Ed doesn’t like coffee, but that didn’t stop him from being a regular at Play It Again, Sam, a coffee shop in Chestertown, MD. He had a standing lunch date at the coffee shop with his then-pastor from the Church of the Nazarene. They ate their food and had animated conversations about theology. Their discussions often drew the attention of the customers and both Ed and the pastor had a chance to share the gospel with those whose curiosity was piqued.
Ed and the pastor disagreed on some issues of theology, but they were brothers in the Lord who loved and respected one another. For several years, Ed had been soaking up the doctrines of grace through his own study, but he could not find a suitable church in the area. One of his friends drove over an hour away to attend the closest one, but Ed decided to stay close to home at the Church of the Nazarene. Despite the theological differences, Ed was given opportunities to teach a Wednesday Bible study and on Sunday mornings, too. The people at the Bible study grew so much through the Lord and Ed’s teaching. One older woman who had been to church a long time said that she never understood the Bible until she started to hear Ed teach it. Ed attributes that to expository preaching, explaining what the text says as you go through it.
After a time, the friendly pastor from the Nazarene church was moved to a different church. A new pastor came to town who did not use the Bible very often in his teaching. Ed missed his coffee shop discussions with the previous pastor.
One day he took note that the coffee shop had an after-hours Bible study. Ed was curious and went in to ask the owner about the Bible study. The owner was busy and couldn’t answer at the moment. But James Reff, church planter at Grace Community Church (GCC) of Chestertown, MD, was lunching there that day, overheard Ed’s question, put his finger up, and said, “it was me who did the Bible study!”
From there Ed and James struck up a friendship and talked theology. Ed said it was mind-boggling and encouraging to his heart that what he longed to have in town was here: a church that holds to the doctrines of grace! At the same time, he felt strongly that the Lord wanted him to remain at the Nazarene church and teach even though he faced many spiritual battles.
In March of 2020, when Covid hit, the Nazarene church shut down with no gatherings or opportunity for communion. By Easter there still weren’t any plans to regather in the building. When Ed heard that, God gave him immediate peace and direction that it was time to attend GCC. Ed continues the Bible study with some members of the Nazarene church in one of the woman’s homes, but is otherwise fully a part of GCC.
Ed teaches with James on Sunday mornings during Sunday School and teaches the Wednesday night adult Bible study which frees James up to teach the Youth Group. There has been a recent influx of young people for the youth group many who are not believers.
Ed also participates in the Thursday morning prayer meeting which meets outside in the local park during warm weather. Their recent prayer is for the church plant to grow, not for numbers sake, but to grow in the Lord and to reach the people in Chestertown.
The Lord is answering those prayers. Church planter James Reff, assistant church planter Tracy Haines, and faithful member Ed Sadler are just some of the many people from GCC who purpose to be out in the community of Chestertown sharing the gospel, even in the town coffee shop.
Find out more about Grace Community Church, Bible Fellowship Church mission church in Chestertown, Maryland on their website.
You can also follow them on Facebook or read Church Planter James Reff’s latest prayer letter or Tracy Haines, Assistant Church Planter, latest prayer letter.