The Rev. Phillip Bone, senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church, recently led his congregation in a Bible study on how to implement their spiritual gifts. A current study by Dr. Henry Blackaby on personal spiritual revival prompts them to ask, "Lord, what can we do?"
"We asked God to open up our eyes, ears and hearts," said Bone. "I stressed the importance of responding as ministry opportunities become available. We can be prayer warriors, visit, open our homes, give out gospel tracts and invite friends to church."
Bone challenged the church to make the Bible their area of expertise — not to just believe the Bible because the pastor says so, but because they know so.
Bone serves with a part time staff, the Rev. Paul Robins, minister of education. He credits Robins in being a great visionary and values his wisdom and experience.
GBC has approximately 150 members with an average of 70 in worship and recently broke the 50 mark in Sunday school. In 2010, their goal is to break 100 in worship. They plan to accomplish this by participating in a new initiative that was launched in June at the Southern Baptist Convention called GPS — "God’s Plan for Sharing."
The program is designed for every believer to share and for every person to hear the gospel by the year 2020. The components emphasize praying — leading and training every believer to pray for the lost; engaging — leading and training every believer to build witnessing relationships; sowing — blanketing the community with the Gospel message in a way that results in every lost person being given the chance to accept Christ and harvesting — leading and helping to celebrate and follow-up with every salvation response.
Born to parents Peggy and Roger Bone in Anniston, Ala., Bone accepted Christ at age six and rededicated his life at age 13. His family moved to Ashland when he was 16. He credits the influence of Godly parents in shaping his life. He recalls getting up at 4 a.m. with his dad for devotions and participating in brotherhood events — changing light bulbs in widows’ houses and cutting grass. He always accompanied his mother as she took food to the sick. At age 17, Bone delivered his first sermon in his home church in Ashland.
Home schooled, he earned his credential from Vineyard Christian Academy. Bone attended the Advanced Training Institute International in Indianapolis for two years. In May 2008, Bone received a Master in Religion from Luther Rice University and is enrolled in the Master of Divinity Program.
Bone met his wife, Eva Grunewald as they worked with city-wide youth programs in Tennessee. The experience taught him patience and how to be a good communicator and listener. After three years, Bone accepted his first pastorate at Grace Baptist Church. Married for eight years, they have one daughter, Alana, and are expecting the arrival of a son on Feb. 14.
Eva has been a private music teacher for 15 years. She teaches Kindermusik International as an outreach for children ages six months to seven years old at GBC and on Wednesdays at the First Presbyterian Church in Covington.
A multicultural church, GBC has representation from six cultures — the Philippines, Haiti, Jamaica, U.S. Virgin Islands, Anglo and African American.
"When a church is multicultural, you have a true picture of what heaven is like," said Bone.
In its 52nd year, GBC holds multiple community outreach events including homecoming, an Easter Program and egg hunt, fall festival, Souper Bowl Sunday to stock the food pantry and parenting classes, and it partners with Porterdale Elementary School by providing back packs and school supplies.
The community is invited to attend the annual Christmas holiday dinner at noon, Dec. 6, a birthday party for Jesus Dec. 13, followed by Communion on Christmas Eve.
Sunday school begins at 9:45 a.m. and worship at 11:00 a.m. Sunday evening and midweek services lend itself toward a discussion setting so there is freedom to comment or ask questions. People can walk away with a firm grasp on what they believe and why.
Grace Baptist Church is located at 474 Crowell Road in Porterdale. For more information, call (770) 786-5692.