Friday, April 27, 2007

Latest AGBM e-newsletter Arrives

The latest edition of Sharpening One Another (SOA jr) from AGBM president Joel Richards has just arrived in in-boxes. Here is some of the content of the current issue:

From the President's Desk
National Day of Prayer
Association News
Supreme Court Upholds Partial-Birth Abortion Ban
Tickling Your Funny Bone!

If you are not receiving it, please e-mail Joel at to be put on the list.

Hagerstown Grace Seeks Senior Pastor

Grace Brethren Church of Hagerstown, MD, is seeking a senior pastor to spiritually lead a congregation of approx. 300 members.

The senior pastor is an Elder position placed on a Board of Elders. The Pastor Elder must meet the scriptural qualifications found in 1 Tim. 3:1-7. A personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a born-again life leading experience as well as acceptance and belief in the GB Fellowship's doctrinal beliefs are required. Doctrinal experience in the GBC is preferred.

Excellent interpersonal skills must demonstrate an ability to interact positively within a church family. The successful candidate must have at least five years experience in ministry and a bachelors degree in Bible or theology. Masters degree in Divinity is preferred.

Interested candidates should submit a resume with cover letter including salary requirements to: Grace Brethren Church, ATTN: Administrative Elder, 837 Spruce Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740 Fax: 301-739-9481

Northwest District Conference "Very Well Attended"

Nathan Zakahi, pastor of the Sunnyside, Washington, Grace Brethren Church, sends along the following encouraging comments about the Northwest District conference, held this last weekend. To see more details on the conference, access the posting on this blog from Tuesday, March 6, 2007.

"We are just coming off a successful District Conference that was very well attended. Last year at Mabton we had maybe 75 in attendance. This year at Sunnyside about 180. We followed a seminar format like Equip07 and involved the pastors to lead."

Warsaw Looking for Student Ministries Director

Community Grace Brethren Church, Warsaw, IN, is taking applications for a full-time director of Junior High, Senior High and College ministries. If interested, please mail a resume to 909 South Buffalo Street, Warsaw, IN 46580 or email:

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dorothy Carter With the Lord

Pete Meader, a long-time member of Grace Brethren Church of Long Beach, California, sent along the following news note about his aunt Dorothy Carter:

Dorothy Carter, age 97, went home to be with the Lord on October 28, 2006. She was very active in the WMC for years and supported her husband both in the U.S and abroad. She was a fine pianist and organist as well.

She was married to Chaplain Donald F. Carter, who passed away in 1993. Don was a Brethren pastor for many years but felt his real calling was in the chaplaincy.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Elizabeth Pierce Surgery Set for April 30

The following update on Elizabeth Pierce, the daughter-in-law of Pastor Daniel Pierce from the Greenville, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church, comes via Ned Denlinger, who manages communications for the Tri-State District:

Daniel and Teressa's daughter-in-law Elizabeth, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, which is approximately the size of a lemon in her frontal lobe. Elizabeth and Dan are the proud parents of their three-week old son, and Daniel/Teressa's first grandchild.

The Pierce family met with the surgeon Sunday at Duke University Hospital in Durham, NC. Elizabeth's surgery is scheduled for this coming Monday (30th).

The surgeon was very realistic in saying that they can surgically remove the tumor, but it will come back some years down the road, and it will be very aggressive. Obviously, that was not news that the Pierces wanted to hear. Certainly, this is just medical information, and leaves an all-powerful, all-loving God out of the picture.

Please pray for the Pierces (Daniel/Teressa, Dan/Elizabeth) as they go through this time, for God's healing in Elizabeth's body, for the medical staff...that they would make wise decisions and skillful procedures.

Daniel does check email from time-to-time as he has access. He sounded like he needs a big hug, but an email or phone call might be the next best thing.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Elizabeth Pierce Update

From Danny Wright's blog:

Elizabeth is the daughter-in-law of Daniel Pierce (founding pastor and current outreach pastor of our church, Greenville, OH, Grace Brethren Church). It was discovered today that Elizabeth has a brain tumor (glioma) in her frontal lobe.

Doctors tell the family this is the easiest place for a tumor to be removed. The family has decided to seek treatment at Duke University. This is advantageous because:

1. Duke has more experience in Elizabeth's condition than the Atlanta hospital (though the Atlanta facility appeared to be top notch as well).

2. Teressa's family lives in the Durham area, making family support even more possible.

Elizabeth has a consultation with a doctor Thursday and should get more details about surgery at that time.This news comes just two weeks after Elizabeth gave birth to her first child, William Anderson Pierce.

Please pray for the Dan (Daniel's son), Elizabeth, William, Daniel, Teressa and the rest of the family involved.

Brian Mayes New Youth Pastor at Brookville, OH

The Grace Brethren Church in Brookville, Ohio (Dale Harris, pastor) is excited to announce the addition of Brian Mayes (along with his wife Brandy) as the church's new youth pastor starting June 1.

Brian grew up in the Longview, TX Grace Brethren Church, and he will be graduating from Grace College on May 5 with a degree in counseling that includes a youth ministry minor.

Brian brings experience in youth ministry, having served with Lifeline Youth and Family Services in Columbia City, IN, as a Youth Treatment Specialist while finishing his studies at Grace in addition to volunteer youth and children’s ministry at Grace Community Church (Goshen, IN) and Community Grace Brethren (Warsaw, IN).

Pastor Dale Harris said, "Brian’s passion for Jesus, his strong knowledge of God’s Word and his desire to reach teenagers with the life-changing message of the gospel make him a perfect fit. We welcome Brian and Brandy to our church family, and we’re excited to see how God will work through us together to creatively reach our community for Jesus!"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Yauger Lymphoma Treatments Begin Today

Your prayers are requested for Rich Yauger, youth pastor at Grace Community Church in Goshen, Indiana (Jim Brown, pastor).

According to information from the FGBC office, Rich was recent diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and begins treatment today. Rich and Carol are expecting their first child in two weeks. The photo is of the Goshen church leaders praying for Rich and his treatment.

The following biographical information on Rich is taken from the Goshen church website--it will give you more insight into Rich and his ministry.

Do you prefer Pepsi or Coke? I'm a Coke man.

When did you except Christ into your life, and how has it impacted your life? I was 5 years old when Bessie Ferrie led me to Jesus. I'm not sure where I'd be if Jesus were not a part of my life, but I certainly would not want to find out. He has helped me through life, brought me back to the right path when I've strayed, and has been my constant source of strength, hope, and peace.

Would you rather eat a Big Mac or a Whopper? I usually go to both places and combine the two sandwiches in to something I like to call the "Big Whopper." Nothing like 150 grams of fat and 2000 calories to start your day.

Among your friends, who could you arm wrestle and beat? All of them. I like to surround myself with weaker people to make me feel strong. :)

Do you ask for directions when you are lost? I've never been lost ... I've been a bit confused for an hour or two, but never lost.

Tell us about your family? I've been married to my lovely wife Carol for four years. She is my life. We are expecting our first baby on April 30th and are both very excited. We are 100% sure that it will be either a boy or a girl. We also have an English Mastiff named Yalom and two cats: Chappy and Paco.

If you could invite any athlete to your home for dinner, who would it be? Jerome Bettis ... but you better believe we're going out and he's buying.

What is your vision for Grace Community Church? To be used by God to bring adults, teenagers, and children to Jesus Christ and to see them grow in a personal relationship with Him. My specific passion for the students of Grace Community and our town is that our youth ministry will be the high light of their week because they come and walk away with a clear picture of who God is.

What is your favorite childhood memory? My first tackle in a football scrimmage game in high school. I made the tackle (a very good one, by the way) and then got up, jumped up and down, and started yelling at the guy I just tackled. If I'm not mistaken, it was the only tackle I made all year, so I'm glad I made the most of it. :)

What is your all time favorite song? Seasons by Nichole Nordeman

Four Pass NCO Exams

From the North Central Ohio update, distributed by NCO coordinator Todd Scoles:

Congratulations to Four Who Passed Exams

On Tuesday, April 10, four men passed NCO exams. Nate Harrison (East Side GBC) and Jeff Martin (Powell GBC) were unanimously recommended for ordination and Sy Belohlavek (GBC Columbus) and John Shirley (Heartland GBC) were unanimously recommended for licensure. Congratulations men!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Resources to Prevent Sexual Abuse

Here are some helpful resources for pastors and church leaders, made available by the Southern Baptists, for building in protections against sexual abuse in the church:

LifeWay resources for helping prevent child sexual abuse in churches. Among them:

-- The "Pastor Search Committee Handbook," which is available at LifeWay Christian Stores and which includes information on how to conduct criminal and credit background checks.

-- "4 Steps to Prevent Sexual Abuse in Your Church," available at

-- "Preventing Sexual Abuse," available at

-- "7 Ways to Protect Your Church Staff from Scandal," available at

-- "How to Protect Your Church from Lawsuits," available at

Friday, April 13, 2007

Dave Ogden Returns to Sebring

According to a note from Dr. Randy Smith, pastor of the Grace Brethren church in Sebring, Florida, Pastor Dave Ogden has agreed to rejoin the staff at Sebring Grace to work with Counseling and Families.

Ogden, who previously pastored the Sebring church, has most recently been pastor at Grace Christian Church in Okeechobee, Florida.

Lititz Selects Spiritual Formation Pastoral Candidate

Tim Auld (pictured) is being recommended by the elder board of the Grace Brethren Church in Lititz, Pennsylvania (Scott Distler, pastor), as the candidate for the new position Pastor of Spiritual Formation. Pending congregational approval, he will begin his ministry with the Lititz church July 1, 2007. He is the husband of the church’s current Children’s Director, Susan Auld.

According to Pastor Scott Distler’s blog, Rev. Tim Auld is currently a faculty member and Associate Director of Degree Program at Lancaster Bible College.

Scott says, “Tim has a pastor’s heart whose main passion is shepherding and discipleship. Tim is a very relational person. His greatest love is meeting with people individually and in small groups, literally meeting them where they are and helping to see them move to where God wants them to be. Tim is gifted for this type of ministry. Tim is a quiet leader who is high in theology; in mercy and in teaching. He is also very organized. He is one who is a good listener, who can empathize well with others, and who can provide solid biblical guidance.”

Auld holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Philadelphia Biblical University, where he was the recipient of the Pastoral Studies Award which is the Senior Class honor given to the graduate who is best recognized for his outstanding ability and potential in pastoral ministry.

He also holds a Master of Theological Studies degree from Heritage Theological Seminar in Cambridge, Ontario. He has 10 years of pastoral experience including being Senior Pastor at two different churches in Canada. Tim is a licensed and ordained pastor within the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches of Canada.

Distler says, “In Tim’s experience as a pastor he has dealt with a wide variety of pastoral counseling issues including but not limited to marriage and family issues, spiritual growth issues, alcoholism issues, suicidal issues, depression issues, abuse issues and more.

"In the year he has been attending Grace Church he and his wife have taken the Pastor’s Class and have shown a complete adherence to our statement of faith and to the strategy and philosophy of ministry that we are pursuing as a church. They have also both been baptized and are joining the church.”

Updates on Pierce Family, Dan Grabill

The following is taken from an e-mail update this morning from Ned Denlinger, coordinator of the Tri-State District Fellowship:

I called Daniel Pierce Thursday afternoon. He is still in Murphy, North Carolina, with his son Dan, and Dan's wife, Elizabeth. Daniel told me that Elizabeth's tumor is on the frontal lobe and is about the size of a lemon.

The neurosurgeons tell them that the brain can produce this type of tumor, and if it's detected in young children, it can often be successfully removed, and sometimes it doesn't reoccur.

In the situation of a young adult like Elizabeth, they can go in and remove it, but the tumors are usually pretty aggressive. At this point, they do not know if it is malignant, or what level (1 through 4) it is. They won't know this until after the labs from the surgery.

Surgery is scheduled in Atlanta on Tuesday. They are continuing to network the medical community, seeking the best neurosurgeon in the country. If they find what they think is a better surgeon, and they schedule with him/her, then the Tuesday date would obviously change.

I also received this from Dan Grabill, as he's going through chemo treatments at this time:

"You can share the news that my recent CT scan revealed that the abdominal tumor is completely gone. The doctor was amazed. I will be completing the six rounds of chemo. After that final tests to confirm that all the cancer is gone from bone marrow and lungs."

Please continue to pray for these families.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Pray for the Daniel Pierce Family

Please pray for the family of Daniel Pierce, who is outreach pastor at the Grace Brethren Church of Greenville, Ohio, and works with the Dublin, Ohio, GBNAM church-planting center.

Daniel’s daughter-in-law Elizabeth, who just gave birth the Pierces’ new grandson, Will, several weeks ago, had a couple of seizures yesterday and was taken to the hospital for observation.

The doctors have discovered a tumor on the front of her brain and she is scheduled for surgery to have the tumor removed in about five days. They are unsure of the nature of the tumor at this point.

Daniel and his wife, Teressa, are currently with their son and family in Murphy, North Carolina, and will appreciate your prayers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Basore Road Seeking CE Pastor

PASTOR OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION: The Basore Road Grace Brethren Church in Dayton, Ohio, is seeking resumes for the position of Pastor of Christian Education. This pastor would oversee all adult Christian Education in a church of 275-300 members/attenders.

A detailed ministry description is available by contacting the church. All resumes can be sent to the church as well.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

25 Observations on Tomorrow's Church Leaders

Keith Drury, who teaches at Indiana Wesleyan University, has posted some stimulating observations on today's young people and, consequently, on the church leaders of the future. Here are the first five of his 25 observations -- to read the entire article, click on

My Students -- The Coming Wave in the Church

I get to spend my day-to-day life with the next generation coming along in the church. I see every day hints at what the church might become in the future. I have my ideas about what they’ll do in and to the church, but I’m not sharing that here. Instead I’ll just list 25 prominent characteristics of my students here and let you connect the dots. If these characteristics hold true for them after college, how do you think this “Coming Wave” will affect the church?

My Students

1. From larger churches, yet value smaller ones. The last study we did showed our [ministry] students came larger churches—the median home church was 700. Yet they really value smaller churches. We’ll see if they value them enough to actually work in one. Or what they means about how they’ll approach their work in larger ones

2. Model of a minister is a youth pastor. They are products of youth pastors. Senior pastors and solo pastors seem like District Superintendents to them—something they might some day do but not on their radar at all yet.

3. Prophetic rhetoric—they are unsatisfied. They think there is something wrong with the church—something really wrong that needs fixed.

4. Expect lots of structure. They “never went out to play” on their own. They were taken on play dates, to organized sports, to dance lessons, to clubs after school. They expect directions and instructions and supervision and help. When they are told “there is no syllabus or assignments in the church” it terrifies them. They don’t seek a job “where the pastor leaves me alone” but want plenty of structure and mentoring.

5. Denominations are good. While they don’t like denominationalism they like denominations and are far more “loyal” than earlier generations. They like the general church even more than districts. If headquarters leaders can hold on for another decade they’ll be in the sweet!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Gary Austin Update: Living With an 'Ostomy'

The following update is excerpted from an e-mail received yesterday from Gary Austin, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, who is undergoing treatment for colorectal cancer:

Living with an "ostomy" is a life-changing experience. It seems to be "working" ok. We had to go back to the hospital yesterday for the Ostomy Nurse to walk me through the process of taking off the old one and putting on a new one.

They have disconnected my colon completely for now; this ostomy is attached to my small intestine. Because I can lose more fluid this way, I have to drink Gatorade everyday to keep my electrolytes up. I also have to drink extra fluids.

I go back next Monday, April 8, for a CAT scan, using the contrast dye. That's the same stuff I had an allergic reaction to in February. They've given me some pills to take 12 hours before and 2 hours before the scan [scheduled for 8 a.m. on Monday] to help counteract the allergic reaction. Sure hope it works!

After the CAT, then we meet with the surgeon. The plan is to schedule the date for the tumor removal surgery. A lot depends on what they see (or don't see) in the CAT scan. I think that surgery will be more involved than this "minor" laparoscope I had last week. With that in mind, I'll be on my back for sometime. You can pray that I'll gain back a measure of strength and endurance for that important event. I need to get that tumor out.

The church has already arranged for someone else to speak on Sunday. Jean and I hope to be able to go to services, but they didn't want me to worry about getting the message ready, etc.

The Cedar Rapids Prayer Alliance (pastors from several churches in town that I meet with each week for prayer) will be meeting at our church this month. Their concern is being on location of one who needs much prayer at this time. They know I'm a special "target" of their prayers. Our church leaders are glad these men want to meet at CR Grace.

Thank you for your continuing prayers and contacts.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Tiberius Rata Book Published

Dr. Tiberius Rata (pictured), professor of Old Testament at Grace Theological Seminary, Winona Lake, Indiana, has published his first book, The Covenant Motif in
Jeremiah’s Book of Comfort: Textual and Intertextual Studies of Jeremiah 30-33
(New York: Peter Lang, 2007).

The book examines Jeremiah’s promise of a new covenant that God will interiorize his law into
people’s hearts. The book makes a theologically and hermeneutically balanced incursion into Old
Testament texts used in the New Testament and provides a springboard for further discussion on difficult, yet important issues, such as the Lord’s Supper and the future of Israel.

Dr. Rata joined the seminary faculty in 2005. He and his wife, Carmen, have two boys, Timothy and Nicholas.