Dear Brothers & Sisters,
I hope you are enjoying the Roots series as much as I am. I’ve been reading a lot on the history of the Brethren in Christ and gaining a greater appreciation for the denomination. I have also benefited from the help of Devin Manzullo-Thomas, our resident historian and Director of the Sider Institute for Anabaptist, Pietist, and Wesleyan Studies at Messiah College.
If you missed the sermon on Sunday, you can now listen to Believing the Bible (2 of 10) at our website and iTunes. Discussion questions are available for small groups at our website, and at the end of each chapter in the core values book, Focusing Our Faith. There are also more resources in our church library.
It’s a blessing to look back on our journey and see how God has led us to Grantham Church. After 10 years of feeling like we were searching for a place to belong and be ourselves, we finally feel that we are home at Grantham and the Brethren in Christ. It’s a huge blessing to be here with you and to be a part of the BIC family.
In the short time I have been here and gained insights into what God is doing around us, I want to tell you that I believe God has great plans for the BIC. When I think about the potential we have as a denomination, the question that comes to my mind is, and I think one the Lord put there: “How wide can you stretch your arms?”
Brothers and sisters, the BIC has a great opportunity to be a home for “evangelical defectors” (a phrase a couple recent visitors used to describe themselves) and those who want to be evangelicals with a difference. There is a great shift happening in our society and culture, and I believe many who have been left hurt and empty with American Christianity are (will be) looking for something that looks more like Jesus.
Our historic theological streams and our core values provide us with the rich soil we need to grow fresh expressions of Christ’s church in the US.
For us to be a church and a denomination that is a city on a hill, we will need to experience a revival of sorts. If I may humbly submit to you, we need a fresh wind to blow the dust off our core values and we need to rediscover and/or reaffirm who we are with a holy passion. We need the Holy Spirit to move in the hearts of our denominational leaders, pastors, and congregations.
I personally feel, along with other young pastors and leaders within the BIC, that God is positioning us to do great things, but there are challenges ahead and we need to be on our knees in prayer. We need visionary leadership and committed prayer warriors who believe this is a job for the Holy Spirit. Because it takes more than skilled executives and eloquent preaching to bring about a revival of the heart.
Would you commit to praying for our church and our denomination toward this end? Please pray for our National Director, Alan Robinson. Please pray for our Bishop, Ken Hoke, as well as our Leadership Council. Would you join me in praying regularly over the entire BIC leadership and structure?
Also, pray for your church staff and our weekly planning. Ask God to pour out his Spirit among us as we seek to be sensitive to his leading and yield to where he wants us to go in the future.
I am hopeful and excited about the days ahead. May God give us vision and courage on the road ahead.
Finally, I just heard from a reliable source that BIC General Assembly 2018 (formerly General Conference) will be extremely close next summer. I’ll be sharing more details when I receive them from the BIC Church Offices.
Have a great week! I look forward to seeing you in worship.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Paul, Ephesians 3:20-21 NIV
Grace & Peace,
P.S. You have probably seen the promotional slide already, but I wanted to officially announce that author and pastor Greg Boyd will be with us Sunday, March 26. Greg is a personal friend and theological mentor of mine. And you may know, he is the author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Myth of a Christian Nation (2007). Greg will join us for a combined Learning Community that morning and will speak in the worship service on peace and non-violence, as it relates to core value #8. I hope you’ll join us and be inspired by Greg’s ministry.
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