Previous | Next

October 1979 · Vol. 8 No. 4 · pp. 14–15 

Reports of Renewal: Renewal in Grant, Nebraska

David D. Block

“What is the Lord doing in the community of Grant, Nebraska?” is the question that we have been asked quite frequently over the past several years. The word seems to have gotten around that something quite unique is happening in a very unlikely place: a community of some 1100 people in a rural county in western Nebraska which has a total population of about 4000 and a dozen churches.

Within the last ten years the average attendance has risen from around 30 people to about 140, with an enrollment of 215 and a membership of 77. Only 25 or 30% of the congregation has an ethnic Mennonite background at this time. The giving has increased in proportion; and a new wing has been added, including additions to the social hall, the Sunday School rooms, nursery rooms, and offices. But the best and most lasting growth has been in the outreach of witnessing and sharing Jesus Christ, through which He has drawn people to Himself in a new birth experience.

“What are you doing? What method of outreach are you using? Surely you’re involved in some structured program!” are some of the questions asked. Our response might seem too simple, but there are three areas which the Lord is blessing: the proclamation of His word, friendship evangelism, and home Bible studies. The very simple down-to-earth proclamation of His word is being done in the Sunday School and from the pulpit. God is honoring it and people are responding.

Friendship evangelism here is simply befriending people in an honest and open way with the full intention of sharing Jesus Christ with them as the Lord makes opportunity and opens the door to individual hearts and lives. Friendship must be candid and genuine—not a “spiritual-scalp-hunting” tactic. A sincere and consistent interest in the individuals of the family, with a willingness to admit one’s own needs and shortcomings, opens the door to their hearts sooner or later.

As people came to Christ they needed nurturing in the Word, and what better way to teach than in the informal setting of a home Bible study with other friends or family members? Growth has been the result, not only in the lives of new converts, but also in believers who were willing to open their homes or to take the leadership in this kind of teaching {15} ministry. So far these Bible studies have risen spontaneously. However, the time may come when we see a need for some structure and direction.

Right now two of these new converts (Donn K. Rojeski and Ron Grosser) are students at the seminary in Fresno, California. We provide them partial support on a monthly basis and they are still very much a part of this church family. We pray and trust that the Lord will “thrust them into the harvest field” where He wants them, and possibly one or the other will be directed back here to Grant as the church grows for God’s glory.

I have come to believe that a longer term of ministry for the pastor of a congregation adds to the potential of outreach and growth. At least it gives one the opportunity to become better acquainted with individuals and families, with their needs and concerns. One can actually become more a part of their lives. I just did not believe that such things as are happening in Grant could happen in a place where I would be serving—which proves to me that it is the Lord’s doing, and I am thankful to Him for the privilege of being a part of the work and ministry in this corner of His harvest field.

David D. Block, Pastor
Grant Mennonite Brethren Church
Grant, Nebraska

Previous | Next