Sunday, July 29, 2007

AGBM Annual Meeting Now Concluded

Pastor Jim Custer (right), who is just completing his longtime ministry as pastor of the Columbus, Ohio, Grace Brethren Church, prayed for the executive committee and board of the Association of Grace Brethren Ministers (on platform) as today's annual meeting of the AGBM concluded.

Held at 4 p.m. today (Sunday) in the Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church, the meeting was attended by more than 300 Grace Brethren pastors and elders. Joel Richards, pastor of the LaLoma Grace Brethren Church in Modesto, California, and current president of AGBM, moderated.

The group recognized newly-licensed and ordained members, heard and approved a financial report, and dealt with several issues relating to membership and changes in the group's consitution.

The three annual awards were given as well. Dr. David Plaster, newly-called pastor of the Columbus, Ohio, church, was given the Excellence in Ministry award. He recently concluded several decades of ministry teaching and administrating at Grace College & Seminary. Dr. Ken Bickel of the seminary faculty read the commendation for Plaster.

The Pastor of the Year Award was given to Pastor Rick Nuzum of the Grace Brethren Church of Powell, Ohio. Jim Custer read the commendation and Pastor Nuzum's history, which included NFL experience with the Los Angeles Rams, Green Bay Packers, and New York Giants as a player.

The Powell church under his leadership for the past 12 years has started three new churches, supports 23 missionaries, and has continued with a strong ministry in the Columbus area. Nuzum was unable to attend because of the sudden heart attack and death of a parishioner.

Jack Churchill, longtime Grace Brethren missionary to Argentina and to Mexico, was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Churchill, 85, was also unable to attend the ceremony due to health concerns.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Johnstown Pike Seeks Family Ministry Pastor

Pike Grace Brethren Church in Johnstown, PA, is looking for a full-time Family Ministry Pastor whose primary responsibility is to lead our 7th-12 grade students to know God, grow to be like Jesus, and show God’s love through service and outreach.

We have 45-50 teens on a regular basis in our Wed night ministry with a potential for more and 6 adults who serve as youth leaders. There is a mixture of unchurched teens from the community, church teens from public schools and church teens from our Christian School.

We have a pre-school through 12th grade Christian School called Cambria County Christian School. We also own a 10 acre campground and have a full size gym and teen room in our recently built Pike Family Center.

Salary and benefits are included. Please send your resume to Search Committee, Pike Grace Brethren Church, 541 Pike Rd, Johnstown PA 15909 or email to If you would like a detailed job description or more information about the ministry please call the church 814-749-8721 or send an email. Phone: 814-749-8721, e-mail:

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Millersburg, Ohio, Seeks Senior Pastor

The Grace Brethren Church of Millersburg, Ohio, is currently seeking a spiritually mature pastor to shepherd a flock of about 80 people. Founded in 1987, the church is located on 13+ scenic acres on the edge of Millersburg, the county seat of Holmes County.

With 40,000+ residents, Holmes County is one of the fastest growing counties per capita in Ohio. The church is strongly mission-oriented, with 10% of its budget going to local, regional, national, and international missions.

Our church is led by a board of elected elders, and holds worship, instruction in God’s Word, fellowship, and evangelism and outreach as its core values. Any applicant must meet the qualifications of 1 Timothy 3:1-7 and Titus 1:6-9.

Candidates must also have at least five years of ministry experience and a minimum of a bachelors level degree in Bible or theology; however, a masters degree in divinity is preferred. We are seeking someone committed to prayer and personal godliness, an effective communicator and loving teacher, skilled in relationship building, who will lead our church into the next stage of its spiritual life. Grace Brethren ministry experience is a plus.

Interested candidates should submit a resume with cover letter to: Grace Brethren Church of Millersburg, ATTN: Search Committee Chairman, 4960 TR 305, Millersburg, OH 44654 Phone: 330-674-9540, e-mail:

Minerva, Ohio, Seeks Senior Pastor

Grace Chapel in Minerva, Ohio, has an opportunity for a Senior Pastor to lead an awesome church staff and a congregation which averaged 325 this past year. The church is a member of the Grace Brethren Fellowship and has grown by 260% over the last four years with an attendance of 525 at our Easter service this year.

The church serves a tri-county area in Northeast Ohio. This geographic area is bordered by Canton to the West, Alliance to the North, Lisbon to the East, and Carrollton to the South. It consists primarily of small towns and rural areas.

Our approach to ministry is contemporary and seeker-sensitive. The church currently conducts services in a leased public middle school utilizing a state-of-the-art portable system with high-tech equipment for the adult and children's worship areas.

The original church building is now used for staff offices and youth outreach. The church also owns a 22-acre parcel of land and is on the threshold of a Vision Quest Campaign. This position is fulltime with an appropriate compensation package.

Interested applicants should send a Bio/Resume to: or Spiritual Leadership Team 22797 Ellsworth Ave Minerva, OH 44657e-mail:

Sunbury, Ohio, Gets Associate Pastor

From the North Central Ohio district update:

Jerry Funston will begin ministering with Sunbury (OH) Grace Church (Brian Williams, pastor) as Associate Pastor on August 12th.

He is married to Megan, and they have four children: Sam, Sophie, Henry, and, as of July 6, Asher arrived on the scene .

Jerry has a lot of experience as both a Youth Pastor and an Associate Pastor. He will be helping the Sr. Pastor, Brian Williams, as well as working in many areas to enhance the growth and health of the church.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

SOA (jr) Arriving in Inboxes

The latest issue of SOA (jr), the electronic AGBM newsletter from President Joel Richards, should by now have arrived in your inbox. Here is a quick summary:

I hope you received our latest publication. It was packed full of helpful information. Since Equip 07 is just around the corner I'm sending one more e-mail with the latest in reminders. I look forward to our time together in Winona Lake. If you are unable to attend Equip you will be missed and in our prayers. I hope all is well with you, your family and your ministry.

Joel Richards
AGBM President

Only A Few Days Away
It is only a matter of days before we join together in Winona Lake for our 2007 conference.

The agenda is full.
Ø Classes to experience.
Ø Opportunity to see what God has been doing through our national ministries
Ø The dedication of the new Orthopedic center
Ø Getting re-acquainted with old friends. Meeting new friends
Ø National Business
Ø Lots of fellowship, especially around food
It will be a great week. Continue to pray for the final details, for safe travel for all who will be attending and a week of real spiritual renewal.


Pray for the Executive Committee. They will be meeting at noon on Saturday, July 28.
Pray for the meeting involving the new Board of Directors. They will be meeting Saturday evening, July 28.
Join us on Sunday, July 29, at 4:00 PM for our only meeting this year. We will meet at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church. We will handle memorials, new business, meeting new members, pastoral recognitions and more. This is your organization. Your presence is both appreciated and important.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Ministering to the Amish

Are there any Amish in your community? If so, this website focusing on ministry to the Amish may be of interest. To learn more, click on

Threefold Purpose of Mission to Amish People

-To Evangelize Amish People. To reach the Amish people with the gospel of Jesus Christ in accordance with Mark 16:15. This is being done through personal witness, home Bible studies, weekly home support meetings, the SonLight Club; and the Tape/CD Ministry. The MAP Ministry also offers counseling and protection to those who are victims of sexual, mental, and physical abuse.

-To assist older teenagers and young adults attempting major life transitions as they leave the Amish culture and enter an American lifestyle by providing basic Life Skills such as:

-communicating with English as a second language,
-driving lessons for obtaining a vehicle operator's license,
-learning new cultural norms, expectations and social practices,
-applying for a Social Security card, completing employment applications,
-studying for high school GED testing, considering higher educational levels,
-preparing for job interviews, finding a residence, acquiring home furnishings,
-opening bank accounts and understanding practical financial management practices.

-Expand Mission to Amish People (MAP) all over North America: Since MAP's existence in February 2000, the founders have traveled throughout the United States presenting the ministry to local churches and people. The goal of MAP is to pass the burden on to others so that they, too, can help reach the more than 250,000 Amish people throughout North America.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Gary Austin to Have Procedure

Gary Austin, pastor of the Grace Brethren church in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is recovering from surgery for colorectal cancer. The following is excerpted from his most recent update:

Wanted to give you all a quick update on "my journey." After two days of consultations and tests, the surgeon has decided to proceed with reversal of my ostemy on THIS FRIDAY - July 6.

This ostemy reversal process is not considered "difficult" nor a long process, but they want me in the hospital over the weekend at least to make sure I can "eat and process" everything properly.

I preached for the first time last Sunday - from Isaiah 43:1-7. Had very positive responses - first time preaching since mid-April. I had this week's message already "in the hopper" - starting a new series going through the book of Ephesians.

The chemo doctor wanted to proceed with a new round of chemotherapy - that will last four months - much more intense than the initial treatments in March. But he has agreed that doing the reversal is good to do at this time. He has set July 23 as the "target date" to resume chemotherapy treatments - presuming I heal properly from this surgery on Friday and show "healthy signs" to begin what he is describing as "rough."

Thank you for your continuing prayers and notes of encouragement. The church at Cedar Rapids continues to be incredibly supportive and encouraging through this whole journey. Praise God for them - and pray for their endurance on this journey. Thank you.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pastor . . . Before You Quit . . .

Here's a thoughtful piece on by Joe McKeever. This is a short excerpt -- to read the entire article click on

The best laugh I've had in a while came from one of our pastors who wanted to resign and the Lord put a stop to it. He sat in my office this week and told us what happened.

Under the stress of the church situation -- every church has its situation -- the pastor felt he had taken all he could stand. So, he sat down and wrote a letter to every member of his congregation. He didn't exactly resign, but came close to it. "Perhaps my work here is finished," he confessed.

He printed out the letter and, against her better judgment, his wife helped him stuff the envelopes and apply the stamps. He dropped them off at the post office and drove home.

Now, we old-timers could have told him not to act rashly, that these things often look different after a good night's sleep, and that at the very least he should have let that letter "set" overnight and read it more dispassionately the next morning. But, he had done it and that was that.

Or so he thought.

The next day, every single one of those letters was back in his mail box. The cost of postage had gone up that week and he had not put enough stamps on them.

The pastor stood there glaring at all those returned letters and recognized God had sent him a message.

"It ain't funny, Lord," he called out, just before breaking into laughter.