Sunday, January 15, 2012

Touching Base! Part 153


(This article can also we found on our website
at under the tab called "Blog")

This Touching Base is a useful tool for small group discussion, personal reflection or in a one-on-one conversation. We believe that if the Sunday teaching is discussed outside of the morning services, it will be an opportunity to go deeper and build healthy community because God's Word needs to be discussed in community.

Church Family:
I want to communicate with you about some things going on at Bethel as we move into the New Year. We deeply value people knowing what’s going on so they can pray about what’s going on, and have a say in what’s going on. Functioning in silos (no communication or coordination) can be costly to any team. It’s important that all the individual parts stay informed and engaged with what is happening.

First, in looking back for a second, I want to say thanks to the many who were responsible for the huge outpouring of generosity during the month of December. From food hampers (35) to shoe boxes (235), to the selling of poinsettias (fund raiser for Kingston Pregnancy Care Center), to generous and sacrificial giving to our General and Build funds and the generous Benevolent gift given to Martha’s table – THANKS! We then saw over $1000.00 come in on January 8th through the benevolent for the rent bank at the Salvation Army. Living biblically-measured lives (one of our marks of a disciple) means being good stewards with all that God has given us. Thanks for making it happen at Bethel.

Secondly, we are very excited about many of the things that are in the works for 2012. Our plans are not solely devised from the top down but from the body of Christ giving input and taking responsibility to lead, minister and make a difference. Some of the things we are looking forward to are:

A. Sending 24 people overseas in February and March to Honduras, our international focus this year. Short-term missions trips are a proven way to help people develop a global perspective of what God is doing, and a passion for missions.

B. Continued collaboration with the elders, staff, deacons, and membership/congregation of Bethel as we continue to flesh out the vision and identify key action steps over the next 3- 5 years.

C. Our new partnership with Ellel that kicks off next weekend (January 20-21). At this point there are over 40 registered for the training that will cover a 12-month span, one weekend per month. As we seek to be more prayerfully engaged, this training will help several of our people be equipped in this area. This is a city-wide event drawing people from a number of different churches.

D. Our Prayer Summit is on January 29th this year. We are excited to take this event off-site to the Salvation Army Community and Family Services location at 342 Patrick St. We believe that it is very important to bathe what we do in prayer. This will be an opportunity for the body to come together, be informed about some of our partnerships and pray about where God is leading. Stay informed, and plan to attend. Details are in the bulletin.

E. We are excited about assimilating new families and individuals into the ministry of Bethel. I get personally excited when talking to new people who say that one of the main drivers for coming to Bethel was the vision (responding to the heart of God, transforming the heart of the city, nation and world). We look forward to who God will raise up to help the church be powerful not just in its gathered times but, equally importantly, in its scattered expressions, 24/7! Team is one of our values and it is becoming increasingly one of our strengths.
A few more things to think about:

First, let us continue to be willing to walk with people in whatever place they may be. Some are at the peaks, looking out with renewed strength and experiencing days of great hope and enthusiasm. Others are in the valley, barely able to lift their head, wondering where God is, wondering if anyone cares. Welcome to the body of Christ! We are all in different seasons, we all have different issues, and we all are in need of God’s transforming work in our lives. Let us continue to be a body that cares, making God and people the centerpiece, not programs, and being a conduit for the power of God to touch hearts deeply.

Finally, I am grateful for the many leaders I get to work with who represent so many great teams at Bethel. This past week I had a great meeting with our Design Team, leaders who regularly meet to evaluate services and discuss ways to make our musical worship increasingly God-centered and life-changing. We also process any input we receive from the church about music-related issues. This is a great team of men and women who care about what happens on Sunday mornings. Later this past week I had a meeting with a group of folks who are helping us develop our leadership culture at Bethel. Again, I am so grateful for people who say the local church matters and who are willing to give their best energies and thoughts to what happens. I’ve also met with members of our teaching team to go over up-and-coming messages. We can gain valuable insights when we submit our teaching plans to gifted teachers, men and women in the church. On Wednesday our staff had a full-day retreat. We do this twice a year. The first half of our meeting was focused on long-term planning - we looked at the next 12 months and laid out events and tried to evaluate what is working and not working and how our vision informs us on what can be improved or even deleted. The second half of our day saw us engage in a team-building event. We were led by an outside consultant who helped us work through the Myers Briggs personality assessment tool. This is a great tool for understanding team members and dynamics.

So thanks for all you are doing! Realize that we are a church called by God to do something on this corner, 314 Johnson Street, not for our own glory, but for the glory of God.

“God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine
or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but
by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
Glory to God in the church! Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!
Glory down all the generations! Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!”
Ephesians 3:20-21 (The Message)
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