Friday, February 29, 2008

Dr. Beaver: "Thanks for your prayers."

Dr. Wayne Beaver, former missionary with Grace Brethren International Missions and professor emeritus at Grace Theological Seminary, reports that the recent surgery on his knee went well. He was scheduled to have the pad in his knee replaced on February 25.

However, he says that "from succeeding X-rays the doctor wasn't sure if the pad in the knee was worn out. He went in with a scope, and found that the pad was still good."

The doctors looked at four different places on the knee, and smoothed out the bone structure, and cleaned out the "debris."

"The four holes are still healing," reports Wayne, "but so far I have considerable less pain, for which I am thankful. Also I am extremely grateful for the many who were praying for me and the operation."

Thursday, February 28, 2008

R.E.A. Miller With the Lord

Word has been received of the death late this week of longtime Grace Brethren pastor, Bible teacher, and Jewish evangelist R. E. A. Miller in California.

The Miller family was known for many years throughout the Fellowship through the "Under the Parsonage Roof" columns which Miller's wife, Althea, wrote for the Brethren Missionary Herald magazine about their brood of children being raised in a Brethren pastor's home.

Althea Miller went to be with the Lord on Christmas Eve 2004, shortly after the couple celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary.

Details and obituary for Pastor Miller will be posted when available.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

New Survey Reveals Americans are Switching Religious Affiliations

The results of a new survey released Monday (February 25) reveals that Americans are switching religious affiliation in ever-greater numbers or abandoning ties to organized denominations altogether, and Protestants are on the cusp of becoming a minority, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Barely 51 percent of Americans are Protestants, and among 18- to 29-year-olds, just 43 percent identify with this branch of Christianity, according to the study by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Protestants have always held a majority status in the United States, the Times said.

At the same time, more than four in 10 adults -- 44 percent -- have switched religious affiliations or abandoned ties to a specific religion, according to the survey, which provides one of the most detailed looks at U.S. religious affiliation. The Census Bureau stopped asking questions about religion in the late 1950s, according to the Times.

To read the complete Los Angeles Times story, click here.

To see the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey, click here.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Roy Halberg Preaches Sitting Down

Pastor Roy Halberg of the Alta Loma (CA) Grace Brethren Church continues to recover from the pelvis, hip, and rib injuries suffered in a bicycle accident during the Southwest Focus Retreat in late January. Here is an update from his weekly e-mail:


I am getting better every day. I see my doctor again on Tuesday and he has consistently told me to stay off my leg for 4-6 weeks. Tuesday will be four weeks to the day since my accident so I am hoping for some grace . . . I'll let you know.

I didn't think I would be comfortable trying to preach sitting down and I have to confess I found it pretty tough . . . but you all made it so much easier for me and we had a lot of fun together.

As you pray for me, please continue to remember my family. We will gather this next Monday, Feb 25th for funeral services for my father. The memorial service is planned for 3:00 pm in the afternoon at my mom's church in Long Beach, Community Grace Brethren Church, 5885 Downey Avenue.

Roy's blog may be read at

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Pastor Dick McCarthy 'Doing Well'

Dick is doing well, we believe because of all the prayer! He is at home after a week in the hospital following his aortic valve replacement, and then two weeks in a nursing home.

Now he has two therapists coming every week to help him with physical therapy, and a visiting nurse every week or two.

I can tell he is making progress in the five weeks since the surgery, but he feels a bit discouraged at times. Our family doctor says it will take about six months to recover.

Our thanks to everyone who's prayed for Dick. We have a great God who deserves our
continual praise!

Lee & Dick McCarthy

'Internet Evangelism Day' Set for April 27

"How can we use this new-fangled Internet thing to share the gospel?" Christians are asking. A worldwide "web evangelism focus day" is helping to provide answers.

Sunday, April 27, has been designated as Internet Evangelism Day. Churches can download free materials from the Internet Evangelism Day website. These materials make it easy for churches to create a short presentation about Internet evangelism on (or near) that Sunday. A PowerPoint, video clip testimonies, drama scripts, music and handouts can be used to create their own customized program lasting from one minute to 50.

Church leaders who have already used these materials are excited. "This is a huge help for small churches such as ours," writes a church leader from California.

The Internet Evangelism Day team emphasizes that web evangelism is for anyone, not just the technically gifted. "There are many ways to share your faith online, without any technical background at all," says IE Day Coordinator Tony Whittaker.

Christian leaders are also enthusiastic: "I am glad to commend Internet Evangelism Day," says Dr. John Stott.

Churches can start planning their focus day now. More information is available at

Free Church Website Tool Released

The people behind Internet Evangelism Day also provide year-round resources about online outreach. The ministry explains many ways that Christians can share the good news, including through church websites. Churches often find it difficult to create a site that will engage with outsiders in their area, and find themselves asking, "How can our church website help us reach out into our community?"

A new online tool released by IE Day provides churches with a free 15-page evaluation report. Users assess their own website by answering 55 simple questions. Their customized report is immediately displayed online, ready to print or save. The report's recommendations are tailored with specific practical suggestions, based on the questions that were ticked. View the evaluation tool here:

A church site which has been prioritized for non-Christian visitors can be remarkably effective in reaching the community. "Week in, week out, more visitors turn up at our church on a Sunday because of the website, than anything else," writes one growing church in London.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pastors Comment about Change Without Compromise Conference

On February 7 and 8, more than 20 Grace Brethren pastors attended the annual "Change Without Compromise" conference at Northridge Community Church in Plymouth, Mich., which is pastored by Brad Powell. (Powell was keynote speaker at Equip09, where he dealt with the basic issues facing leaders who attempt to create change without compromising the mission of the church.)

The Change Without Compromise conference centered around leadership principles from the book of Nehemiah. Below are some testimonies from the conference (submitted by Tom Avey). The next Change Without Compromise Conference is May 14-16, 2009.

... I was hoping this wouldn't just be another conference at a big church trying to say that if I do what they do, our church would grow by leaps and bounds. And it wasn't. Brad shared his heart and soul about what he went through. It took hard work, lots of trial and error, lots of pain and hurt, and a stick to it no matter what mind set. I believe God blessed his faithfulness to the Word and his determination to see his church reach people for Christ. Several of us had lunch with a couple who came to the church several years ago, found Christ, and their lives were radically changed, and we got to hear some of their testimony. Hearing them gave even more credibility to what Brad shared. I pray God gives me a willing heart and determination to do the same and leave the results up to Him. -- Ron Sheranko, First Grace Brethren Church, Dayton, Ohio

I thought the Change Without Compromise was awesome. FGBC pastors can relate to his ministry because of his stand on the Scriptures. His message is extremely relevant to the postmodern generation that our churches are trying to reach. He gives you much food for thought and it's right from the Word of God. I purchased a copy of his book, Change Your Church for Good: The Art of Sacred Cow Tipping, for each of my elders and staff. I also purchased a copy of the conference DVD's. I plan to use them at our Elder Retreat this Spring. It's good stuff and we Grace Brethren need something to help us reach our world for Jesus. -- Ron Smals, Woodville Grace Brethren Church, Mansfield, Ohio

I appreciate Brad Powell's book and conference because it is not a person trying to tell you (or sell you) a model or program for ministry. Brad shares about the heart of the mission (to love and reach lost people). He clearly and repeatedly emphasizes that it is about reaching the unsaved to give them the clear and unchanging gospel message and see them be discipled to be like Jesus. I appreciate His clear biblical basis for his approach and his desire to see the greater Church, the body of Christ following Christ's example. He backs up everything he does in ministry with scriptural principles from the gospels, and Acts but also highlights other areas of Scripture. I left the conference very encouraged to see clearly the ministry God has called me to and what I needed to do in my ministry to change to strategically focus on lost people and properly change the status quo of ministry to be life-changing. Excellent conference and I would highly recommend it to every pastor and church leader. I plan to take my elders next year. -- Rick Clark, Pike Grace Brethren Church, Johnstown, Pa.

Change Without Compromise was a unique conference. ... (It) provides a comprehensive atmosphere that is based on principles not programs and practices. The conference is not a ‘model’ conference where you end up feeling like you have to become like them. CWC gave me a healthy picture of the church and what we should be striving for -- holiness and relevance, character and culture, set apart and sent into. Every church needs this conference. Brad is right on in his theology and he does a fantastic job of teaching on relevance. More than that, he practices these principles. The entire staff was there to serve those who came to learn. We were given an inside look into any area that we desired to see. This is a conference worth attending. Your only mistake will be to go alone. I highly recommend taking your entire leadership team. You will not be the same. Change will take place! -- Dan O’Deens, Gateway Grace Community Church, Parkesburg, Pa.

The Change Without Compromise conference was very beneficial. I came away with the conviction that the greatest change I need to pursue is a change in my own heart. My problem is that my own first love had grown cold. I need to grow in my love for Jesus. I need to love the things that Jesus loves. I need to allow God's Word to guide and motivate my values and priorities. I confess that recently I have found myself following the sheep rather than following the Shepherd. The first session about dependence on prayer was worth the trip. The session devoted to worship was one of the best worship experiences I've had in a long time. Sometimes it was because of the music, sometimes it was in spite of it, but I felt God's presence and His Spirit ministered to my soul. -- Steve Makofka, Centerville Grace Brethren Church, Ohio

The CWC conference ... affirmed the change process that we have been going through as a church over the last several years. We have sought to build health back into the church, and the biblical principles that were offered, while not necessarily new and groundbreaking, were good reminders that what we are doing ... is at the heart of God as well. If you want to work through change with your church, this conference is a good one to attend. I signed up for the seminars too - only went to one because of weather issues for me and travelling. I actually was more interested in the second one that I didn't get to. The one I attended was on recruiting and keeping volunteers. As with the conference itself, there were some good reminders of practical things to do along the way. I was reminded that I need to celebrate them more and honor their work and commitment to the church and the Lord in that way. -- Jason Carmean, Grace Brethren Church, Lexington, Ohio

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pastors Attend Change Conference

From FGBC Coordinator Tom Avey:

Brad Powell, guest speaker at Equip07, the FGBC annual conference in 2007, led a two-day conference in Plymouth, Michigan, about how pastors must start a “change reaction” without compromise in their churches.

Topics included “The Challenge of Inertia,” "The Unchanging Formula,” “The Causality Principle,” and “The Elements of Change.”

More than 20 Grace Brethren pastors attended the conference. The next Change Without Compromise conference will be in May of 2009.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Lititz Begins Search for Pastor of Connections

The following was excerpted from this week's e-mail update from Pastor Scott Distler of the Lititz (PA) Grace Brethren Church:

This month we officially begin a pastoral search to fill the Pastor of Connections position. Our goal is to hire someone who will be able to lead our church into building an effective small groups ministry.

We realize that the future health of our church is dependent on being able to get the hundreds of people God is bringing to us into a small group where they can connect and grow.

John Kegarise, the Elder Board Chairman, will be leading this search process while working with Mike Lutz who chaired the previous search for a Senior Pastor. The search will involve three committees.

The research committee will develop a list of possibilities. The interview committee will take that list and using applications, interviews and checking references, narrow down the field of possibilities. There will also be a prayer committee who will be praying through the entire process.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Keith Shearer Reports on Africa Ministry

Pastor Keith Shearer (pictured) of the New Beginnings Grace Brethren Church in Myerstown, Pennsylvania, blogs about his recent trip to the Central African Republic. Here is the most current entry--you can keep up with his blog regularly at

Thanks so much to all who prayed for the recent ministry in C.A.R. It was truly a fruitful and significant time. 28 evangelists and potential pastors received training in Bambari, the home of Pastor Mboi Andre. These men are on the move to reach eastern C.A.R. with the Gospel (most churches and believers live in the western portion of the country, so there are still unreached and least-reached people in the east).

Mboi Andre is currently on a trip to Zemio, an eastern town, where he is engaging in evangelism and church planting. Pray for his ministry, his travels on rugged roads (and sometimes no roads), and for his family while he's gone.

27 students also received training in leadership and communication at Bangui with Hibaile Augustan's CIDEL ministry. This was a great class with some very sharp students. They are from varied professions, so pray for their impact as salt and light in Bangui.

I also had a great time preaching in the churches, being present for the dedication of the Project Hope and Charity orphan center, meeting and encouraging some pastors I had not met before, and fellowshipping with our missionary staff in C.A.R as well as some others who were visiting from the States while I was there.

If you are following the current unrest in Kenya and Chad, you know the importance of praying for the stability of the Central African Republic. Situated as it is geographically, if it is stable it has the potential to halt the spread of unrest throughout the rest of the continent. If unstable, the unrest could spread through C.A.R. like a wildfire.

Great days, maybe the greatest ever, could be ahead for our ministries in C.A.R., but this could be sidetracked by any time of turmoil. Let's pray First Timothy 2:1-4 for Africa in these days

Bicycle Boys' Recovery Continues

Pastor Roy Halberg, of the Alta Loma, California, Grace Brethren Church, sends along this update in the wake of the bicycle accident he and Pastor Ed Trenner (Orange, CA) were involved in during the last week's Southwest Focus Retreat:

I am pretty much pain free . . . the cracked rib hurts when I move, laugh, cry, sneeze, cough, etc. but the cracked pelvis only hurts when I put weight on it standing/walking.

The doctor wants me to keep weight off of it for 4-6 weeks. Andrea hopes to tie me down for two weeks . . . she made an appointment for me with the orthopedic doctor on 2/11 and she has hidden my car keys and my bicycle. I had planned on one week resting in bed so we are working on a compromise that will let me get up to preach on the 10th . . . probably sitting in a chair or stool of some kind.

The orthopedic doc will take x-rays again on 2/11 and we will know more about how I'm doing.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers . . . thanks too for your notes and emails. I appreciate it much. Please continue to keep my friend Ed Trenner in your prayers . . . he goes to his orthopedic doc next week to take another look at his arm and is hoping that neither his arm nor wrist are broken.

Thank you, too, for your continued prayers for my family since my father's passing a week ago. Due to circumstances beyond our control, we won't be able to hold services until after mid-February.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Dr. Beaver to Have Knee Surgery

Dr. Wayne Beaver, former missionary with Grace Brethren International Missions and professor emeritus at Grace Theological Seminary will have surgery on February 25 to replace pad in his right knee. (The knee was replaced 16 years ago.)

"The Lord willing, this will restore my mobility, and permit more travel in the future," he writes from his home in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. "Apart from this knee, we thank the Lord for the remarkable health He has given each of us."

Pray for Wayne and his wife, Dorothy, as they anticipate this surgery. They may be contacted at 1018 Davidson Ave., Coeur d'Alene, ID, 83814,

Friday, February 01, 2008

Larry Edwards Concludes at Ashland Southview

Pastor Larry Edwards announced Sunday morning that he will be concluding his ministry at Southview Grace Brethren Church in Ashland, Ohio, after 15 years in June 2008.

Please pray for Larry and Darlene as they seek God’s next step for them in His work.