Staff Transitions Update – September 2021

Our church has experienced three key staff transitions this year, and we are thankful that God has been faithful to provide for us in staffing these positions for uninterrupted and effective ministry.

Children’s Ministry. After serving as our Director of Children’s Ministry for 15 years, Cassandra Dewitt resigned on May 31 to follow the Lord in using her gifts in a new way on the next leg of her journey.

  • Donna Mulvaney is serving as our part-time Interim Director of Children’s Ministry and Ann Kovalik is serving in a part-time supportive role to Donna. Their initial focus is to offer Sunday morning classes for children birth to 5th grade.
  • Our Children’s Ministry Exploratory Team has researched and worked together to present several recommendations regarding multiple aspects of Children’s Ministry to the Elders for review. We anticipate forming a Children’s Ministry Staffing Search Team this month and prayerfully hope to have permanent staffing in place by early 2022.

Care Ministry. Chuck Arnold retired from Grace Point on June 30 as Pastor of Congregational Care, and we thank the Lord for Chuck’s time serving our church family. Grace Point will continue to respond personally and promptly to spiritual, emotional, and financial needs, and to utilize a team approach in meeting those needs. Our Care Ministries Team (led by Linda Hamilton, Marlene Bollmann and Joan Bennett) is working together effectively to continue to extend care to our church family in ways that represent Christ.

  • Pastor on Call. The pastors on staff rotate for one week at a time responding to incoming calls and email requests. The POC then works with the individual or family to determine steps forward in their care, which may include an external counseling referral, an internal referral to a Confidential Care Provider, or another specialized connection within or outside Grace Point. Chuck had been training the POCs over the last year in resources available, and he has been role playing counseling situations. POCs will provide pastoral counseling on spiritual matters (1-3 sessions max) and will refer all other cases to Christ-centered counselors in our area, while maintaining contact with the counselor for shepherding purposes.
  • Care Coordinator. Eileen Hemming was hired on June 1 as our part-time Care Coordinator, and we are excited to have her skills and experience in this vital area of ministry. The Care Coordinator is an administrative position. Eileen interfaces with the congregation, the pastors and the Care Ministries Team and care providers outside of Grace Point to assure loving and effectual care to those in need.

Connection Ministry. Jay Button was celebrated and thanked by the church family on Sunday, August 29 as he stepped away from his role as Pastor of Connection at the end of August. Jay and Kim are looking forward to seeing where the Lord has them next to continue in ministering to God’s people.

  • Small Groups Ministry will be led by a volunteer team overseen by Dave Wolf, with elders serving as coaches for our highly valued small group leaders.
  • Men’s Ministry will be led by Tom Cummings and a well-established group of volunteers under staff oversight of Jeremy Davis.
  • Discover Grace Point, Membership, and Baptism will be coordinated by Jim Weber with staff oversight by Steve Weir. The Discover Grace Point class will resume this autumn on a regular basis to offer opportunities for Grace Point attenders to learn more about the church and to become members.
  • Fellowship Fund will be administered by Jan Haas with staff oversight by Bill Wright.
  • Prime Time Ministry will be overseen by Sharon Sloan, who will work with the current Prime Time Planning Team when they are ready to resume gatherings. This important ministry provides fellowship opportunities for our attendees ages 55 and up.

Administrative Support. We are delighted to announce that we have hired Jenna Mazer as our part-time Ministry Administrative Assistant. Jenna will begin the week of September 19, 2021. She will be our receptionist and will serve Dave Wolf, Jeremy Davis and our Children’s Ministry. Look for Jenna in our front office soon, and please take a moment to welcome her!

We thank the Lord for the staff team members He has provided throughout the years and those He has planned for the future. “For God is not unjust so as to overlook your work and the love that you have shown for His name in serving the saints, as you still do.” (Hebrews 6:10 ESV)

Please pray with the elders and staff for God’s favor as we navigate these changes and look forward to the new season of ministry in the coming months.

If you have further questions, please contact kkovalik@gracepointpa.org, dwolf@gracepointpa.org or sweir@gracepointpa.org.

Scriptures on Anger

Memorize one or more of these Scriptures as you seek to “be transformed by the renewing of your mind!” (Romans 12:2)

…Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger. (James 1:19)

…The anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. (James 1:20)

A fool gives full vent to his spirit, but a wise man quietly holds it back. (Prov 29:11)

Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. (Ephesians 4:26-27)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control… (Galatians 5:22-23)

… I knew that You are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. (Jonah 4:2)

On RightNow Media:

Overcoming Emotions that Destroy (Chip Ingram)

Bringing Balance to Last Week’s Article

Grace Point Family,

Last Friday we forwarded to our church family an article written by Converge President, Scott Ridout, condemning the violence and riots that occurred at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Since last Friday, several people in our Grace Point family courageously reached out to me to express their concerns that the Converge article could be perceived as partisan, and I am glad that I have had the opportunity to ask these individuals to “help me understand your concerns.” Through these conversations, I heard a primary concern that this article did not represent the balance for which Grace Point is typically known in its communication on current events, and so I offer these thoughts to bring balance to this conversation.

Let me first share with you the two reasons we forwarded the article:

  1. We felt Converge had made an important statement distinguishing our Christian community from those who, while carrying symbols sacred to our faith, attacked the Capitol building and endangered the lives of others. While it is not for me to judge the hearts of these individuals, I do believe it is important to call out their actions as inconsistent with the teachings of Christ. He called us to respect the property and wellbeing of our neighbors – even those with whom we disagree. (This condemnation is equally applicable to the many riots sparked by racial tensions in 2020.) It is important for the unbelieving world to know that believers, in general, and Grace Point, in particular, in no way endorse or identify with those who perpetrate hatred or violence.
  2. We also feel it’s important from time to time to remind our church family that we are part of an association of churches called Converge, which exists to start and strengthen churches worldwide. Forwarding articles from the president helps us stay connected with our larger network, and to understand the perspectives that are shared on a national level.

It was neither my intent nor desire to make a partisan statement with this article. Rather, the motivation was to uphold the name and mission of Christ in the eyes of those who do not yet know Him. Some of you will remember a message we studied last July:

When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the LORD.”  Joshua 5:13-14 (emphasis added)

Here is one of many cases when God is not interested in taking sides as people divide into “us vs. them,” but is solely focused on making the name of Christ known so that Christ may draw all people to Himself. Grace Point has not been and under my watch will not be a church that promotes political sides. We are to promote the Great Commission of Christ as members of the army of the LORD, fighting together the darkness brought on by our spiritual enemy. The purpose of last week’s article was not to promote a political side, but to promote the purity of the cause of Christ.

Having said that, I understand that last week’s article calls out one political side without calling out the other. Because the article specifically called out our now former president, I would like to balance what was said there by stating that I have serious concerns about several policies our new president has vowed to pursue, and the impact they may have on our religious freedom. As well, I have concerns with the stance of the new administration on several social issues including abortion, which I believe to run counter to my understanding of Scripture. 

In all honesty, I feel there is a lot of material to work with in calling both the Democratic and Republican platforms to account from a Scriptural standpoint. I have always made an effort to “offend everyone equally,” so to speak (when it comes to politics at least!) and I apologize that last week’s email was not balanced in that way. 

In light of this incident, I commit to two practices going forward:

  • I will renew my vigilance to present any political views in a balanced manner, as we have done to this point.
  • When addressing sensitive topics like politics, when there is high potential for offense or misunderstanding, I will make sure that you hear from me or another trusted member of our own Grace Point staff rather than forwarding the thoughts of someone with whom you have little connection. You need to be able to follow up a Grace Point communication by approaching a leader you know and trust with the conversation, “help me understand.”

And there is something I hope YOU will take away from this. In the polarized culture in which we find ourselves, I want to call you to trade a posture of accusation for a posture of teachability. Resist the natural bent to judge the motives of those with whom you disagree, and instead follow the example of those brave individuals who reached out to our leadership this past week with a humble spirit of curiosity in saying, “help me understand.”

I believe strongly in the vision and mission of Converge, and I trust Scott Ridout’s desire to follow Christ and make Him known. We will continue to cultivate our relationship with Converge and share Scott’s thoughts with you again in the future. As well, we will by God’s grace communicate in such way that we do not lose the opportunity to impact our community for the Gospel by taking political stances.

I am grateful for the diversity of Grace Point – ethnically, socially, politically. As we are called by Christ to unity, let us remember that unity is not the same as uniformity. And let us embrace the fact that unity is not easy – sometimes it takes hard work. Let’s continue to do that work together, as we fix our eyes on the Author and Perfector of our faith.

For the glory of Christ,
Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

…Walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. (Ephesians 4:1-3)

Converge Responds: Further Thoughts on the Assault on the Capitol Building

Dear Grace Point family,

Our country is at a crucial crossroads, politically, socially and spiritually. 

Below we have linked to a statement from the president of our church’s association, Converge, calling us as Christ-followers to unity and prayer following the events that took place last week at our nation’s Capitol.

I realize that a variety of political viewpoints are represented across our Grace Point family, and for that I am grateful because it means that we are centered on the true foundation of Christ, and not a political ideology or party. As you read these strong words from Converge president Scott Ridout, I remind you of the calling of the Church to bear the light of Christ in the world, including the responsibility to speak Biblical truth into the events of our day.

https://converge.org/article/further-thoughts-on-the-assault-on-the-capitol-building

In Christ,
Pastor Dave

New Community Resources

Where the Word of Christ dwells, the peace of Christ rules.

And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
-Colossians 3:15-16

DEVOTIONALS

For families with young children:

Lauren Golis attends Grace Point!

For teens, adults, and families:

Morning and Evening by Charles Spurgeon

THE WORD OF CHRIST IN SONG:

New Colossians 3:1-3 song by Darrell Benjamin!

Tell Alexa to play “Christian Worship”

An example of a Psalm in contemporary setting:

Resources: Putting Sexual Sin to Death

holding handsSome Scriptures on enjoying sex in marriage:

Proverbs 5:15-19

Song of Solomon

Covenant Eyes – accountability software for computers and phones

Mingling of Souls book and other formats, by Matt Chandler

Love, Sex, and Lasting Relationships on RightNow Media, by Chip Ingram

The Purity Principle by Randy Alcorn

Every Man’s Battle by Stephen Arterburn (with other versions: Every Woman’s Battle and Every Young Man’s Battle)

Upward: One Hour Together

Man praying in dark room with ray of light on himJoin together with other Grace Pointers in committing to one hour per week of focused prayer for our church and our world. This is an important way to set our hearts and minds upward (Colossians 3:1-2).

Email us at prayer@gracepointpa.org and let us know when during the week you are planning to pray!

 

Ideas to P-R-A-Y:

PRAISE:

  • Worship God for who He is and what He has done. (Psalms 37, 100, 136, 145)

REPENT:

  • Confess your own sin, and confess on behalf of our community and country. (Psalm 51, Daniel 9)

ASK:

  • That Grace Point will be a bright light for Christ in a dark world. That our church will keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. That our country will turn back to God and honor Him. That our leaders will have wisdom to lead during this challenging season.

YIELD:

  • Pray that God’s Kingdom will come and His will be done. Pray that our hearts will be humble and obedient. (Isaiah 40, Matthew 6:10, 1 Peter 5:6-7)

Unity Takes Work

Community takes unity, and unity takes work!

Here are a few resources to support you as you “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3).

Grace Point Relational Commitments – Attachment to our Constitution

Resolving Everyday Conflict from Peacemaker Ministries (to request a RightNow Media account, click here.)

Biblical Peacemaking, from Relational Wisdom 360 Ministries

The JOY of Face Masks

As you seek to put into practice putting Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last (the path to JOY!) with regard to face masks, here is some further reading that captures the heart of our leadership on this topic.

This follows our July 5, 2020, message on “What Would Love Do” specifically relating to Face Masks!

4 Reasons to Wear a Face Mask, Even if You Hate It from The Gospel Coalition

While Some Try to Politicize Wearing Face Masks, for Me it’s a Spiritual Practice from Baptist News Global

Church, Don’t Let Coronavirus Divide You from The Gospel Coalition

Together

“…Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression…”
(Isaiah 1:17)

My heart aches for the brokenness of our world, so evident in recent days.

Mr. George Floyd’s death at the knee of an officer sworn to serve and protect is at the same time personally tragic, and also embodies a larger standoff that has existed for too many years in our country. A standoff between those in power who sometimes misuse it, and those of diminutive voice calling for justice, but being ignored.

This is a brokenness at a foundational level, that goes to the core of what it means to be human.

I have not been quick to comment on racially charged events because I honestly feel inadequate and poorly positioned to do so. I cannot empathize with the frustration experienced by my African American friends because I have not experienced what it’s like to be marginalized in the way they have. I don’t know what it’s like to be instantly dismissed, or suspected, or mistreated simply because of the color of my skin.

But I want to say to my African American friends and call us as a community of faith to say: though we may not empathize with your pain, we can care about you, stand with you, listen to you.

We can listen to what is being said through the brokenness of both peaceful and violent protests. The violence causes our hearts to ache too, because in it we see pain masked by anger, more innocent people being hurt, and the condemnation of a governmental system that has failed to provide justice equitably.

Let us join together in an apology for the times when you have been ignored while speaking in a normal tone of voice. We are sorry that you sometimes have to shout to be heard.

So, may we listen as you speak in a normal tone of voice, in the context of personal friendship. Let us weep together as you share your pain. Let us speak out on your behalf where our voices can make a difference.

It would be easy for us to write off the polarization in our country as a lost cause, but then I see Jesus confronting it head on. He chose Matthew the tax collector and Simon the Zealot to be among His disciples. They epitomized the political polarization of their day: one pledged to overthrow the oppressive force of Rome, the other sold out to collect more revenue so that force could spread.

Jesus called these two men from polar opposite worldviews into a cadre that lived with Him in tight-knit community for three years. I wonder how many times Matthew and Simon snarled at each other, seethed at each other, avoided each other. But Jesus invited them to three years of walking together and eating together and serving together and learning together from the Master what it means to love one another.

And so, that is my prayer for our community, beginning with our church family. I want us to walk together and eat together and serve together with those who are different from us, learning from the Master what it means to love one another. THAT is what the church should look like, my friends.

Let’s lift our voices together then, first in praise to our God Who creates each and every human being in His image, with equal dignity, equal value. And then let us kneel in praise to Jesus on ground that is blessedly level at the foot of His cross – thanking Him for making His redemption from sin equally accessible to every one of us.

And after praise to our perfect God, let us join our voices in a plea for justice to Him and to our imperfect governmental leaders, on behalf of every imperfect yet valued human being. I confess I’m not entirely sure how to do that. But let us press forward in finding out, together.

Dave