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.

Examine the Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection

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“Come, see the place where He lay,” the angel said (Matthew 28:6). He’s not there any longer! You too can examine the evidence for the historicity of the Resurrection.

The Case for Christ, by Lee Strobel

Also a movie, included with Netflix and available to rent on Amazon Prime.

The Case for the Resurrection of Jesus, by Gary Habermas and Michael Licona

Scholarly:

The Resurrection of the Son of God, by N.T. Wright

The Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach, by Michael Licona

Devotional:

He Chose the Nails, by Max Lucado

Easter Greetings & Activities

Dear Grace Point Family,Easter Flowers

The world is slowly shifting once again from gray-brown to Technicolor! I love Spring! As life begins to burst around us, we are reminded of our Savior bursting free from the tomb. I hope you will join us in these opportunities to celebrate:

Pray and Invite
Pray for neighbors, friends, and co-workers you might invite to join us at Grace Point on Resurrection Day – that they will witness our worship, have ears to hear the Good News of Christ, and respond to God’s gift of forgiveness and eternal life.

Passport to the Cross: Your Guide to Understanding Good Friday
On Good Friday, April 19, beginning at 6:00 pm, we will host a new experience to help us appreciate more deeply the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. As groups we will visit three stations that remind us of key events of Passion week, culminating in a time of reflection together in the Commons. Help your children experience the meaning of Good Friday for the first time, or come for your own refresher. Childcare is available for children under four years old. Register at http://gracepointpa.org/events for this unique experience.

Celebrate Resurrection Day
On Sunday, April 21, 9:00 and 10:30 am, we will celebrate Christ’s victory over death with powerful music and a continuation of our sermon series called “Crushed for Us, Raised for Us.” If you are bringing guests on Easter, please attend the service with them and help them feel welcome. Because we expect a large crowd, we will also provide overflow rooms for both services to make room in the Commons for guests. Children’s programs (Nursery through 6th Grade) will be available in each service.

Support our FOCUS Process
This year our Easter offering will fund survey trips for our GP FOCUS Process. I am excited to see where God directs us for greater impact as we endeavor to work together on a church-wide missions project. To learn more about the FOCUS process and the survey trips, please refer to this document. Please consider contributing financially toward the trips, and continue to pray for this important decision. I encourage you to continue pursuing steady stewardship with your tithes to our General Fund, and consider this an “above and beyond” gift demonstrating gutsy generosity. (When donating online or via check, be sure to mark your gift “Easter.”)

May you be filled with hopeful expectation, as we look to Christ for new life in this special season!

Celebrating with you,

Dave Wolf
Lead Pastor

1/27 Business Meeting Recap!

Hello, Church Family!

On Sunday, January 27, 2019, Grace Point held a semi-annual business meeting for church members, with about 75 in attendance. Below is a brief summary for those of you who were not able to attend.

PrintPastor Jay Button was delighted to welcome three new members to the Grace Point family: Lark & Heidi Perez, and Meredith Brown. If you have an opportunity to introduce yourselves to our new church members, we are sure they would be encouraged and blessed.

Cassandra DeWitt, Director of Children’s Ministry, gave an update on the aesthetic improvements in the Children’s Ministry wing, which help make the families and children feel well-served, comfortable and welcome. She also shared that a new community outreach event called “Family Fun Fest” will be happening on June 7. Allyson Kliefoth and Michelle Piccioni are volunteering to oversee the Family Fun Fest.

In Pastor Steve Weir’s absence, he prepared a video presentation outlining the FOCUS (First priority, Objectives oriented, Cooperative, Unleashed potential, Strategic) process introduction. He shared the vision and purpose of FOCUS and updated the members on the process and timing.

Dave Wolf introduced several staffing changes, including title changes for Greg Shelton (Pastor of Student Ministries) and Bill Wright (Director of Operations.) He also announced the retirement this year of JoAnn McDowell (whose service has been much appreciated and will be missed!) and the hiring of two new administrative staff members: Cyndi Kern and Sharon Sloan.

Dave and I then introduced a vote to change the Grace Point Constitution to reflect a title change for Dave Wolf from Senior Pastor to Lead Pastor. Dave felt it important to make the change to reflect his heart for shepherding and leading the staff and congregation, rather than suggesting seniority over others. With an overwhelming majority vote, the members approved to change Dave Wolf’s title from Senior Pastor to Lead Pastor.

Bill Wright, Director of Operations, recognized Ryan Burke for ten years of faithful service on the Grace Point staff. Ryan serves as the part-time custodian and is a great blessing to Dave Crist, Facilities & Grounds Supervisor. Ryan fills this role behind the scenes, usually at night and on the weekends.

David Kneller informed us of a newly-adopted policy Affirmation and Policy on God’s Design for Human Sexuality which incorporates material from and supersedes several older policies including several on marriage and divorce. His work, along with that of other elders, to update our church policies is much appreciated, so that the church can function with integrity and efficiency.

Bill Wright reported that the finances are healthy after a strong giving month of December. Specifically, the water well initiative through Samaritan’s Purse for Cambodia exceeded the expected giving such that six wells are being installed instead of the original goal of two wells. The surplus of the Thanksgiving and Christmas offerings was allocated by our church leadership to the general church fund.

The meeting concluded with a closing prayer.

God bless,

Scott Leuz
Elder Chair

Happy New Year 2019!

Dear Grace Point family,

Happy New Year! As we turn the calendar and begin 2019, I’m excited to celebrate with you some highlights of God’s work among us in 2018, and also look forward with expectation to the months ahead!

img_5552We start by celebrating 16 baptisms in 2018, including one special Sunday when we saw eight people take this step of faith! I am thrilled to see this number increase dramatically over the last few years: three in 2016, and five in 2017. To God be the glory for the way He is stirring in hearts and changing lives!

Praise the Lord for great participation in One Winter Night (including so many of you who volunteered to make it happen) and our Christmas Eve services! We know of at least one family whose first time at Grace Point was One Winter Night, and they have returned on Sundays in December. Let’s continue to pray for long-term life change as a result of the amazing outreach at OWN.

turn-on-the-tapAnother celebration from this past Advent season is the amazing movement of generosity among our church family, following our Advent Conspiracy study on “spending less and giving more,” and what a response! We set out with a goal to provide two wells (costing $10,000 each) to villages without clean water, and you responded so incredibly, we FAR EXCEEDED that expectation! We will give more specifics soon, after the year’s finances have been closed out, but for now I’ll say that we at least doubled our goal!  Let’s pray that these wells meet both physical and spiritual needs, as Samaritan’s Purse does this ministry in the name of Jesus.

I also want to take this opportunity on behalf of the staff to thank those who contributed to the staff Christmas gift – we are truly humbled and grateful to serve here!

Before leaving the topic of generosity, we can also celebrate that we finished 2018 in the black, as our General Fund giving has caught up to budgeted need. This positions us for some very exciting ministry in the year to come:

A dedicated FOCUS Team under the direction of Catalyst President Ellen Livingood and our Pastor of Missions Steve Weir will be examining our outreach strategy and working to flesh out what it looks like to “build bridges for life change through Christ” both locally and globally. If you are not part of our GP Prayer Team, please email vision@gracepointpa.org to be part of our 21 Days of Prayer for GP FOCUS, which begins Monday, January 7.

gp central logoOur staff is devoting new energy to our strategy of “creating a culture of belonging” as we read a book together called Fusion by Nelson Searcy. As part of our efforts we are upgrading our database, which will allow more personal and robust follow up with our guests. It will also facilitate better communication among our church family, including our Groups, which are the heartbeat of our connections with one another.

Toward that goal of improved communication, our pastors want to offer a new forum for conversation, “Coffee with the Pastors,” to give you the opportunity to share any constructive feedback or new ideas for our consideration. The inaugural conversation will be on January 27 (the day after the next business meeting) – you can choose to participate at either 1pm or 7pm in A5-6. The pastors look forward to talking with you about what’s on your mind.

I could go on, but you have your own New Year projects to tackle. Praying that God bears much fruit through us together, for HIS glory, in 2019!

In Christ,

Dave

Advent Conspiracy – video

Here is the link to the Advent Conspiracy video we watched together in Sunday’s service!

Advent-Conspiracy-for blog

Consider having a conversation with your family about “doing Christmas differently this year.” Here are some discussion questions you might use to engage your family in the decision:

  • What do you like, or not like about the idea of giving each other fewer presents this year?
  • What are different kinds of gifts we could give to one another that don’t cost a lot of money?
  • What activity could we do together to make a memory that lasts longer than a physical gift?
  • How could we collect the money we save from shopping in a visible way (maybe a container in the kitchen) to give toward clean water for people in need?