Recap of an Exciting Weekend!

Hello Grace Point family! In case you missed Sunday’s exciting worship service, or were there and need a recap, here you go:

Congratulations to Steve Weir, whose ordination to the Gospel ministry was formally recognized through the presentation of his ordination certificate and the prayers of our elders. Please congratulate Pastor Steve Weir on his obedience to God’s call on his life!

Steve
Photo by Emerson Copetti

brianweberfamilyCongratulations as well to Brian Weber, who grew up at Grace Point, served on pastoral staff, and has now taken a position as Converge MidAtlantic Executive Minister serving over 100 churches in 10 states! Grace Point is part of the Converge association of churches and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Brian in his new role!

andersSupport for GP family battling cancer: One of our GP elders, Phil Anders, has been battling esophageal cancer for nearly two years. Because of Phil’s leadership as an elder, the IRS restricts the church from providing financial assistance via our church Fellowship Fund, yet there are significant financial needs for the family due to treatment expenses and loss of work time. If you are moved to assist this special family with their needs, you may donate at www.gofundme.com/philndonnaanders.

Thanks to all of your generous donations for meatball sandwiches Sunday – our Bolivia Mission Trip raised over $2000!

Watch for the rollout of RightNow Media, our new video library, this Sunday. All regular attenders of Grace Point with an email address on file will receive an invitation for free access to what has been called the “Netflix of Christian Bible Studies.” This is a great resource for Life Groups, families, and anyone with an interest in growing in Christ!

rightnow

Why Short-Term Missions Trips Matter

I went on my first missions trip in 2003. I was 23 years old and was headed to Naples, Italy to help one of our missionary families and their church. My experience in technical theatre and professional audio had uniquely prepared me for accomplishing a complete overhaul of the sound system at the Naples church.

“How to Use the Board” – struggling through Italian (2003)

Two years later and now a newly-wed, my wife and I and one other team member, Andrew, headed to Tokyo, Japan to assist with English classes and essentially close out a 5+ year international focus with a different missionary family and Japanese church planters. Over the course of the partnership two churches were planted and many from Grace Point prayed, supported, and traveled to help and participate with this unique partnership. Many, many Japanese people heard the gospel, in a country where less than 2% are Christian.

Sarah & I teaching English at Tama Church, Japan (2005)

“Short-Term missions changed the direction of my life.” That was what one person recently shared with me. You see, she grew up at GP, and engaging in short-term missions trips helped to firm her faith, steer her towards Christ, and has since developed a heart for reaching more people with the gospel.

As a missions director, I believe that short-term mission trips are a vital part of our missions strategy and can be a huge faith-builder in the life of a believer. The Great Commission wasn’t given to just church leaders and missionaries. It was given to all of us to make disciples of all nations (literally all people groups). Each of us are called to be engaged in missions and the Great Commission in some way.

Yes, we need people to go – people who will be obedient to the call that God has placed on his/her life to either become a missionary or to go on a missions trip. We definitely need “go-ers.” If you feel God might be calling you to go, I would love to hear from you! 🙂

For every “GO-er”, however, we need even more “SEND-ers” – people who are committed to:

  • Pray for missionaries, short-term teams, and missions endeavors
  • Disciple and prepare missionaries and short-term teams to go on the field
  • Support missions financially

We need many more “SEND-ers.” Will you be a SEND-er?

This summer we are sending out three short-term teams from Grace Point. Each trip is strategic in helping to accomplish certain ministry goals and strengthen existing partnerships.

  • Lebanon Team (June) – mentoring and discipling women who live in a nearby worn-torn country and working with our friends in a kinship partnership
  • Bolivia Team (July) – a combined team of 25 people (10 from our sister
    Unidos en Cristo (2011)

    church Restoration Church) heading to Cochabamba, Bolivia to help finish a newly built classroom addition, encourage the local pastors, and to strengthen our relationships with our sponsored kids through Compassion International and our partner church, Unidos en Cristo.

  • Bridesburg, Philly (July) – working alongside long-time partner ReaLife Church our team will be assisting and facilitating a week-long daily Vacation Bible School program for the kids and families of the Bridesburg section of Philadelphia.

My dream and prayer is that Grace Point would continue to be a church with a strong missions focus; not just because of these trips, or by simply supporting 20+ missionaries. But, that our entire church family would be engaged in missions and what God is doing in our community, region, and around the world. (Read Acts 1:8)

I encourage you to join our summer trips prayer teams. You can sign-up here.

We are currently raising financial support for our missions teams. You can give on Sundays in the offering plate (mark your check/envelope as “missions”), using the Giving Kiosk in the foyer (select the Short Term Missions fund), or online at giving.gracepointpa.org (select the Short Term Missions fund).

We have two Missions Team fundraisers coming soon. Learn more on our events page.

Will you join us and what God is doing? I believe that you’ll be glad you did and it may just change your life! I’m hoping it changes mine!

Grace Point’s New Vision Statement

When I was a kid, building with LEGOs was a big part of how I spent my time. My

Source: https://flic.kr/p/CRF2M

brother and I would begin to create an elaborate community with all sorts of intersections, activities, buildings, and little mini-figure people. More often than not, we’d begin with a not-so-well-crafted idea and just see what happened. We’d often have to make changes on-the-go, modify our structures, or deconstruct what we had just spent hours working on.

Why? Because we lacked a clear vision.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working. It did, however, prevent us from building something that was long-lasting, effective, and meaningful.

The same is true in ministry.

A lack of vision didn’t stop us from working.

For the last six months, we’ve been praying and working to craft a vision statement that will inspire and lead us into the next three to five years. Our prayer has been to ask the Lord, “What is Your vision for Grace Point?”

Many of you have been praying with us through this process. Thank you!

After conducting a church-wide survey (a summary of results found here), reviewing data regarding our surrounding community, sorting through research on external factors and current trends, and meeting with a number of incredible consultants, our staff and elders have crafted the following vision statement.

Building bridges for life change through Christ
Building bridges for life change through Christ

We want to build and strengthen connections within our church and to our community that move us all towards life change – which can only happen through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. If we want to reach our community and make an impact, we need to build a bridge to get there. You may remember a quote from a few months ago, “Love is a bridge over which truth can pass.” If we’re going to share the gospel, we must first build a bridge of love.

As believers of Jesus Christ and as the church, we’re called to participate in the Great Commission. But, that’s not always easy. In fact, we will face many difficulties trying to reach certain people and even certain places – whether that’s because of geographical limitations, pre-conceived perceptions about God and faith, or because of past hurts and wrongs people have experienced. There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

At Grace Point, we need to be building bridges for life change through Christ to make an impact in our community.

There are some people and places we just cannot reach without a bridge.

In a few weeks, we will unpack our vision statement on a Sunday morning where a few members of our ministry staff will share how this vision statement has already begun to inspire them in their areas of ministry.

When I consider my LEGO creations as a kid versus what I see “professional LEGO builders” create, I’m left in awe. A clear vision, dedication, and teamwork certainly payoff in the end!

Source: http://www.timeoutshanghai.com/features/Around_Town-Inside_Job/38048/Inside-Job-LEGO-Master-Model-Builder.html

It is our prayer that with this new vision statement, a dedication and commitment to prayer, and teamwork as a staff, leadership team, and together as the entire church of Grace Point, we can accomplish great things for the kingdom and love our community.

And in the end, when we’ve seen what God has done, we will be left in awe!

–Steve Weir for the ReVision Team & The GP Leadership Team

Burning Questions

Today we closed out our current series on the Pain of Life, which comes after messages about offering grace and truth to those who may think and live very differently than we do.

These have been some challenging topics, and we realize they may have raised more questions.

The leadership of GP would like to hear what is on your heart, what topic(s) would you like to see addressed from God’s perspective?

Take a moment and fill out the form to submit your questions and/or topics.

Submit your questions here.

Resources to Find Healing from Abuse

To find out more about the ministry of Transformed By Grace, visit their website at: www.transformedbygrace.org

You can also follow on their FaceBook page at Transformed By Grace, Inc.

Sylane Mack’s books are all available on Amazon and Kindle:

Convinced! – Sylane Mack’s autobiography, or as she calls it, “God’s transforming love story written in my life.”
This is also available in Spanish: ¡Convencida!
Grace Moments – a daily journey with God – is a daily devotional with reflective journaling pages.
Grace Moments – travel version – the same daily devotional, but without the journaling pages to make it easier to pack.

Other related books:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Cry of the Soul by Dr. Dan B. Allender & Dr. Tremper Longman III

Healing for Damaged Emotions by David A. Seamands

The Healing Path by Dan. B. Allender, Ph.D.

When Life Isn’t Fair by Dwight Carlson, M.D. and Susan Carlson Wood

When God Doesn’t Make Sense by Dr. James Dobson

To explore other counseling options, please contact our Pastor of Congregational Care, Chuck Arnold.

Hope is available for you in Christ! Please let us help you.

 

ReVision Survey Results!

Since September 2017, our elders and staff have been working on a major project: updating our church vision statement. Vision statements have been very powerful in the journey Grace Point, as evidenced by our most recent vision which led to the establishment of a partnership with Unidos en Cristo Church in Bolivia and the planting of Restoration Church in Levittown.

On January 14, we conducted a survey at the end of our worship service, collecting demographic data and seeking the input of our church family regarding what you perceive to be our strengths, areas for improvement, and ideas for the future. Our response rate was over 75%, which is fantastic – thanks to all who participated!

Below you will find some of the most significant findings from the survey. This data, as well as much more, has been reviewed by our ReVision Team and is being considered as we begin the formation of our new vision statement.

Next steps:

  • Elders and staff will review and refine the draft statement at our retreat April 6/7.
  • We will seek feedback on the statement from focus groups in the weeks to come.
  • We anticipate a finalized vision statement and resulting staff goals/objectives to be formulated by July 1.

Integral to this process has been the work of three Grace Point attendees who are skilled in data collection and tabulation: Paul Benchener, Dan Hughes, and Tom Nolte. We also wish to thank two individuals who are “on loan” from Crossing Community Church who have also volunteered their expertise: Larry and Cindy Newman – thank you for your heart to build the Kingdom!

And a reminder of who comprises the ReVision Team – feel free to talk with them at any time if you have comments or questions: Glenn Ely, Scott Leuz, Rich Speeney (elders), Steve Weir, Joan Zeberlein, and Dave Wolf (staff).

Your prayers for this ReVision process continue to be appreciated and impactful!

And now, some key findings:

Grace Point Survey ResultsGrace Point Survey Results2Grace Point Survey Results3Grace Point Survey Results4Grace Point Survey Results5Grace Point Survey Results6Grace Point Survey Results7Grace Point Survey Results8Grace Point Survey Results9

 

Strengths

  1. Preaching/Sermons
  2. Church Culture
  3. Worship/Music
  4. Leadership
  5. Christ-centered
Opportunities

  1. Millennials
  2. Unaffiliated
  3. Surrounding townships
  4. Families
  5. Religious Identity
Weaknesses (Areas to Improve)

  1. Assimilation/Getting to know one another
  2. Greater outreach
  3. Music ministry
  4. Preaching
  5. Parenting
Threats

  1. Millennials hard to serve
  2. Church membership dropping rapidly
  3. “Competition”
  4. Doubt

Tenacious Love Resources

Below is a sampling of many resources available to help us learn how to balance truth and grace.

Responding to a gay family member or friend:

Compassion without Compromise (How the Gospel Frees Us to Love Our Gay Friends Without Losing the Truth) by Adam Barr and Ron Citlau

Messy Grace (How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others without Sacrificing Conviction) by Caleb Kaltenbach

Someone I Love is Gay (How Family & Friends Can Respond) by Anita Worthen & Bob Davies

When Homosexuality Hits Home (What to Do When a Loved One Says They’re Gay) by Joe Dallas

 

Understanding homosexuality, for teens:

Living in a Gray World (A Christian Teen’s Guide to Understanding Homosexuality) by Preston Sprinkle

 

Biblical understanding of homosexuality (written by individuals who experience same-sex attraction):

Is God Anti-Gay? (Questions Christians Ask) book by Sam Allberry

Is God Anti-Gay? Sam Allberry message delivered at the Village Church in Texas

Navigating Sexual Sin to Find Your Identity in Christ, Rosaria Champagne Butterfield Focus on the Family broadcast 1/2017

The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert (And English Professor’s Journey into Christian Faith) by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield

Marriage Matters: Experiencing Trauma, Loss, and Grief

During our journey through life we will experience losses, and in some cases, a traumatic event; some predictable and expected, but others a total surprise.

Being alive means we constantly have to resolve problems. Every new situation we encounter provides us the opportunity to develop new ways of using our resources in order to gain control. When a problem or situation seems beyond our capacity to cope, we are thrown off balance. This is known as a traumatic experience often leading to a crisis. A traumatic event brings about an acute response. An individual’s psychological homeostasis (balance) is disrupted both horizontally (with others) and vertically (with God).

The losses and traumatic events of life can be overwhelming. The question then becomes; How do we cope with the powerful emotions, chaos and confusion that follows a loss or traumatic event? What do we do to ease the pain and grief we feel? How can we carry on and eventually return to a normal daily routine?

During the classes of February 11, 18, and 25 we will explore the world of Trauma, Loss and Grief. This will be an opportunity to, perhaps, share your story and find a sense of healing as you interact with others.

Come join the class at 9:00am in rooms A-1 and 2.

Please contact Pastor Chuck with questions or comments.

January Business Meeting Recap

Below is a summary and recap of the Semi-Annual Business Meeting, held on Sunday, January 14 after the 10:30am service. The summary is written by Scott Leuz, Elder Vice-Chair.
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Hello church family,

We wanted to provide a brief summary of the business meeting held on January 14th for those who were not able to attend. We tried a new more efficient format for the meeting that was held immediately following the second service. We were happy to see strong attendance as about 100 members came.

During the meeting, Dave Wolf was able to provide an update to the ReVision process. A survey was taken during the morning services and the ReVision team will be working with a volunteer consulting group to evaluate the data and continue to seek God’s leading for the future.

If you were not able to participate in the survey on Sunday morning, you may take it online by going to http://gpsurvey.com. Please complete the survey by January 18, 2018.

Holly Ames, Jay Button, Cassandra DeWitt, and Joan Zeberlein were recognized for their years of service on staff.

Greg Shelton provided an update on the Youth Ministry with good attendance and upcoming winter retreats.

Bill Wright reported that the finances are healthy after a strong giving month of December.

We had one item for congregational vote. With an overwhelming majority vote, the congregation approved to ordain Steve Weir pending the approval of an Ordination Council – who will determine/confirm his calling and fitness for Pastoral ministry.

God bless,

Scott Leuz
Elder Vice Chair