Monday, September 29, 2008

Did You Participate in Pulpit Freedom Sunday?

Pastor Ray Pritchard has an excellent blog article on the hot topic of Pulpit Freedom Sunday and pastors endorsing political candidates from the pulpit. Here is an excerpt--read the remainder of his post by clicking here.

Should Pastors Endorse Candidates from the Pulpit?

This Sunday was Pulpit Freedom Sunday, a fact you may have missed in the avalanche of news about the Wall Street bailout and the presidential campaign.

If you went to church this morning, chances are you didn’t hear anything about Pulpit Freedom Sunday. You probably heard a sermon on a biblical text that related in some way or another to your life. Your pastor may have had something to say about the current economic woes.

It’s more likely that the sermon contained no political references at all. Most sermons aren’t overtly political, even in the midst of a hotly-contested political race.

But today, in a handful of churches across America, pastors used their pulpits to offer an endorsement for president. They are challenging a 1954 law that prohibits religious organizations that receive tax-deductible donations from endorsing specific candidates. These pastors have decided to frontally attack the law because they say it impinges upon their freedom of religion. They hope to force a legal challenge that will end up invalidating the law.

What should we think about this? Is it a good idea for pastors to endorse specific candidates?

I personally wouldn’t attend a church where the pastor spent his valuable time giving political advice from the pulpit. Pastors can and should teach biblical principles, showing how the Word of God applies to every area of life. They ought to teach about the sanctity of life, the biblical definition of marriage, the responsibility of Christians to be good citizens, the limits of human government from God’s point of view, and the sovereignty of God over every election.

More than that, churches should encourage their people to pray for our national leaders. This week a pastor from New Jersey sent me the titles for a six-part sermon series that starts today and runs through November 2:

9/28 Judgment – America: Has America Gone too far?
10/5 America - The Way Things Used To Be
10/12 The World is Ready for the Anti-Christ
10/19 The Church is Ready for the Anti-Christ
10/26 How Abortion Corrupts America’s Conscience
11/2 A Positive Outlook and God’s Promised Reward

My friend added this note:
We will end the series with a day of fasting on Monday, Nov 3, and a two hour prayer session Monday night, election eve. We’ve placed a ¼ page ad promoting the sermon series. I believe that people will respond because they are concerned over the financial crisis in Washington, and looking for God’s answer in these troubled times.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Don Shoemaker Facing Surgery

Word comes from Don Shoemaker, senior pastor at Grace Community Church, a Grace Brethren church in Seal Beach, Calif., that he'll be undergoing shoulder surgery on September 30. It's the same shoulder he dislocated in a fall in Warsaw, Ind., during Equip '07 (FGBC national conference), but says that the surgery is to repair long-term wear and tear. He'll be "mostly out" for four to six weeks, he says. Pray for his surgery and an easy (and quick) recovery.

Los Altos, Calif., Church Hosts Organic Church Training

From Mike Jentes comes this announcement:

Times are changing. People are crying out for an authentic encounter with the true God and a community of friends. There are many who are longing to experience church in a fresh and simple way. To put a word to it, they long for something more—organic.

The organic church is an old concept. It is so old, it is now new. It’s ancient yet future. Church should happen wherever life happens. Organic church planting is church planting “from the dirt.” It begins where the lost are, bringing church to people rather than bringing people to church. Organic churches are simply about relationships: with God, the family of God, and those who do not yet know God.

The Los Altos Grace Brethren Church (LAGBC) in Long Beach, Calif. is hosting a three-day intensive training on Organic Church this fall. These trainings are done all over the world by Church Multiplication Associates (the SoCal/Arizona District Mission Board). They are called Organic Greenhouse Trainings and there are two components to the training--Story 1 and Story 2 which build on each other. Both will be offered simultaneously during the upcoming event at LAGBC.

For more info on Organic Greenhouse see

For the details on the upcoming training below:

Long Beach, Calif.
Greenhouse Intensive Training: Story 1 & 2
November 7-9, 2008
Location: Los Altos Grace Brethren Church
6565 Stearns St.
Long Beach, CA 90815

Friday Registration begins at 6:00 p.m.
Friday session: 6:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Saturday session: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Sunday session: 8:30 a.m. to Noon

Trainers: Neil Cole, Jason Evans, Phil Helfer, Mike and Mindi Jentes

Local Coordinator: Mike Jentes

Registration is open now on the CMA website at

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kent Catalyst Needs Chairs

From church-planter Jonathan Herron at the Catalyst in Kent, OH. Respond to

Hello Friends!

Good News - Our Grace Brethren church plant has just finished our massive renovations for new office/kids/outreach space. The Fellowship is now proudly represented squarely in downtown Kent!

We do need help with a small but important item: stackable chairs.

We are looking for 40 adult-sized stackable chairs for ministry use at the125.

We're hoping you might be able to help us by either:

- donating 40 chairs in good-shape directly to Catalyst Church (best case scenario!)
- donating $100 toward the $700 total cost of buying new stackable chairs from Sam's Club.

Can you help us in any way or point us to someone who might? Thanks for your consideration in this mission-based venture!

Sean Spoelstra Ordination October 12

From the NCO e-newsletter:

Ordination Service for Sean Spoelstra, October 12, Powell GBC

You are cordially invited to celebrate in the ordination of Pastor Sean Spoelstra at Grace Church in Powell, Ohio, on Sunday, October 12 from 3:00-4:00pm.

Pastor Rick Nuzum will emcee and preside over the vows, Pastor Jim Custer is preaching the Word, and Pastor Jeff Martin, with a few other elders, will pray.

The "Encounter Church" launch team being sent from Grace Church in Powell will also be recognized during the service. Light snacks and refreshments to follow.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hemet Has Bus to Give Away

We have a 12-passenger bus with handicap lift that we would like to give away. It is an Eldorado on a Ford chassis with a Trident V10 engine.

It has 315,000 mi. but is in excellent condition. It is presently in non-op. We will provide the smog certificate needed for title transfer. We are not able to use this bus at this time for ministry.

If you are interested please contact me. If you are able, a donation to our ministry would be appreciated. This bus would be an excellent tool for senior ministry, youth/college, school, or trips. Give it some prayer.

Doing His Work,
Bill Kitchell, Pastor
Hemet, California GBC
(951) 925-7054

Camp Tuk-A-Way Seeks Director

Camp Director:Camp Tuk-A-Way

Camp Tuk-A-Way in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Blacksburg, Virginia, is looking for a full-time camp director.

Strengths should include good public relations skills, marketing, and mechanical aptitude. Detailed job description available upon request. Housing provided as part of the compensation package.

Visit the website for facility information.

Contact Pastor Don Eshelman at 5540-362-0336
email at

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ten Ways to Prevent Embezzlement

Lifeway currently has a helpful post by Keith Hamilton on Ten Ways to Prevent Embezzlement of Church Funds. Here is an excerpt--to read the entire article click here.

Almost every other week I receive a message of another church that has had funds embezzled from God's House. The reasons are as varied as the person who has stolen from the church. Sometimes, the person steals because of a financial crisis in his own life or in the lives of immediate family members. On the other hand, the person might be stealing just for the fun of it.

It does not seem to matter what the age of the person who is embezzling money. I have had experience with teenagers to senior adults being involved in this crime. One factor seems to be constant in all the cases; church members were surprised that the person embezzled the funds because the church trusted the person.

There are several things every church needs to do to help prevent this terrible crime from happening to their church. The church must guard itself and help protect the church treasurer and other financial leaders from even a hint that embezzlement of church funds is possible.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ed Waken Interviewed

Ed Waken, Grace Brethren church planter in Pheonix, Ariz. and staff member for Church Multiplication Associates, is interviewed on a blog for the Dunwoody Baptist Core Groups. He will be serving as facilitator for their Align Groups Conference in early October. In the first part of the interview, he shares about his family and how he came to Christ:

I came to know Jesus in April, 1976 on my way to a skiing weekend. I woke up that morning, went to a local store and stole a case of beer and headed to the mountains with a friend. On the way to the resort, we hit some black ice and skidded around a bit. My friend asked me what I thought would happen to us if we had died. My reply was “Well, if God wakes up on the right side of the bed, I might have a good chance to get into heaven.” At that point, my friend quoted to me 1 John 5:11-13. My whole Catholic teaching came into play. I believed in the Trinity, that Jesus was God, became man, died on the cross for my sins and resurrected on the third day - I had always believed these things. 1 John 5:13 says that you can KNOW that you have eternal life. On that road to a skiing resort I took my knowledge of Jesus and received Him in my heart and my life changed. I got to the resort, took the case of beer and threw it away. No one asked me to, it was just instinctive to me. I woke up a thief and went to bed a saint!

From there I worked for my families cabinet manufacturing business while I raised a family, became a youth pastor and went to Bible College at night. I crammed a five year degree into thirteen years. I was a youth/associate pastor at one church in Long Beach for almost 8 years and then became the associate pastor at another church in the area for another 8 years before moving to Phoenix to start churches. Since coming to Christ, I have been involved with the Grace Brethren family of churches.

To read the complete interview, click here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Dark Horse Named Roy

A virtual unknown right from the ranks of Grace Brethren pastors is making a splash in the presidential race.

Click this link for more information on the latest entry into the bid for the presidency

Friday, September 05, 2008

What??!! No Website? No Logo!!??!!

Here's a stimulating post from Chris Forbes. This is a short excerpt. Read the entire piece by clicking here.

Recently, I was in a church that is really connected to their community. The church has a positive reputation (brand). Their neighbors say about them, “There’s always something good going on at this church!” It’s a good ministry and many people are coming to Christ because of their outreach!

I’d love to show you their website. But they don’t have one. I would show you their logo—but, frankly, I hate it! They don’t have plasma screens, a coffee shop, or comfy chairs to sit in during the service either. All this aside, they have great church marketing!

The reason they have good ministry marketing is because they are not in love with their brand, they are in love with the Lord. Their outreach is working, not because they have branded sermons and use direct mail. (I am not even sure they use mail at all.) Their outreach works because they are focused on people, not their programs or their marketing image.

Soldotna Peninsula Gains a Youth Pastor

Wednesday of this week, Jeremy Norton (pictured with his wife, Nicole) moved from Alberta to Soldotna, Alaska, to join with Pastor Keith Randall and others as youth pastor of the Peninsula Grace Brethren Church in Alaska.

In his bio on the church website, Jeremy says, "I am currently in my final semester at Alberta Bible College and will have obtained my BA in 'Leadership and Ministry' by the end of summer 2008. Throughout my time at ABC, I have also been ministering within the youth and music ministries at Grace Baptist Church in Airdrie, Alberta.

"We are very excited to embrace this next season in our lives! For more information on our past and present lives, please visit"

More information may also be found on the Peninsula website by clicking here.Thank You,

Monday, September 01, 2008

Lititz Announces Pastoral Changes

Pastor Scott Distler of the Grace Brethren Church of Lititz, Pennsylvania, has announced several pastoral staff changes for the Lititz church.

Pastor Tim Auld, who has been serving in a spiritual formation role, will shift to Executive Pastor. He will now be responsible for the day-to-day oversight of ministries overseen by church staff and lay leaders of adult ministries.

Arriving soon from California will be Steve Burghart, who will be Pastor of Connections at the Lititz church. Burghart and his wife, Shawna, have two teenage daughters, Courtney and Jessica.