Thursday, March 26, 2009

Greenwood Ordination Service April 5

The members and elders of New Life Community Grace Brethren Church, Souderton, Pennsylvania, cordially invite you to attend a service of ordination for the pastor of the Souderton church, Robert F. Greenwood.

The service will be Sunday, April 5 at 7 p.m. at 209 Green Street Souderton, PA. Light refreshments will be served after the service.

RSVP to Carla at (215) 721-2790.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

North Central Ohio to Examine Five

The next district ministerial examing date for the North Central Ohio district is Thursday, April 16 at Grace Fellowship in Pickerington, according to Chip Heim, chair.

Three men will be examined for ordination: Marty Ertel (East Side GBC), Keith Minier (Grace Pickerington), and Larry Totzke (Capital City Grace).

Two will be examined for licensure: Andy Hupp (Lexington GBC) and Drew Waggoner (Grace Pickerington).

Tony Webb Earns Doctoral Degree

Tony Webb (pictured), pastor of Southwest Grace Brethren Church in the Grove City suburb of Columbus, successfully defended his dissertation at Ashland Theological Seminary on February 20, completing the requirements to be granted his D.Min. degree in an early June ceremony.

Congratulations Dr. Tony! His work on church planting is already being put to good use through Vision Ohio.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Broom Tree Pastor's Retreat Available

Chris Hay, former pastor of the Leesburg, Indiana, Grace Brethren Church, and his wife, Dawn, are now with Broom Tree Ministries. Their e-mail address is and they send along this invitation:

Dear Friends,

How important is your pastor in your life and the life of your family? God has called and installed these men of God to shepherd us and continually point us to Jesus. They have a huge job and tremendous responsibility. The jobs they perform are numerous; the burdens they bear are continuous.

They are on the front lines of spiritual battle and attack. But they are just men with all the frailties and weaknesses and strengths and joys as anyone else. They simply have a different calling. I hope you pray for your pastor and his wife and family on a regular basis—their spiritual well-being depends on it!

They also need rest, refreshment, and renewal. They need extended time to be alone with God and allow Him to minister cool water to their thirsty souls. They need a broom tree to crawl under, curl up, and go to sleep (see 1 Kings 19:1-6). That is what God has called Dawn and me to do—provide a "broom tree" setting for the pastors and wives of our churches in the West.

God has led us quite intentionally to a wonderful facility about two hours from our home. This is a strategic location as it is within a six-hour drive of millions of people and numerous churches and pastors including: Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, etc….

Collins Lodge is set in a beautiful valley on the grounds of Forest Home Ministries. It is a restored old lodge with seven B&B style rooms. It has a cozy library and a warm and inviting great room. The surrounding grounds offer a lot of room to hike or find a quiet spot to be alone with God. It is frankly perfect for a Broom Tree Retreat! (see the attached photo)

Our immediate goal is to conduct two Broom Tree Retreats per year—one in February and one in October of each year. Each retreat costs about $5000 and includes five nights of lodging and 14 meals—all at no cost to pastors. A typical retreat includes 6 pastor/wife couples and one host couple.

Now for the really good news: God has provided full underwriting for our first retreat, already scheduled for October 25-30, 2009! We have also seen some donations that have allowed us to begin buying books and CDs that will stock a resource basket for each room. Boxes of books are beginning to pile up in a corner of our dining room!

Information specifically about Broom Tree West should be on the website in the next couple months. This will allow pastors and wives to make reservations for our fall retreat. God is at work!

Now we need people who will commit to praying regularly for Broom Tree. Pray for God to prepare the way for pastors and wives to experience renewal, refreshment, and have a fresh encounter with God.

There is need for some additional funding for resources and training. We are currently praying for God to provide the funding for the February 2010 retreat. Ask God how He would have you participate in this strategic ministry. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to call or email us. We would be glad to share our passion for this ministry with you.

You can contribute to Broom Tree West at the main Broom Tree website ( )using your credit card or PayPal account. You can also send a check to the address below. Be sure and specify your donation is for Broom Tree West.

If you use the website, let us know via email so we can be sure and designate your contribution for Broom Tree West. If you are committed to praying for BTW, send us an email and let us know you are out there standing (or kneeling!) with us!

Thanks for partnering with us!

For His Glory Alone,
Chris & Dawn Hay

Columbia City, IN, Seeks Lead Pastor

Lead Pastor

Community of Hope, the Grace Brethren church in Columbia City, Indiana, is seeking a lead pastor.

Information from the church says, "We can be described as a flexible, young, missional, downtown church. Our church has long been known as a group that is willing to accept people where they are. Our core values are known by everyone in the church: Advancing Hope, Building Intimacy, and Connecting People.

"The church is approximately 300 people with an average age of 30. Dan Gregory was our pastor for 14 years of strong growth and community impact. After Dan's departure to join the staff of a church in Norton, Ohio, the church has continued to grow.

"Community of Hope is ready for our next pastor. We are asking God to provide a leader who can communicate vision, disciple leaders, and model a passion for the lost.

"Send a resume to Community of Hope is part of the Fellowship of Grace Brethren Churches."

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Waldorf, Maryland, Looking for Youth Pastor

Grace Brethren Church of Waldorf, Md is looking for a full-time Youth Pastor whose primary responsibility is to provide overall leadership and personal ministry involvement to youth, both junior and senior high age groups.

The ministry will be highly motivational for youth and offer opportunities for the personal and spiritual development of youth that parents enthusastically endorse. There is a mixture of unchurched teens from the community, public school and our own Christian school. Additional duties will include speaking at chapel at our Christian school for the middle/senior hight students once a month.

Salary and benefits are included.

Please send your resume to Pastor Dennis Fay, 13000 Zekiah Drive, Waldorf, Md. 20601 or email to If you would like a detailed job description or more information on this position, please call the church office at 301-645-0407.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Experts: Churches Need Security Plans

Churches need security plans, experts say

(CNN) -- Churches can stop a shooter or anyone else intent on harming church members with the proper security measures in place, an expert on protecting places of worship said Monday.

Police say the attacker walked into First Baptist Church of Maryville, Illinois, on Sunday and began firing.

"A church is not helpless when they have a plan, and properly trained security," said Jeff Hawkins, the executive director of the Christian Security Network.

First Baptist Church in Maryville, Illinois, had a security plan in place when a gunman walked into services Sunday morning and killed Pastor Fred Winters, said Tim Lawson, another pastor at the church.

Lawson told CNN he was not prepared to disclose details of his church's security plan on Monday.

But Maryville police Chief Rich Schardam said Winters was keenly aware of the security issues, had sought out police advice and had identified police and medical personnel in the congregation who could help in an emergency.

To read the remainder of the article, click here:

More Americans Say They Have No Religion

A number of versions of this story have appeared. This is an excerpt from Fox News--to read the entire article click here.

More Americans Say They Have No Religion

Monday, March 09, 2009

A wide-ranging study on American religious life found that the Roman Catholic population has been shifting out of the Northeast to the Southwest, the percentage of Christians in the nation has declined and more people say they have no religion at all.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had no religion, an increase from 14.2 percent in 2001 and 8.2 percent in 1990, according to the American Religious Identification Survey.

Northern New England surpassed the Pacific Northwest as the least religious region, with Vermont reporting the highest share of those claiming no religion, at 34 percent. Still, the study found that the numbers of Americans with no religion rose in every state.

"No other religious bloc has kept such a pace in every state," the study's authors said.

In the Northeast, self-identified Catholics made up 36 percent of adults last year, down from 43 percent in 1990. At the same time, however, Catholics grew to about one-third of the adult population in California and Texas, and one-quarter of Floridians, largely due to Latino immigration, according to the research.

Nationally, Catholics remain the largest religious group, with 57 million people saying they belong to the church. The tradition gained 11 million followers since 1990, but its share of the population fell by about a percentage point to 25 percent.

Christians who aren't Catholic also are a declining segment of the country.

In 2008, Christians comprised 76 percent of U.S. adults, compared to about 77 percent in 2001 and about 86 percent in 1990. Researchers said the dwindling ranks of mainline Protestants, including Methodists, Lutherans and Episcopalians, largely explains the shift. Over the last seven years, mainline Protestants dropped from just over 17 percent to 12.9 percent of the population.

The report from The Program on Public Values at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn., surveyed 54,461 adults in English or Spanish from February through November of last year. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 0.5 percentage points. The findings are part of a series of studies on American religion by the program that will later look more closely at reasons behind the trends

Friday, March 06, 2009

Youth Pastor Changes

CE National's latest e-newsletter carries this listing of youth pastor changes:

Brad Gromis is the new youth pastor at Community of Grace, Richmond, Va.
Brad Gibbs is youth pastor at Grace Church at Willow Valley, Lancaster, Pa. (Shannon Hollinger has taken a new position at the same church)
Ken Matteson has resigned from the Grace Brethren Church in Waterloo, Iowa, and is now ministering at Dallas Center Grace, Dallas Center, Iowa.
Tim Eames is the new youth pastor at Grace Church South Campus, Norton, Ohio, since Jon Sommers felt God leading him to make a career change.
Dave Pacheco is the new youth pastor at the Grace Brethren Church in Delaware, Ohio.
Steve Waller is no longer youth pastor at the Grace Brethren Church in Sunnyside, Wash. (Nathan Zakahi, Senior Pastor, is overseeing the ministry at Sunnyside.)

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Jay Fretz to Pastor at Brookville, Ohio

Jay Fretz, who in December concluded his ministry as pastor of Maranatha Brethren Church in Hagerstown, Maryland, has accepted the position of pastor of the Grace Brethren Church of Brookville, Ohio.

He and Beth are in the process of selling their home back east, relocating to Brookville, and will appreciate your prayers for a smooth and joyful transition.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Covenant Church Planter: Easier to Start a New Church

Here's a stimulating interview with the head of church-planting for the Evangelical Covenent Church:

10 Minutes with … David T. Olson

By G. Jeffrey MacDonald

(UNDATED) Booming megachurches might grab headlines, but the bigger story of American congregations is one of accelerating decline, according to David T. Olson, director of the American Church Research Project. Based on data collected from more than 200,000 churches, he projects that by 2050, only 10 percent of Americans will be in church on any given Sunday.

Olson, who’s also director of church planting for the Evangelical Covenant Church, analyzes the situation in his 2008 book, “The American Church in Crisis.” Some answers have been edited for length. Here is a sampling of the Q&A – to read the entire article, click here.

Q: Why do you say the American church is in crisis?

A: The big problem is America continues to grow in terms of population, but the percentage of Americans attending church on any given weekend keeps declining. In 1990, it was 20.4 percent. In 2000, it was 18.7. In 2007, it was 17.

Q: If many churches are not full on Sunday morning, then why not focus on filling the empty pews before building new structures and new communities?

A: It’s probably five to seven times easier to plant a new church than to help an established church that’s in deep difficulty to restore its vitality. I wouldn’t discourage established churches from doing that, but it’s much more fruitful and efficient to plant new churches.