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See a Need, Meet a Need

Apr 17, 2024

See a need, meet a need. This was the driving idea behind the Northern Atlantic District rallying together to help Grace Community Bible Church in Philadelphia, Pa., last fall. The church, which has been serving its community for more than 125 years, was in need of major renovations to keep the building in good working order to enable them to minister to their community.

Pete Forshtay, pastor at Metro Grace Church in Philadelphia, first brought the need to the attention of the district at a ministerium meeting. He shared that the roof was leaking, and rain was causing water damage inside the building.  

Upon hearing the need, Dustin Godshall, senior pastor at Thrive Church in York, Pa., knew his church could help. Thrive has a crew of guys who have served other churches in the past, including a week-long renovation of Neighborhood Church in Lakeland, Fla. “As churches, we want to care well for each other,” Dustin said.

BJ Boosz, a pastor at Thrive, and Dale Knepper, an elder at Thrive, visited Grace Community and their lead pastor, Shawn Kidder, for an assessment of the project. While there, they filmed a video explaining the project, which you can see here.

“The Fellowship churches really did a great job of raising awareness of the need and rallied around the cause to help Grace Community fix their building in order to keep them doing effective ministry for years to come,” BJ said.

Because of tight pandemic restrictions and the transient culture of the neighborhood, church attendance dropped to about 15 during 2020. This made tackling renovation projects extremely challenging. “We have been praying for a few years for God to provide for these needs, and He answered our prayer through our Northern Atlantic District,” Shawn said. “Our district churches are an answer to several years of prayer. It has been so encouraging and such a blessing to see God meet our needs through our Charis Fellowship family!”

Thrive Church had the manpower to fix the roof, but funds were needed to undertake such a large project. The Northern Atlantic District spread the word about the need, and the churches in the district came through with the funding. Gateway Church in Parkesburg donated a fifth-Sunday offering. Grace Family Church in New Holland donated their Christmas project offering. Another church matched a large portion of donations.

BJ said, “While the funds were being raised, I reached out to some friends and people I knew that could help us do the install and we picked a week to do the work. The Lord really orchestrated all the details in a way that could not have worked out any better.”

Not only did funds come through for the project, but people did too. A former pastor, Tom Eames, works in the roofing industry and got supplies donated by a major roofing manufacturing company. A roofing company from Ohio knew BJ Boosz and offered to do the project at cost. Mike Gehlert, director of Camp Conquest, organized the district efforts. Shawn Kidder coordinated meals and host homes for volunteers. Energized and encouraged by all of the support, the congregation jumped in to help as well.

The money donated was more than the cost of the roof, so the church was able to tackle other projects as well. A bathroom in the parsonage received a new shower, a new basement floor was installed, and other jobs like minor plumbing updates and refinishing wood doors were completed.

Today, there are around 50–70 people who attend on Sundays. Shawn said, “Grace Community Bible Church is a wonderful church that loves Christ with our whole self, loves one another like family, and loves our community by reaching out with the love of Jesus and the message of the Gospel.”

“Seeing the love of our Lord being expressed to one another as a Fellowship family was so inspiring and encouraging,” Shawn said. “The love we were shown not only met some of the needs of our building, but even more importantly, it encouraged our faith!”