Email From the Pastor

Hello Brothers & Sisters,

As you saw on Sunday, we have so much to be thankful for at Grantham Church. We recognized a total of 9 transfers and welcomed 20 new members in our last worship service! That same evening, we shared a church-wide Thanksgiving meal and heard uplifting testimonies from about a dozen people. I was so encouraged to see that we had over half our congregation present for a time of reflection and fellowship.

If you missed the sermon on Sunday, I shared a message entitled, Giving as a Spiritual Discipline. I addressed some common reasons why people are often averse to talking about money in the church, and then went on to show how Jesus and the New Testament has much to say about it. I concluded with 5 principles for giving in the New Testament, and then challenged us to talk with God about giving to the church. Overall, I wanted us to think about giving in terms of discipleship and an expression of our worship. I asked you, “Does your giving communicate your trust in God and your belief in what he’s doing at Grantham Church?” 

As I’ve said before, we’re at a good place at Grantham, but we want to grow and do more as a church (see the Vision 2018summary). In order for us to expand our influence in the community, we would benefit greatly by an increase in regular giving from those who faithfully worship with us. This looks like one of two things: (1) if you have the means, consider increasing your regular tithe; (2) begin tithing any amount on a regular (weekly/bi-weekly/monthly) basis. How is God speaking to you about investing your resources at Grantham?  Will you show your support of our wonderful ministries and your belief in the aspirations of our congregation?

If you are new, or been a long-time member of our church, you may not be aware of all the ways you can give. Here are multiple giving options:

  1. Cash or Check in Offering Plate on Sunday morning
  2. Cash or Check in Depository Door (behind church office door)
  3. Personalized Offering Envelopes (contact Jill Stauffer)
  4. Online Bank Bill Pay (using bank bill pay feature to “push” money to the church)
  5. Online Giving through Church Website (use church giving system to “pull” money from account/credit card)
    1. One-time gift
    2. Recurring gifts
    3. Designated gifts based on offering envelopes PLUS gift card purchases
  6. Text To Give (coming soon!)
  7. Donor-Advised Fund
  8. Qualified Charitable Distribution from IRA
  9. Stock, Bonds, or Mutual Funds

If you have questions about any of these giving options, please contact our Church Administrator, Dan Bisbee. Thank you for prayerfully considering how God wants you to contribute to the mission and vision of your church family in the coming year. May we be willing to sow generously in order that we might reap a bountiful harvest of God’s Kingdom blessings.

Finally, this Sunday I’ll be preaching a message called, It’s a Woman’s World Too: A Christ-Centered Case for Women in Ministry

The gospels reveal that Jesus emancipated first-century women from second-class citizenship in God’s Kingdom story. For Jesus, his radical inclusion of women was in keeping with his overarching ministry to defeat Satan and heal the destructive consequences of the fall. So why have so many in the church failed to accept women as equals? And what about those restrictive verses in Paul’s letters? Did the Apostle Paul believe and teach in accordance with Jesus? Join us this Sunday for another meaningful time of congregational worship as I invite us all to affirm and celebrate our church’s long acceptance of women in ministry.

I hope you have a Happy Thanksgiving with family and friends. See you on Sunday!

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I’m sure of it. My sermon on Sunday was one of the most important messages I have ever delivered. If you missed the service, I want to encourage you to listen to the sermon, Being a Third Way Church.

In this message, I defined what it means to be a “third way” church and invited us to be a congregation that addresses evil and injustices in our world without mixing the gospel with partisan politics. The response I received on Sunday was very affirming that God was at work among us. I look forward to how the Spirit will continue speaking to us in our pursuit of being the Christian difference the world so desperately needs.

Remember, you can find the sermon audio, video, slides, and other resources at our website each week, including small group discussion questions. You can also listen on the go at theGrantham Church Podcast via iTunes. It’s super easy and convenient to listen to sermons new and old on your smart phone. If you haven’t done it already, please subscribe to the podcast and keep up with where we’ve been and where we’re going.

This Sunday is bound to be a special day together. We will be receiving over a dozen people as new members of Grantham Church. I’ll be preaching a message entitled, Giving as a Spiritual Discipline. And then after the sermon we will take communion together. We will come back together for a church-wide Thanksgiving meal at 5:00 p.m. Don’t miss this time of fellowship and giving thanks for what God has done for you and our church family. As I said on Sunday, there will be a time of testimonies and everyone is welcome to share.

As we approach the end of the year, I want to encourage you to maintain (or increase) your financial giving to Grantham Church. You may have noticed in the bulletin that giving this year continues to be well ahead of giving last year. And you will see in your Congregational Council booklet this Sunday that we anticipate this trend will continue through the year and into 2018. So, if our giving continues on that trend, it will ensure that the amounts received exceed the planned expenses for 2017.   

Also, in addition to your financial gifts to the church, this season is an important one in the life of our ministry partners. Therefore, we have already started sharing about opportunities that you can give material donations to our ministry partners (e.g. New Hope, Paxton, Friends Over Fences, etc.) and one of our sister congregations, LAE. Please prayerfully consider how you can bless others through your gifts.

Last week I shared with you that your staff and board are working on our preparedness for an active shooter. As an Anabaptist congregation, this means that we aim to put common sense safety and response measures in place that are in keeping with our mission and core values. Let me assure you that I view safety and security measures like I do wearing a seat belt in the car or having an alarm and a sprinkler system in case of a fire. I’d like to see us put a responsible plan in place that will deter evil and help protect the congregation from senseless violence. I will keep you updated on this process. Thank you for your understanding.

Finally, please join me in praying that we finish this year strong with open hearts to what God is doing and wants to do in our congregation. Continue to “work the spaces” of our church and be intentional in the community life of the congregation, especially as we enter the holiday season. Let’s bring a fitting end to an exciting year of blessing. Press on, brothers and sisters!

And may God continue to bless Grantham Church.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

It’s clear to me that the Holy Spirit is at work in our congregation. We’ve seen God do some exciting things in 2016-2017. We are truly blessed.

Last Wednesday night I shared a bit about where we’ve been and where we’re going in the future. There were about 100 people in attendance for this gathering. Thanks to those who participated and offered feedback in a very encouraging time together. If you missed it, you can now read my transcript for Vision 2018 at our website. You can look forward to having times of sharing like this on more of a regular basis.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Ryan Keith this past Sunday. Ryan shared about his work with Forgotten Voices and talked to us about seeing evangelism and service as reconciling people to God (2 Cor 5:11-21). If you missed his message, Yearning for Heaven to Earth, you can listen at our website or through the Grantham Church Podcast via iTunes.

I’m happy to report that you gave $10,594.01 to our Missions Sunday ingathering offering, which exceeded our goal. Thank you for your generous financial support of these missions initiatives! We will continue receiving gifts toward this offering for the next few weeks. Please use the special Missions Sunday offering envelopes in the pews or write "Missions Sunday" on the memo line of your gift.

For the next three weeks in November, I’ll be addressing some issues immediately relevant to us in this season of church life. Here is where we’re going:

November 12 – Being a Third Way Church
November 19 – Giving as a Spiritual Discipline
November 26 – It’s a Woman’s World Too: A Christ-Centered Case for Women in Ministry

Be sure to mark your calendars for several upcoming events in the life of the church. On November 19, we are planning to introduce you to 17 new church members in the morning service. That evening we will be having a church-wide Thanksgiving Meal beginning at 5:00 pm. There will be a time for testimonies and sharing how thankful we are for what God is doing at Grantham Church. I believe it will be a special time as a church family.

Also, we are getting geared up for our annual Congregational Council on Sunday, December 3 at 6:00 p.m. Council booklets will be available on Nov 19. Please stay tuned for more details.

Finally, as I’m sure you’re all aware, there was another church shooting in our country. It was the worst mass shooting in modern Texas history. Please join me in praying for all those who have been affected by this horrific act of terror. An entire community has been torn apart and will never be the same again. May God help our churches and our leaders to respond in love and action that makes a difference and saves lives.

Dear church, I want you to know that your staff and church board are working to make our facilities as safe as possible, and to put procedures in place that prepare us for a worst-case scenario. We have already been at work in firming up our safety policies and security in our children’s wing, which includes the crosswalk sign in the parking lot. Please help us keep that in place for the safety of our children. Also, I want you to know that we’re taking initial steps to receive consultation from church security experts and law enforcement on what we can do to best protect our church. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Thank you for all that you give and do for our beautiful congregation. Let’s look up and move forward into God’s good future. It’s a blessing to be on the journey with you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

Luther-nailing.jpg

On this day in 1517, Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the church door in Wittenberg and started a reform movement that left an indelible mark on the church and the world. This past Sunday, churches around the world remembered the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. If you missed the message, I gave an overview of the history and significance of this event in a sermon entitled, The Emerging Reformation.

As the title suggests, I also invited us to consider what a new reformation might look like in our time, and what I think is already emerging through the prompting of the Holy Spirit. I’ve heard my friend Greg Boyd say on multiple occasions that in all of his work around the world he believes God is initiating “a kingdom revolution that will make the Protestant Reformation look like a hiccup” in human history. 

I admit that this gets me excited and makes me nervous all at the same time. As I pointed out in my message, there comes a cost to participate in an event of this magnitude. For the time being, we need not worry and fear what may come, but we should instead draw near to the Lord and be faithful with our lives. And pray that the church will emerge from the refining fire looking more like Christ than ever before.

Most of us sense that changes are needed. But for that “rummage sale” to occur and for the church to enter into a post-Christendom age, we must all repent of where we’ve not let Christ be Lord of our lives, including our misguided perspectives on the Bible, politics, culture, etc. This is hard, I know. There is a reason why Jesus says that the gate is small and the way is “narrow” that leads to life (Matt 7:13-14).

I’m reminded of the Protestant reformer, Ulrich Zwingli, who was only willing to go so far in his ideas of reform. Some of his students, who agreed that the church needed to change, challenged him to let go of the sword and reject the marriage of church and state (Christendom).

Unfortunately, it was too much for him. The imperial church had been operating this way for over a thousand years. Zwingli couldn’t imagine a church that didn’t use the sword and political power to advance her causes. He agreed with his students in almost every way except on this issue, which was a radical idea to be sure.

It was unthinkable for many people. It sounded so extreme and “upside-down” to Zwingli that it kept him from joining his students in their cause. So, they came to an impasse. Those students went on to become the first to be re-baptized and identified as the Swiss Anabaptists. Zwingli, their teacher and brother in Christ, would turn on them and become their enemy for his unwillingness to embrace a peaceable kingdom.

It’s difficult to reexamine our lives, our thinking, and change directions. Especially if we’ve been passionate about the wrong things and lived that way for some time. But we can do it together.

I pray that we’re a church that follows the Spirit wherever he leads us in the future. And may we always uphold the love of God and our neighbor (even our enemies) as the highest law, worthy of our obedience. I encourage you to give this some thought as we remember the Reformation and how we’re being called into a bigger story of God’s eternal purpose through a church that looks like Jesus.

Finally, I want to invite you to join me this Wednesday night at 6:15 p.m. in the sanctuary. As I announced on Sunday, I’d like us to have a casual meeting so that I can share a bit about where we’ve been in the last year and a half, as well as where I believe God wants to take us in the new year. It’s an opportunity for you to hear my heart and for me to hear from you as well. What do you see God doing in our church? What are your hopes and dreams for Grantham? I hope you can join us after Eat & Run for a brief time of sharing what God is doing in our congregation.

May God continue to bless Grantham Church.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S.  Missions Sunday 2017 – Don’t forget that this Sunday is our annual Missions Sunday. We will start our day with a special combined Learning Community at 9:00 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall and return to the Fellowship Hall for a meal after the worship service. Please take some time this week to prayerfully consider what you might give during our special Ingathering Offering to support 5 missions initiatives: Forgotten Voices, youth ministry & theological training in Spain, Tony & Veronica Beers, and our missionaries – Liza H, Bruce & Merly Bundy, and Jonathan & Becky Owen.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

We concluded our Brick by Brick series this past Sunday in a very moving worship service.

In the final sermon of the series, I summed up the purpose of our series and challenged us to imagine what God wants to do with Grantham Church in the years ahead. Vision is necessary in moving forward with our plan of making disciples who make disciples (Proverbs 29:18).

So, I shared some personal vision that I can see for our church. I invited us to think about what we could do if roughly 40% of our membership that isn’t currently giving started contributing financially on a regular basis. I revealed my desire to hire a full-time associate pastor that could give attention to congregational care and community life needs, and that we hire a woman in that role.

I asked us to imagine what it would look like if we expanded our influence at Messiah College (students & faculty) and in our community. What would it look like to serve our neighbors with no strings attached?

And what if the historic Grantham Church, a strategic church in the Brethren in Christ, became a catalyst for change and a bulwark for our core values? What if we successfully modeled what it looks like to be a “third way” church, where we’re serious about meeting needs and responding to injustice in a non-partisan way? What if we could live up to our potential and inspire others to do the same?

I also asked you to imagine what it would look like if the kingdom was being expanded among us, and then called for us to actualize that vision through our congregation. According to the Scripture, dreams and visions are a part of the kingdom age and they can be received from many men and women in the church (Acts 2:17). I look forward to hearing what you see for Grantham Church. Please share those dreams with me and your church board.

If you missed the final message, you can now listen to the sermon, The Future of Grantham Church (6 of 6). You can find the link to the video, bulletin, small group discussion questions, etc. under Worship Resources. You can also access the visual of the church spaces that I’ve used throughout the sermon series. Check it out!

This Wednesday night is Trunk or Treat, an annual family event in our parking lot. We could still use a few more decorated trunks. If you’d like to participate, please contact Denise Fogelsanger, our Children’s Pastor. Trunk or Treat is a great opportunity to have some good family fun and reach out to our neighbors in the process. Whoever you are, we would still love for you to come out and join us for the festivities.

Finally, this coming Sunday is Reformation Sunday, marking 500 years since the Protestant Reformation. As an Anabaptist church, our beginnings are rooted in the “radical” wing of the 16th century Reformation. Therefore, this Sunday I’ll be sharing a bit about the significance of this event, what we affirm and how we’re different, and then invite us to consider what a new reformation would look like today.

Phyllis Tickle (an American author and lecturer) once pointed out that every 500 years the church goes through a major shift and reformation of sorts. She passed away a couple years ago, but her words have captured the imagination of many pastors and leaders today who believe we’re already starting to see it. I’ll talk about that this Sunday and what I believe this kingdom revolution might look like.

I hope to see you this Sunday in worship. In the meantime, I pray that you live in love just as Christ loves you and gave himself for you.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

P.S. If you’ve been at Grantham Church for a few years, you know Dale and Marian Bomberger, long-time members of our congregation. The Bombergers will soon be moving to Ohio to be closer to family. Their final Sunday is November 5. I’d like to encourage you to express your love and gratitude to the Bombergers between now and then. We are thankful that they have given so much to Grantham over the years. We wish them well in their next season of life.

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org

Email From the Pastor

Dear Brothers & Sisters,

I hope you’re having a good week and enjoying the fall weather!

This past Sunday we continued our Brick by Brick series with a message entitled, The Relational Depth of Intimate Space (5 of 6). I highlighted the importance of close friendships within the church. It’s great to be a part of a small group, just as Jesus was. We want everyone at Grantham to be a part of a small group. But it’s also necessary that we’re sharing intimate space with other disciples. 

In the sermon, I listed a few benefits of participating in intimate space with close friends in the church:

  • It’s a space to be totally honest and real; a safe place where you can be completely vulnerable.
  • It’s a safe place for confession (James 5:16).
  • It’s where you should expect to receive counsel and advice from close friends (Proverbs 27:9).
  • It’s the best context for accountability, where we ask, “How are things going?”
  • It’s where we find that “intimacy” is about raw human connection, where we bare our souls.

We saw examples of this in the testimonies from church members. If you had a difficult time hearing the videos shown during the sermon, you can now watch them by clicking on the interview links under Worship Resources at the sermon page on our website, or by going to our church Vimeo account. I want to encourage all small groups to watch/listen to those interviews again and talk about them in your time together this week.

It’s my prayer that our 14 small groups are growing deeper into Christ and cultivating community as you continue to meet this fall. I’m thankful and encouraged that our small groups are multiplying at Grantham. Remember that it’s not too late to join one for this semester. Our sermon-based small groups continue through December. Please contact the office if you’d like to get involved in this unique personal space.

This Sunday we will conclude our sermon series with a helpful recap of the Brick by Brickseries and a look forward at what I believe God wants to do at Grantham, what our needs are moving forward, and how you can help. I hope that everyone is able to be in attendance for the final message. We have a robust service planned, being that it is homecoming weekend and the conclusion of our 6-week series. I look forward to worshipping with you.

Finally, I want to ask that you pray for the church board. We have an important meeting with a full agenda next Tuesday evening. This is the time of year where we are working on next year’s budget and the staffing plan for 2018. Pray that God would give us wisdom, discernment, and vision for the future as we seek to steward his blessings so that we can be a blessing to others. Thank you for supporting your leaders with your prayers.

May God continue to bless Grantham Church in the days ahead.

Grace & Peace,

Pastor David

* This post was first sent as an email to all church members. If you would like to receive the weekly email from the pastor, please let us know at office@granthamchurch.org