(This article can also we found on our website at
http://www.bethelkingston.com under the tab called “Blog”)
When I think of “odds and ends” I think of my tool kit that has an odd assortment of stuff in it as well as some tools. I think of my mom’s sewing room in the house in which I grew up. You could be guaranteed that there were odds and ends of fabric lying around that were the cast-offs of the latest sewing project. I think of that famous drawer in most homes that when you open it up you have difficulty shutting it again... clutter, clutter clutter. It is where you place stuff that doesn’t have a zip code but is valuable, at least to you! Every house has such a drawer or room.
Well this Touching Base is about Odds and Ends. No real order or theme but just stuff that is important and good for you to know.
• We had a great elders retreat last weekend (Feb 6th). This was our second half-day retreat in the last 5 weeks. We are working hard on identifying what our vision is as a church, and we are now in a position to take this dialogue to the church. We want everyone who desires it, to be in on the conversation. All are valuable contributors. We are prayerfully anticipating having a clear sense of vision by June. The following are some ways we define vision.
- What is our greatest opportunity to have an impact on the kingdom?
- It is our organizational sweet spot.
- It is our picture of a preferred future.
- Our purpose (Loving God passionately and Serving Others Significantly) is what we do, vision is where we are going.
• We are going to have a combined Newcomers and Membership potluck luncheon on March 7th after the second service. We have a lot of new people in the church and we find that eating together is a great way to help people connect. People who are interested in checking out membership are also invited to this luncheon. We will have a special focus for them as well seeing that their questions are sometimes different.
• We had a lot of positive feedback on our Congregational Meeting (Celebration of Ministry) in January. We ate together then spent the remaining time praying for the ministries of Bethel and the city. Many of our elders helped lead in this focused time of prayer.
• God has blessed Bethel in many ways: we have much unity, we are growing, financially we ended 2009 on a strong note, we have great teams ministering, people are seeking to make an impact in the city etc. BUT, we are not seeing the numbers we desire in the area of people coming to faith in Christ. This is an area of prayer and concern.
• Our Youth Ministry and Family Ministries are strong and increasingly thinking strategically. The youth just had a great retreat at IAWAH called “Toque” and our Family Ministry is testing the waters to see if doing a March break camp for kids is viable.
• We continue to value our partnership with IAWAH. We believe that this camping ministry is key in helping make disciples. Fred, our Youth Director works for IAWAH about 10 weeks per year. I have recently joined the board.
• We are currently beginning our search for Bethel’s new secretary. Tara (Queen’s student) has been filling the position for the last 2 years. She is graduating and moving this summer so if being Bethel’s secretary is something that would interest you, please watch upcoming bulletins for details on how to apply.
• We continue to see people entering into deeper community by joining small groups at Bethel. We now have 12 small groups running with plans of starting others in the near future. We are delighted to be in partnership with Queen’s, and Cafe church in running Alpha.
• We are talking about doing a third service. We are toying with the idea of experimenting with a ”videocast” into the new gym this fall. What this means is that at our 9 am service we would provide a live feed into the new gym for people to participate in the service as they watch it on the big screen. This would give us 200 more seats. On most Sundays we are at least 80% full in both services. To any newcomer to Bethel, the sight of the sanctuary being that full can translate as “There is no room here for me.” This is an opportunity we need to address.
• Our intern Joanna Moon has done a terrific job this year. We are currently looking for another intern for this Fall.
• We continue to develop the idea of “team teaching”. While I speak the majority of the time, Bethel is blessed to hear from different voices. I would get sick of me if it was me all the time! In the month of January during our Hot Topics we heard from Scott Forbes with International Justice Mission, Warren Reeve regarding depression and my wife taught with me as we addressed forgiveness. This March 7th former interim pastor Lew Worrad will be speaking. Some renamed the Old Testament the “Lew Testament” in his honour.
• In the last few weeks, we have resurrected the need to P.I.E. a face every Sunday. Pursue, Include, Engage. We are all responsible to make Bethel a place where people can connect. If we are a cold and unfriendly church, it’s because not enough of us are realizing it takes all of us, not just some of us, to help get the job done. We need everyone to help raise the relational temperature at Bethel.
• One of our values at Bethel is that the leadership is open to your suggestions, directions and reflections. Please engage the leadership with your questions and input. I have learned a lot and continue to learn a lot from the many of you who share what is on your heart. It is hard for leadership to see every issue.
• Our Adopt-a-Student ministry continues to run and we are hearing many good reports. It has been a concern that not all the families that have been hooked up with a student have connected. Fred who leads this ministry is working on those glitches.