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Posts Tagged ‘Development’

End of the Year Message from John

Friday, December 18th, 2009

John in Sweater

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, I cannot help but be thankful for His life and transforming power in our world. It is his personal touch and intervention that brings me hope; not only for myself, but for the many whose lives He will touch deeply.

This year God has taken me deeper into understanding the true meaning of Grace. He has challenged my critical spirit that can rise up when I am feeling fearful or insecure. He has continued to transform my life by shaving off the portions that do not reflect Him.

I have enjoyed spending rich time in fellowship with others who are seeking God’s love in their lives. I have been privileged to know men who are lonely, some who are recovering from a life challenge, a few who just need a listening ear and some that are there for mutual support and encouragement.

My wife and I have had a precious time of renewal in our relationship from an intentional time away with each other. At 21 years of marriage, we were long overdue for a tune up.

It has been encouraging for us to walk alongside the Lord in such a way as to seek Him each day for His provision, His leading, and His plans. I can think of many times I have been at the end of my rope and found myself searching in His Word for hope, an answer, or to know Him better.

Writing the Journey of Thomas has been none other than a miracle in and of itself. To think that I would write a book was clearly foreboding, but God devised a plan through which He would surprise me! Low and behold, when I compiled all of the sections that were written, the basic material was there! I hope it is published this coming year.

I worked as a car salesman for a short period of time. It was surreal for sure. I was willing, and thought I understood the plan God had for me in working there but within two weeks, God surprised me again and showed me His heart – for mine and His willingness to allow me to pursue my dreams for a life of ministry. I am thankful that I was only there for two weeks!

At the end of this year, it is my desire to remain thankful. Just a couple of years ago, God opened my heart and my eyes to see that He wanted to free me to follow a new dream that seemed so unclear. He challenged me to be willing to go wherever He might lead me. My wife and I are at that place. We have agreed to keep our hearts in a “Whatever Lord!” place. It is both exciting and fearful for us for sure. But, at this moment the dream seems to become a little clearer. This next year will surely be interesting.

We hope that your new year will be filled with the knowledge of the Love of Christ in a very personal way. Our prayers go out for you and those you love.

A very Merry Christmas, and a blessed New Year!


John J. Smid

Executive Director


Grace Rivers Development – September 1, 2008

Monday, September 1st, 2008

Grace Rivers Develeopment
Your prayers this week have definitely been heard!  As of Thursday I discovered a practical plan of how to establish the ministry of Grace Rivers.  After meetings with advisors some things really became clear for me.
I also had a very productive and encouraging meeting this last Saturday that laid a foundation for what Grace Rivers actually can become!

Please read through this entire letter to find out exactly how your prayers are being answered.

Last week was very productive for Grace Rivers development.  Thank you so much for your prayers.  I have contacted six men to ask them to consider being part of the initial “Steering Committee” for the development of Grace Rivers.  Five of the six have already confirmed their interest and I have set up meetings this week with each of them to further discuss the plan of the Steering Committee.  I can’t tell you how encouraged I am to have these particular men walk alongside me in making Grace Rivers a reality.

A man named Todd Posey contacted me about six weeks ago to see if I could help him develop a ministry within his church that would set a place for more authentic and honest relationships.  Todd and his wife, Ann went through the Radical Living program at Love In Action about five years ago and really wanted something like this for their church.  This initial phone call has ended up in hours of meetings and phone calls with Todd.  Todd has become my right hand man, helping me greatly to develop Grace Rivers. He has experience in marketing, business, budgeting, and inter church relationships.  He definitely brings to this project the experience and personality that merges with mine to help fill in the gaps.

On Saturday, Todd, Scotty Bollinger (Word Creative, my web designer) and I had a five hour brainstorming session to talk about what Grace Rivers really is designed to do.  Out of this time together we developed a rough draft of a mission statement.
Grace Rivers is a worldwide ministry actively stirring the body of Christ towards healthier relationships and spiritual growth by helping people become more honest and real with themselves, others and God using biblical principles, resulting in a more passionate response to fulfilling The Great Commission.

Grace Rivers is a model of communication, tools for healthy relationships, and teaching materials to support its model.  I can see it working in virtually any church to help implement the mission statement we drafted.  It can be implemented into small groups, topical groups, home groups, Bible studies and also includes a recovery model for the needs of those who are stuck in destructive life patterns.

The wonderful thing about Grace Rivers is that it is not designed for recovery, rather for practical Christian growth and discipleship. This allows for less of a stigma for those wanting to join a Grace Rivers group with all of the benefits and depth of honesty of many recovery groups.  The exciting thing about this is that many more people might find significant Christian growth through Grace Rivers.

The other component of Grace Rivers is the outcome of dramatically increased spread of the gospel. I hear from the world that the Church is full of hypocrites and dishonesty.  Well – Grace Rivers addresses these concerns by helping us take our masks off and get more real.  The byproduct of this is more effective relating with others outside the church.

Please pray for:
• My meetings with the Steering Committee members this week
• Meetings with staff members of Central Church here in Memphis this week
• Further development of the foundation elements of Grace Rivers – I want to do this RIGHT!


Grace Rivers Development – August 25, 2008

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Grace Rivers Development

Like any other ministry work, it takes resources to build Grace Rivers.  I have been consulting with several wonderful advisors who have helped me to see that first of all, Grace Rivers has a tremendous potential.  They have also helped me to see the need to plan for that potential with smaller steps of development and action
In our discussions they  have shown me that to build it right, Grace Rivers will likely need a financial underwriting  for it to grow.  This overwhelmed me and challenged me at the same time.  I never looked to develop another fund raising endeavor, trust me!  When I left Love In Action, I just wanted to minister to people.
But in this last four months, God has made it clear that life just isn’t that simple but most of all, he has shown me that finances are one way He invests His people in His process! This was a great reminder of all that I have learned through the years.

I had one opportunity to talk with someone recently about Grace Rivers because I was seeking advice on financial matters.  It proved to be a great opportunity to share what the Lord was doing in His kingdom. The spiritual economy of finance has some significance to the process and I have made myself willing to follow the Lord with this in mind
Pray for inspiration as I develop more of the financial plan of action necessary to lay the foundation for Grace Rivers.

Grace Rivers Structure

As I seek the Lord for how to structure Grace Rivers it is apparent to me and others that I will need to develop a 501C3 non-profit corporation to lay the foundation of Grace Rivers.

Pray for:

  • Wisdom in the initial  applications, bylaws and board members
  • God’s selection of legal consultation to assist in this process
  • Clarity on how to define Grace Rivers at this pivotal juncture of development