating. After that, I may get some additional treatments - if needed - to fully wipe out any lingering amounts of cancer cells. This is taking us into April for surgery and May for recovery, if everything goes to plan.

That's the news from here for now. Just wanted you to know what's going on and encourage you to keep praying for strength and patience through the process.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Chico, CA, Seeks Senior Pastor

Grace Brethren Church of Chico, California, is seeking a full-time Senior Pastor.

We are a Fellowship of Grace Brethren-affiliated church with approximately 140 regular attendees. We have a diverse congregation with a strong and active retirement-aged population.

We have been a congregation for approximately 50+ years. Over the years several areas have continued to be priorities for our church; missions, children, our local community, a loving atmosphere, and music. “A Place Called Grace” is on our sign and defines our character.

We have a traditional format in our Sunday morning worship services with many hymns and a few newer choruses mixed in. We have Sunday School, a single Sunday morning service, a Sunday evening service, and Wednesday prayer meeting and home Bible studies.

We have an active AWANA group with approximately 75 children from throughout our community attending weekly. We also have a Women’s Ministry and Prayer Coffee group that averages 30 ladies in attendance each week.

After a difficult season we are looking for a Senior Pastor to restore unity, forgiveness, caring and love to our body as commanded by Christ in John 13:34-35; and to love and care for our body as it exists and build and strengthen GBC for future generations by initiating an outreach program for young and middle-aged single and married adults.

We prefer a Senior Pastor who is seminary-educated with a Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministries with a minimum of 5 years relevant experience. At a minimum, we require a Senior Pastor without the requisite seminary education to have 10 years relevant experience and an openness to embrace the Grace Brethren precepts and traditions.

Chico, California, is located approximately 100 miles directly north of Sacramento. Chico was founded in 1860 by General John Bidwell, a member of the first overland wagon train to reach California.

Over the years, Chico has blossomed in several areas with agriculture, education, medical, retail and tourism the most notable industries. We are a thriving and progressive community with a population of over 65,000 within the city limits and over 95,000 in the Chico urban area. Chico is a treasure trove of arts and cultural activities and a playground for outdoor and sports enthusiasts.

All inquiries should be submitted to:

Pastoral Search Committee
Grace Brethren Church of Chico
355 Panama Ave.
Chico, CA. 95973
(530) 342-8642

Medina, Ohio, Seeks a Pastor

SENIOR PASTOR: Shepherd's Grace Church in Medina, Ohio, is seeking a full-time Senior Pastor.

Our church is ten years old with approximately 225 regular attendees. We have many young families who desire to grow together in the Lord while enjoying fellowship with each other. Our desire is to find a pastor who not only proclaims the truth with accuracy and passion, but exemplifies a life of faithfulness to the Word of God in humility, godly character, and dependence on the Holy Spirit.

We embrace reformed theology and teach often about the sovereignty of God in all things. We are depending on God to grow our church spiritually and numerically and thus do not adhere to the present-day church growth movement principles.

We are a close-knit congregation who love the Lord and try to exemplify that by loving each other well. Our church has one Sunday morning worship service after Sunday School for children through adults. Our two adult Sunday School classes are presently studying the book of Acts (the early church) and the book of Romans.

We have a very active AWANA program. Most of our congregation are involved in small groups (flocks). We have a very active missions emphasis, with a strong desire to be an on-missions church--where we are involved with our missionaries on every level--not just financially.

We have a good women's ministry with Bible studies, Friday night outreaches, and an annual retreat. Our men meet every Saturday morning for prayer and fellowship (and donuts). Our youth program is awesome with a very enthusiastic youth pastor. Our youth are planning a missions trip for this summer.

We are seeking a man who has experience in the senior pastor position and is "battle-tested." We are an elder-led church. Our desire is to grow in the Word so that we can be equipped to serve God and our fellow man.

We would love God to bring a man who is strong in evangelism--to train us in that area.

Please contact Julie at if you would like more information. A packet of information will be sent to you. Our phone number is 330-239-2600