GP Library – Book Reviews

Book review by Sue Gibson ~

Recently I read a wonderful book I discovered in the GP Library, Counted With the Stars, by Connilyn Cossette. This biblical fiction novel is the first in the amazing Out of Egypt trilogy, which is offered in our library. The story traces the journey of Kiya, a young Egyptian slave woman, during the time when the terrifying plagues strike Egypt. She chooses to flee with the Hebrews when Moses leads them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea. Hope in and redemption through the Lord is highlighted in Counted With the Stars as Kiya surrenders her life and future to Yahweh.

The second book, Shadow of the Storm, continues during the first year’s journey following the cloud as God leads the Hebrews through the wilderness. This book follows the life of Shira, a young Hebrew woman who serves as a mid-wife and who worships Yahweh, but is not sure of His purpose for her life. This is complicated further after a tragic delivery. But God’s faithfulness can be traced through the pages of Shadow of the Storm.

The final book, Wings of the Wind , pursues the adventures of Alanah, a youthful Canaanite woman who is captured in battle by a Hebrew warrior. God’s sovereignty places her in a strategic location during the battle of Jericho. Alanah’s family is killed in battle with the Hebrews, and she disguises herself, sneaks onto the battlefield and determines to avenge her family. See how God works behind the scenes to accomplish HIS plans!

All three books in this trilogy will inspire you to read the background for these stories in your Bible. You will be kept in suspense as God brings a loving Hebrew man into each of their lives.

Our GP Library has all three of these wonderful books, and I encourage you to visit the library very soon! ~ Sue Gibson

To reach our Librarian, Barb Lewis, please email: library@gracepointpa.org.

Staffing Changes

On Sunday, September 15, after second service, I provided a detailed explanation of several important staffing changes happening over the coming months. Here is a summary of the most significant changes:

organization-chart-1989132_1920.pngGP LEAD Team – the staff is being restructured into four ministry areas, overseen by:

  • Pastor of Discipleship (future hire – for now overseen by Dave Wolf)
  • Arts & Communication Pastor (Steve Weir)
  • Outreach & Mobilization Director (Joan Zeberlein)
  • Operations & Finance Director (Bill Wright).

These four supervisors will meet regularly with myself as Lead Pastor to set key goals which spur our church to win and grow disciples who make disciples.

Joan Zeberlein transitioned to full time at Grace Point August 1, and has been working hard to build the Hospitality Team. As noted above, Joan will be working her way toward oversight of the entire Outreach & Mobilization area, but not until Women’s Ministry has a solid leadership team in place.

Steve Weir will be handing off missions and giving more concentrated attention to our complex communication needs. In addition, he will be championing creativity in all areas – for example, he will now be able to devote more energy to video production to promote our various ministries.

Chuck Arnold is looking to reduce hours significantly and enjoy a greater degree of retirement by July 1, 2020. To that end, he will be handing off several areas of his responsibilities such as attendance tracking and new guest follow up. We are working to ensure that there is no lapse in the excellent care Chuck provides to our church family.

Jay Button will remain full time until May 2022 at which time he expects to continue part-time in ministry at Grace Point. For now he is continuing his vital work with Groups and Men’s ministry, and is now providing oversight of the College & Career Ministry and working on several mentoring & leadership development initiatives.

Tony Batres continues to do a great job as interim Student Ministry Director and has agreed to continue until we have identified a permanent Director or Pastor over this area. A search team will commence around early November and will thoroughly consider Tony for the position, before looking at any other candidates.

For those who contact the office with administrative needs, please note the new roles of our admin staff:

Cyndi Kern is our part-time Ministry Administrative Assistant and has taken over most of JoAnn McDowell’s receptionist responsibilities (after JoAnn retired at the end of April) and provides support to Cassandra DeWitt, Chuck Arnold, Jay Button and Dave Wolf.

Sharon Sloan has stepped into a newly-created, full-time role as Ministry Administrative Team Lead as of June 1, 2019. Sharon takes care of Calendar and Building Usage Requests and supports Steve Weir in Communications and Special Events, and Tony Batres in Student Ministry. She also serves as liaison to ministry leaders.

Please join me in expressing your support for our great staff, and pray with us for a smooth transition through these changes over the coming months.

Dave Wolf, Lead Pastor

Serve: Step Up to Grow Up!

As we learned from Ephesians 4:11-16, there’s an awesome WIN-WIN when we choose to step up and serve using the gifts God has given: we mature as individuals, AND we build up our Grace Point community of faith.

Serve

So take a risk, step out of your comfort zone, and get off that spiritual sofa to see what God has in store…link over to our webpage that shows areas of ministry you might consider – and take a test drive!

SERVE opportunities online

FOCUS Survey Trip Prayer Requests – Thailand

Thank you for praying for our FOCUS Survey trips! We had a great trip to Lebanon and now we look ahead to our Thailand Survey trip. Here’s how you can pray for our team!

Prayer Requests for Grace Point Survey Trips
Thailand Trip / August 21-28

  1. Pray for the FOCUS Selection Team as they get better acquainted with the ministry of Converge in Thailand. Pray for the director of the Thai Buddhist Initiative, Rick Berry.
  2. Pray for the spiritual preparation of the survey team going to Thailand: Steve Weir, Dave Wolf, Denise Nichols, and Ellen Livingood. Ask God to give them spiritual discernment, clean hearts, and minds yielded to the Lord. Pray for good health and safety before, during, and after the trip. The weather will be hot and humid, so pray for endurance during long days.
  3. Pray for each of the missionaries and national Thai pastors and leaders with whom the GP team will meet. Ask God to use the GPers to encourage and be a blessing to these men and women. Pray that each conversation will help to give a clear picture of what God is doing and how partnership might contribute.
  4. The team will leave on Wednesday morning, August 21, for Newark airport and a non-stop, 16-hour flight to Hong Kong. After a 2½ -hour layover, there will be another three-hour flight into Bangkok, arriving Thursday evening at 11:30. Pray that each person can get some quality sleep on this long trip.
  5. Pray for stamina for the team on Friday, August 23, as they spend the day seeing English centers with Converge missionary Steve Cable and then attend a church service in the evening. Ask God to give each person the ability to focus and absorb lots of new information despite jetlag. Pray that the GPers will be guided to ask insightful questions.
  6. On Saturday, August 24, the team will meet with leaders of the ministry that is teaching English to women who have been caught in the sex trade. Ask God to give the team the ability to understand some of the complexity of ministry to women caught in this vast evil that unfortunately is a trademark of Bangkok. Pray that our Grace Pointers can be an encouragement to those who work with these women.
  7. On Sunday, August 25, the team will take a short flight to Udon to see a training ministry that Converge is involved with there. Pray that our GPers can begin to understand the leadership needs for the new house churches that God is raising up all across this land and what the opportunities are like to be a part of serving church leaders in training.
  8. On Monday, August 26, the team will spend the day learning about the background of Thai culture and Buddhist religious beliefs and practices. Pray that they will be able to see the implications for ministry in this nation where only an estimated ½ of 1 percent are evangelical believers.
  9. On Tuesday, August 27, the team will spend a portion of the day meeting with local Thai leaders. Pray for good translation and clear communication. Ask God to help GPers grasp the big picture as they are exposed to so much new information.
  10. Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, August 27, Steve, Dave, and Denise will start their journey home. Pray for the connection in Hong Kong and for rest on the long journey. Ellen will take a short flight to Singapore where she will spend the next three days doing training with a number of sending-base leaders, board members, and volunteers who serve with the mission agency World Outreach. Pray that each of these sessions will be highly valuable to these people who are mobilizing sending churches in places as different as South Africa, the Netherlands, and Malaysia.

Converge Responds: El Paso, Dayton Tragedies

This past weekend our headlines were again filled with reports of violence and tragedy and our hearts were saddened and heavy at the news of more lives lost. We struggle to find answers and are unable in the midst of these senseless acts.

Scott Ridout, president of Converge, has written the following response that I find helpful and full of reminders in the midst of these tragedies.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity (Col. 4:5).

Lisa and I were looking forward to quiet first weekend of August. We had experienced a busy summer of travel, including ministry trips to Minnesota, Canada, Pennsylvania, Louisiana and a great time with our missionaries from Europe and Africa in Germany, followed by a week of vacation in Virginia. It was good to finally be home. Our only responsibilities this weekend were serving at church and helping prepare for our first “Back to School” event – a “drive-in” movie (kids make cars out of cardboard and watch a movie in the car – yeah, you can steal that one!).

On Saturday morning, I had a small window of time to do work on the roof before the rain came…again (I live in the “Sunshine State” – which to me is more of an aspiration than reality in the summer here).

It was Lisa’s birthday weekend, so we went out to dinner to celebrate and went home to relax.

That’s when I heard the news…

“Twenty people were killed and dozens more injured on Saturday morning in a massacre at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart that was packed with back-to-school shoppers, making it one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history.”*

It was discovered later that the shooter had written a personal manifesto. He later told investigators he wanted to shoot as many Mexicans as possible.

I never know what to think when I hear things like that.

“Why?”

“Who thinks like that?”

“Why would you want to shoot someone based on their country of origin?”

“Are people really that sick?”

I thought about all my friends from Mexico and Texas. I thought about my church and our sister congregation, Harvest in Español, and made a mental note to talk with the pastor, Ramon Garcia, to get his perspective. Being truly vulnerable, I was a little upset with myself that I was not more broken up by the news. Yet it has happened so often recently, it has begun to feel like a new normal – unacceptable, but normal.

Later Saturday evening I got the chance to watch a little of the NFL Hall of Fame induction ceremony. I turned on the set when Champ Bailey was talking. I had great respect for him as a player and I loved watching him play. My heart sank as I heard him give an impassioned plea:

“The first thing people see when they look at me is not a Pro Football Hall of Famer or a husband or a father. They view me first as a black man. So, on behalf of all the black men that I mentioned tonight, and many more out there who’ve had the same experiences that I’ve had in my lifetime, we say this to all of our white friends: When we tell you about our fears, please listen. When we tell you we’re afraid for our kids, please listen. When we tell you there are many challenges we face because of the color of our skin, please listen. And please don’t get caught up in how the message is delivered.”

I found myself tearing up as I heard him speak. I realize that while it is impossible for me to feel the fullness of the pain of his personal journey, but my hope is that I am becoming more aware and compassionate toward the challenges to people of color and minority cultures in our country. I was also grateful for the journey that God has our movement of churches on in this area. No doubt, we have a long way go…I have a long way to go…but we are willing to go on the journey.

Sunday morning, I woke up to the news: “In a second mass shooting in less than 14 hours, at least nine people are dead and more than two dozen were wounded early on Sunday after someone opened fire in downtown Dayton, Ohio.”*

Again? Two times in one weekend? What is going on?

I began to reflect in my mind… Columbine, Redlake, Virginia Tech, Foot Hood, Tucson, Aurora, Sandy Hook, D.C. Navy Yard, Charleston, San Bernardino, Pulse, Dallas, Las Vegas, Sutherland Springs, Parkland, Tree of Life, Thousand Oaks… and now this. And, yeah, I know there are dozens more that aren’t top of mind and don’t even include the ones that came to mind from around the world.

I grieve over so many common ground issues in these scenarios. Deranged thinking. Devaluation because of color, class and culture. Senseless actions. Helpless victims. Tragic loss. Ripple effects for generations. Families and communities full of grief, pain and fear.

No doubt we will have outrage, posturing and blame-casting in the political arena. Hopefully we will have robust discussion that results in needed change and meaningful preventative action in the local arena. I ask you to pray that God will lead our leaders to live on the “solution side” of these issues and make godly, right judgments resulting in meaningful progress.

But you do realize that the only lasting hope for our world is the gospel of Jesus Christ, right?

When the gospel is planted in the life of a new believer, it is joined by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, the wisdom of the word of God and surrounded by the encouragement of God’s people. As more and more individuals are changed by the gospel, it transforms communities. As communities are transformed, it transforms regions. As regions are transformed, so are countries…and so on.

Transforming the country seems too big a task for any one of us to take on. But throughout the centuries God has been transforming the world…one life at a time. And he asks us to join him in this work.

In our country, the Back to School season is one of the most likely times for people to consider visiting a local church. Many are getting back into their life routine after a restful but less than routine summer schedule. Wouldn’t it be great if church became a part of their new routine?

We as believers recognize that the work of the church is absolutely essential in our world. Hope, help and healing come from Jesus – Jesus changes everything! He is the one who transform people. And the church (the people, not the programs) is God’s means to get the message of Jesus to those who so desperately need it. Every individual in our communities deserves to hear about and needs to experience the transforming power of the gospel.

I have four things that God has put on my heart to do with what happened this weekend. I’d love for you to join me in taking next steps in these areas:

  • Take a moment and pray for our country, our communities and our churches. Commit to keep them in prayer on a regular basis in prayer.
  • Think of a few people outside the faith and commit to invest in friendship to model the hope of Christ in their lives in hope that they would one day meet Jesus.
  • Invite someone who doesn’t have a church home to join you next weekend at your house of worship.
  • Take the next step to get deeply involved BOTH in the life of your community and your church. Serve with your time, talent and treasure in our local congregation. If possible, reach across a racial, ethnic or cultural divide in your community to listen, learn, lament and love.

I sense that these are the first steps we need to take to keep our hearts soft and our lives and churches on mission. I pray that this might be a very fruitful season of ministry in your personal circle of concern as well as your community. May we be prayerful in our hearts, joyful in our posture, winsome in our witness, engaging in our connections, hopeful with our words, bold in our invitations, God-honoring in our lives and effective in our mission to help people meet, know and follow Jesus as we start and strengthen churches together worldwide.

* News reports from ABC News

CONVERGE IS A MOVEMENT OF MORE THAN 1300 CHURCHES WORKING TO HELP PEOPLE MEET, KNOW AND FOLLOW JESUS. WE DO THIS BY STARTING AND STRENGTHENING CHURCHES TOGETHER WORLDWIDE.

FOCUS Survey Trip Prayer Requests

As we look ahead to our FOCUS Survey trips, we invite and need you to pray for our teams and for God’s leading in the FOCUS process.

Prayer Requests for Grace Point Survey Trips
Lebanon Trip / July 25-August 1

  1. Pray for the FOCUS Selection Team as they meet on Wednesday, July 10, to prepare and to get better acquainted with the ministry of Kinship and its partners in the Middle East: Horizons International (HI) and Ananias House (AH). Pray for an expanded understanding of the complexity of the context as well as the exciting ministry opportunities.
  2. Pray for the spiritual preparation of the survey team going to Lebanon: Steve Weir, Amie Kiryluk, Denise Nichols, and Ellen Livingood. Ask God to give them spiritual discernment, clean hearts, and minds yielded to the Lord.
  3. Pray for the staff of the Kinship partners in Lebanon as they prepare to host our survey team, specifically Christine, the HI visit coordinator; Khalil, in charge of developing church partnerships across Lebanon for HI; Louis, HI’s director of expat ministry in the Middle East, and Maggie, onsite AH ministry coordinator.
  4. Pray for good health and safety before and during the trip. The weather will be quite hot, so pray for endurance during long days. Pray that the team can stay focused despite jet lag and weariness.
  5. Pray for good translators and clear communication everywhere the team goes. Pray for good communication within the GP team too. Ask God to help them be discerning as they are exposed to so much and to encourage each other all along the way.
  6.  Pray for each of the pastors in Lebanon with whom the GP team will meet. Ask God to use the GPers to encourage and be a blessing to these leaders who are always stretched thin by the demands of their congregation as well as the immense physical and spiritual needs around them. Pray that each conversation will give a clear picture of the church’s vision, the current ministry, the potential for partnership, and concrete ways GP might contribute.
  7. Pray for the day trips that GP will make to tent camps in the Beqaa Valley and to children’s camp ministry in the Tyre area. Pray for a good understanding of the diversity of ministry that is based on the diversity of needs and opportunities.
  8. Pray that the GP team will be able to enjoy worship with Arab brothers and sisters, sensing the joy of their spiritual life that is deeper than the daily problems they face.
  9. Pray the team will be able to gain an understanding even of ministries that they will not have the opportunity to see firsthand. For instance, the School of Hope that provides an education for dozens of very poor refugee children will be on summer vacation.
  10. Pray for the time the team spends with two church leaders who will be coming out of Sy_a to meet with them. Pray that these men’s hearts will be encouraged by the interest of the GP team. Pray for the ability for the GP team to grasp the difficulties and the opportunities that describe the situation inside this war-torn country today.

Women’s Outreach and Fellowship – Annual Report

At Grace Point we have a stellar group of ladies who work tirelessly to advance the Gospel in very tangible ways. Our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship group has been working over the last 12-18 months creating, quilting, collecting and assembling thousands of items that are given out and used by local, regional, and global ministries.

Here’s a snapshot of their work in 2018-19.

Outreach Projects:
  • Child Evangelism Fellowship (C.E.F.)
    • 2000 “wordless” key chains
    • 14 Baby quilts (Florida fire)
    • 9 Flannel sheets (Florida fire)
    • 6 Blankets (Florida fire)
    • 3 Comforters (Florida fire)
    • 18 Knitted blankets (Christmas)
    • 59 Small toys/stuffed animals (awards)
  • Converge Panama City ~ Nate/Jendi Korpi
    • 12 Bookmarks: Walk By Faith
    • 17 C.O.F.F.E.E. hangings
  • Esperanza Medical Center
    • 820 Christmas ornaments: small nativity, foam crosses, JESUS stockings on magnets
    • 16 Foam nativity scenes (Christmas)
    • 215 Sheep: Trust in the Lord
    • 630 Easter crosses
    • 510 Bookmarks
    • 175 Hearts: Jesus Loves Me
    • 112 C.O.F.F.E.E. with John 3:16
    • 22 Travel toiletry packs made
    • 11 Knitted baby blankets
    • 11 Pair knitted baby booties
    • 20 Knitted baby hats
    • 22 Baby quilts
    • 256 Children’s books donated to their library
    • 2 Large coloring books
    • 24 Puzzles
    • Toured facilities (Tara Mothersbaugh)
    • 989 Children’s books (Collected from GP’s VBS Kids)
    • $474 donated by VBS kids (Collected from GP’s VBS Kids)
  • Good Shepherd Ministry (Christmas Cheer)
    • 50 Coffee cans filled with cookies
    • 50 Candy favors
    • 25 Sunshine bags
    • 7 Walker bags
    • 29 Lap robes
    • 17 Knitted slippers
    • 3 Knitted shoulder wraps
    • 22 Men’s white tube socks
    • 131 Assorted Sunshine Bag articles: shampoos, soap, wash cloths
    • 19 Toys/games/stuffed animals
    • 773 Christmas cards/envelopes (new)
  • Philadelphia Bible Clubs
    • 275 Bell Christmas party favors
    • 55 Jewelry in boxes
    • 6 Assorted Christmas decorations
    • 105 Misc. household gifts/ornaments
    • 24 Baskets of travel/cosmetics/gifts
    • 19 Sets of knitted matching hats/scarves (Beverly Weir)
    • 7 Toys/books/puzzles
    • 1 Box assorted snacks for volunteers
Grace Point Related Ministries
  • On Eagles’ Wings
    • 38 Fall favors (foam)
    • 30 Christmas favors (foam nativity)
    • 30 Winter favors: snowmen
    • 26 Easter cross favors
    • 31 Summer patriotic favors
    • 17 Summer favors (foam strawberries w/tea bags)
  • Quilting
    • 75 Quilts for kids
    • 1 Crochet baby blanket
    • 29 Handmade stuffed animals
    • 32 Crocheted baby booties
    • 35 Crocheted baby hats
  • Vacation Bible School
    • 1200 Bible verses cut/holes punched (2018)
    • 120 Pac Man decorations cut (2019)
    • 310 “Ghosts” decorations cut (2019)
  • One Winter Night
    • 24 Rolls of ribbon cut into 12” pieces
  • Young At Heart (Valentine’s Dinner/Evening)
    • 40 Valentine table decorations
  • $62 collected and given in memory of Pearl Fulton to Good Shepherd Ministry
  • Love Gifts Given ($350 total)
    • Jendi Korpi
    • Abby S. (GP Missionary)
    • Joan Zeberlein
    • Eileen and Allison Sarver (Panera Gift Card)
  • 9 Meetings/36 hours
  • 1 Summer Party/4 hours of fun!
  • 8 Quilting workshops/32 hours

Countless hours of homework and sewing at home!

Total Items: 9,629 made or collected

Thank you to Lori Wilson and our Women’s Outreach & Fellowship team! They do amazing work and bless countless others through their ministry!

To learn more about Women’s Outreach & Fellowship, visit the Women’s Ministry page on our website (look under What We Offer) or contact Lori Wilson at lefty31@comcast.net.

6/9 Business Meeting Recap!

On Sunday, June 9, 2019, Grace Point held our semi-annual business meeting for church members, with approximately 90 in attendance. Below is a summary of what we covered and the items that were up for vote.

Scott Leuz, Elder Chairman, honored Phil Anders’ 12 years of service on the Elder Board before his home-going to heaven. Scott announced that Glenn Ely will be taking a one-year sabbatical after serving over eight years on the Elder Board. Thank you, Glenn!

Scott also introduced a vote to reinstate Jack Edmond to the Elder Board, having just finished a one-year sabbatical. The subsequent vote was unanimous.

I gave an update on the FOCUS process by starting with a brief overview of the many steps involved. I shared that it is our hope and prayer that through the FOCUS process we can unite all of our mission initiatives locally, regionally and globally. I’d love to see a common thread through each area of ministry, as we consider the Acts 1:8 regions (Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and the ends of the earth). Lastly, I shared that we have narrowed our potential FOCUS partnerships down to two areas of the world: Lebanon and Thailand. Each area will include potential new missions projects, short-term trips and church-wide engagement. Survey trips are currently being planned and more details can be found here.

As a side note: our 2019 Easter offering was designated to help offset the costs of our FOCUS survey trips. A total of $12,255 was given and will be a huge help in funding these trips.

Dave Wolf, Lead Pastor, reported on staffing changes and updates as follows:

JoAnn McDowell has begun her retirement! Please welcome our new Ministry Administrative Assistant Cyndi Kern and our Ministry Administrative Team Lead Sharon Sloan, who are getting up to speed and providing great support to the staff.

Our interim Student Ministry Coordinator Tony Batres has dived in and is doing a great job leading our teens. Just as Tony came on board, the Haiti missions trip had to be cancelled due to political upheaval in that country; as a result, Tony and Steve worked hard to find an alternative and have been busy planning the Navajo Nation trip for July. In addition, Tony is courageously leading a four-week teaching on dating and sex with our students, while offering a simultaneous parent session to facilitate good conversation over this vital topic.

Tony will continue as our part time coordinator into fall, as staff and elders take time to look at Student Ministry as a whole and determine if and when to search for a full-time director/pastor.

Stepping back to look at the bigger picture of our GP staffing, in February Dave Wolf began exploring the question “Are we staffed properly to achieve our Mission, our Vision and our new FOCUS?” with a group of several advisors, including an outside church consulting firm.

As a result, we will be making several changes over the coming year, including the transition of Joan Zeberlein from part-time to full-time beginning August 1. Joan has been faithful in Women’s Ministry at GP for nearly 12 years, and we are excited to have her training and equipping expertise available to impact more of our ministry areas.

As Joan transitions to full-time, she will be adding to her plate a new emphasis on our Guest Experience, looking at ways to enhance our “culture of belonging” as part of our vision of building bridges for life change through Christ. Eventually, as our new Missions FOCUS is identified, Joan will become more involved, as we are prayerfully expecting that this new FOCUS will be more than I, Steve Weir, can handle in his multi-faceted role.

There is much more to say about staffing changes and the multiple staff members who will be affected. We will offer an informational meeting in late August or early September to give more details. For now, please welcome Cyndi, Sharon, Tony and Joan to the crew!

Bill Wright, Director of Operations, provided an update on the church finances, including the many ways our church family has been generous beyond giving to the General Fund. Bill mentioned that a new restricted account was created for funds given for “Strategic Global Projects” and that significant gifts have already been received for those purposes. Lastly, copies of the proposed 2019-2020 budget were distributed, and Bill reviewed some of the changes and proposed increases. With an overwhelming majority vote, the members approved the budget as presented.

Pastor Jay Button recognized Chuck Arnold, Pastor of Congregational Care, for his five years of ministry and service to the church family. I had the opportunity to recognize Josh DeLeo, Sunday AV Coordinator, for his five years of service, and Holly Ames, Missions Assistant, for her 20 years of service.

Pastor Jay Button was delighted to welcome new members to the Grace Point family, Dave Ferri and Tom and Barb Cummings.

Finally, Scott Leuz shared the results of the votes (noted above) and closed the meeting in prayer.

We are grateful for all that God has done in our church and we look forward to a great summer of ministry at Grace Point!

Steve Weir
Pastor of Missions and Communication

GP FOCUS Process – Update

Thank you to the many folks who have been praying for the FOCUS process! It has been an exciting journey seeing God work and lead us over the last several months. A lot has been happening behind-the-scenes and it’s time for an update!

First, I thought I should give you a brief overview of the FOCUS process and what we hope it will accomplish for our church. We hope and pray that the FOCUS process will allow us as a church to bring some clarity and focus to our missions efforts, and address how we can engage in missions – locally, regionally, and globally.

FOCUS is an acronym that stands for:

  • F – First Priority – The selected FOCUS project and/or initiative will be the missions project that we talk about the most – whether that is from the stage on Sunday mornings or in our regular publications. When it comes to mission-related opportunities, we’ll consider our FOCUS first, then look at other ideas. This will include short-term mission trips, potential new missionary candidates, special offerings and other opportunities.
  • O – Objectives Oriented – The FOCUS will be based on specific objectives that are established by our global partner(s) and/or missionaries. A major aspect of a FOCUS is to come alongside them and help them accomplish their ministry goals and objectives.
  • C – Collaborative – We will select and work closely with ministry partners to help them accomplish their goals and determine what we can learn from them in true partnership. There is much we can learn from this process as well.
  • U – Unleashed Potential – We have many people within our church family who are highly-skilled and gifted in a number of areas. We hope that our FOCUS will provide multiple opportunities to engage and mobilize our people for significant missions impact using their gifts, skills and expertise. That may include you!
  • S – Strategic – We don’t ever want to engage in any missions project without a strategy. Our FOCUS will have a determined strategic emphasis that will help us all to stay on task and prayerfully focused on what God would have us to learn and accomplish through this process.

The FOCUS process began last fall, and in January the FOCUS Selection Team was assembled with the specific task of selecting GP’s next missions FOCUS project. Over the last several months, the FOCUS Selection Team wrestled with a number ideas and issues, attempted to map our missions DNA as a church, conducted research and narrowed our many, many options down to two.

While there were many worthy missions projects from which to select and with which to engage, we had to evaluate multiple factors and make a decision based on what we believe would be a good fit for Grace Point at this time. It was not an easy task!

The FOCUS Selection Team has narrowed the potential projects down to the following:

  • Lebanon – working with the Kinship Network to equip church leaders and reach refugees and Muslims from both Lebanon and Syria.
  • Thailand – working with Converge International missionaries in Bangkok to help start and support English schools – each of which are tied to a local church. Other opportunities may include assisting with a ministry that helps victims and those rescued from the sex trafficking industry.

Personally, I’m praying that our FOCUS will engage our entire church in meaningful and impactful ways – so much so that all of us become more missions-minded to reach our friends and neighbors and to help us accomplish our FOCUS, and live out our vision of building bridges for life change through Christ.

What’s Next?
The next step in the FOCUS process is to send survey teams to each country with the goal to evaluate things on the ground, meet with the national leaders, identify national facilitators, and gain a clearer understanding of what God is already doing in their ministries. We will be sending two small teams made up of members from the FOCUS Selection Team this summer. While some logistics are not confirmed at this time, we have the dates for our trips.

  • Lebanon – July 25 to August 1
  • Thailand – August 21 to 28

For now, you can join our prayer team. You can sign-up online using this form, in the foyer at the Missions Wall or send an email to “go@gracepointpa.org” to be added to the list.

I don’t know about you, but I think this is exciting! I’m thrilled with the progress we’ve made and look forward to what God has in store for us as a church!

Lastly, I’d like share our appreciation for Ellen Livingood, who has led our FOCUS Selection Team and really helped us prayerfully wrestle with the key ideas and issues related to missions. Ellen is a tremendous asset to us as a church and many other churches through her ministry. You can learn more about Ellen’s work with Catalyst Services on their website here: https://catalystservices.org/

Thank you, again, for praying! More details to come!

Resources for the Great Commission

Link to video used in 4/28 messageWorld map – What is a UPG?

Joshua Project – organization that tracks evangelism progress around the world, specifically Unreached People Groups.

Operation World, a classic book continually updated to inform our prayers for the peoples of the world.

Information on the FOCUS Process, in which Grace Point is currently prayerfully engaged, as we ask the Lord where He would have us concentrate our outreach efforts regionally and globally over the next 3-5 years.

Converge Worldwide (the church association with which Grace Point partners) is asking God to create a gospel movement among every least-reached people group, in our generation. Read more about Converge Missions here.

Perspectives Class at Cairn University. Perspectives is a 15 week life and learning opportunity that will change the way you view the world around you. In it, you will have your eyes opened to the heart and purpose of God, and how you can take part in His work all over the world, from the urban streets of America to the rain forest and deserts of distant lands.