Saturday, March 26, 2011

Elders' Update

Church Family:

One of our desires is to keep everyone in the loop as to what is unfolding at Bethel. One of the ways this happens is through writing regular updates about what the elders and other leadership teams are working on. This update will hopefully serve to help you stay informed and connected. As always, all feedback is welcome. Dialogue makes us all sharper!

  • City
We introduced the vision to the congregation on Sunday, February 6th: “Responding to the heart of God; transforming the heart of the city, the nation and the world.” It is essential that people know this vision and understand how what we are doing ties into the unfolding vision for Bethel Church.

The elders are engaged in the process of identifying key initiatives that will help us flesh out the vision regarding the city focus. We have met with Fred (Youth Director) and Jamie (Family Director) (March 22) to discuss what God is doing in their ministries and hearts regarding this vision. This process of discernment involves prayer and much dialogue with various leaders and attendees of Bethel. There is a lot we could do, but a few things we must do!

Not only are we looking at new initiatives to flesh out the city vision, but we are also examining what we are currently doing with respect to our city focus, which would need to be taken deeper. One example of this is our Bethel House Ministries. Sandy Sheahan and her team will be working on key issues related to expanding this significant ministry. The board is planning on meeting with Sandy and some of her team to discuss vision for the Bethel Houses in May.

Adam Davies and I are currently involved in assessing the role Bethel plays with the ministries located on the Queen’s campus. As a city church, students are part of our focus, and we are currently evaluating how we can more effectively support ministry to students.

Jamie Stinson will be running a drama camp this summer partly as an outreach for kids living downtown. We realize that one of the key ways we will impact the downtown core is serving the growing needs of families.
  • Nation
Fred and Amy have just returned from Detroit where they attended the DayStar conference in preparation for Constance Lake this summer. They took three other team members with them, and continue to do an excellent job in leading and developing this ministry.
  • World
We have raised the bar in attempting to integrate the Bethel Bear Your Brothers’ Burden Banquet into the bigger picture. We have tried to build around BBY by naming March 20-27 International Missions Week. On Sunday March 20th, various people shared regarding missions, youth participated in a 30-hour fast starting on March 25th, raising money for our world focus – Onzole, Ecuador. The week culminated in the banquet on March 26th and the speaker from BBY spoke on Sunday March 27th.

We are looking to do our very own missions trip next May (2012) to Honduras with the Vissers’ ministry. Nothing confirmed yet. We’re just talking and thinking.

REGARDING OUR VALUES... Team, Excellence, Authenticity, Relevance and Solidarity.
Let me update you on two of the values.
  • Team
On Sunday April 3rd we will be having a service entitled Ovation. The purpose of this service is to say thank you to all the volunteers who contribute to the church gathered. Ministry matters, and people need to realize that their efforts are appreciated and tie into a bigger strategy. We will also be talking about the fall and various ministry needs and slots that need filling.

The staff team continue to meet weekly with breakfast together about every 6-8 weeks. We did a day-long retreat back in January and have another one scheduled for May. We have finished reading Emotionally Healthy Spirituality. We are going to start reading One.Life by Scot McKnight, a book which focuses in on living out the Kingdom.

We are always looking for people to join our small group leadership team. We wish to birth more groups to accommodate the demand and growth of this ministry.
  • Excellence
The staff team has also had an initial branding discussion regarding the vision. “Branding” refers to how we promote the vision through media – the bulletin, banners, the website, signage etc. We are not yet particularly excellent in this area.

  • Growing in Intimacy with God
Our primary focus on Sunday mornings (sanctuary) is GG. I will be continuing to teach through Galatians, and we continue to develop our prayer ministry “No Talk Zone”.

Our teaching team continues to develop. Carmen (we all know Carmen) and Meredith Mackenzie are a great help in discussing texts and occasionally assisting in the teaching ministry. As well, Eric Prost and Fred Grendel will be teaching in the month of May.

The Touching Base articles continue to be popular. Some small groups use this tool to launch their discussion around the sermon topic. Others use it as a personal means of reviewing the message.

With respect to a third service, we continue to be faced with the need to create more space. We have not set in motion any plans as of yet for the overflow, although Fred has been a big help in getting us set up. To move ahead some new cameras etc. will need to be purchased. This will require further discussion by the elders as we look at budget issues with the deacons.
  • Growing in intimacy with others
We continue to see a growing interest in small groups. Somewhere between 130 and 150 adults attend small groups. Youth and children have their own small groups. College and University students tend to participate in campus groups. However, there seems to be a growing interest in students participating in Bethel-run groups.

We will be partnering in June with Café Church to run a one-month training course for anyone interested in leading a group at Bethel this fall. Current leaders will be encouraged to attend just to brush up on their facilitation skills. David Skillicorn and I provide leadership in our small group ministry. There is much more we could be doing in our small group ministry. We could establish niche groups for the community that address - parenting, marriage, addictions, finance, etc. We also could do a much better job at leadership development. Future staff hiring would possibly include oversight of community groups.

Bill Duffy continues to do his ministry of visitation enthusiastically. I meet with Bill about every 6-8 weeks to review who he has seen and whether he has any concerns regarding what he is hearing. He continues to relieve me of some of the pastoral work such as taking funerals, visiting shut-ins, hospital visits and touching base with newcomers. He has agreed to stay on for another year. As long as he is healthy he desires to keep at it.

We had a great Newcomers’ lunch back on Feb 27th. We used the Upper Room and had about 10 new families/singles present. Also, the staff and some spouses were present, along with Steve and Donna Dickey, and David and June Skillicorn. This continues to prove to be a great way of integrating new people into Bethel.
  • Growing in Acts of Service
The board has met with Kent and Karen Bandy from Ellel Ministries for discussions regarding their work. Rhonda Kotchapaw has agreed to head up a Prayer Counselling Team that will use Ellel in some of the training of our workers. People serve best on teams when they minister out of a healthy core, and it is our desire to see God bring emotional and spiritual health to the Body.

We will be resurrecting our Ministry Coordination Team. This had been put on hold, but we are once again ready to move ahead with this all-important ministry. MCT brings key leaders together on a quarterly basis for communication, alignment with the vision, prayer and training. It is a key team that helps us implement the vision.

I hope all this ink helps in filling out the picture of what is going on at Bethel. Feel free to contact me to talk.

On behalf of the Elders,

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