NOTE: This is one of TWO Touching Base postings this week. Don't forget to also read TB 293, Should Christians Embrace Evolution, by Tim Barnett, Sunday's guest speaker.
A Bethel Update
24 January 2016
You can never over communicate! In this culture of constant information, often what you want people to hear gets drowned out by the loudest, most persistent message. So here are some important “sound bites” for you that hopefully won’t get lost in the parade of sound bites in your life.
1. Bethel was once again very generous with a number our city, nation and world initiatives in the last few months of the year:
• We were able to deliver 28 hampers to families in the city of Kingston. This is part of our ongoing working relationship with the Salvation Army.
• We have given $49,356 to upgrade our Bethel Houses. These homes provide transitional housing for up to ten men who are working through addictions. These men are graduates of the Harbour Light program with the Salvation Army.
• Over 200 students, 50 staff and 15 seniors received gifts and words and acts of encouragement that our Constance Lake team provided when they went up to this community during the week of Dec 5-12th. This is part of our national focus with the first nations people, led by Fred and Amy Grendel
• A total of $1,500 in Honduran pottery was sold at Bethel and at one of our local schools. This money will go towards some of the projects our team will be working on as they go to Honduras the week of March 12-19th. Here are the names of the people on this team. From Bethel, Ken, Sue, and Theo V., Nicole W., Carolyn DeG., Emily B., Brendan L., Ryan McI., Shari and Abby R. In addition there are 8 others joining this team who are not from Bethel - Carl T., Stephen R., Diana R., William R., Adam R., Elizabeth P., Tim P., and Namoi P.
2. Our city, nation and world continue to be our focus as we seek to own our piece and give generously and build relationships strategically. So as we move into the New Year, here are some things for you to be aware of and praying for:
• Elders - The Elders’ Board is engaging in a collaborative, cross-generational process of fleshing out a 3-5 year vision. Many of you will remember that we have our Vision Pathway, and participated in a spiritual life survey in November 2013. With this 3-5 year visioning exercise we are drilling down deeper and attempting to get more specific with some of the issues with which we are trying to get traction. We are not shifting our focus or redefining our vision but sharpening it, clarifying it and prayerfully tweaking it as we move ahead. We are highly committed to becoming a more fully disciple-making community. This is the focus and passion of the board. While bucks, bodies and buildings are important, the most important issue to your board is that people come to Christ, grow in Christ and serve in the name of Christ. We anticipate this process of vision casting to take about 3-4 months.
• Prayer - “Unleashed: Experiencing the Power of God through Prayer Together” will be starting February 14th. This is our yearly prayer focus that is a call to the church to gather and pray each Sunday afternoon in the Upper Room from 4-5pm. We ask that you make this a priority. I believe that in the eyes of God, this will be the most important thing we do corporately all year. There is much in our world that only will change by the power of God. Let’s admit it, we are in over our heads... we need to pray!
• Overflow - Some of you will be glad to know that we are getting new platform lights and looking at the possibility of a camera so that we can provide not only sound but video to the people in our overflow room (library). There are several Sundays throughout the year where we need a few more seats for the first service. The elders and deacons are also looking into long-term solutions.
• Staff - Several of the staff have just walked through or are walking through a thorough evaluation process. This happens once a year for most staff, along with a second, less formal, process halfway through the year. Out of these evaluations we work with each other to form action plans that help develop leadership and address the issues of needed growth identified in the evaluation.
• Finances - We are grateful for the generosity of our people as we move forward with our vision. You will note the deficit in our general fund, which has been drained a little by giving to the Bethel House project. Please pray for provision as we enter the last quarter of the year.
3. We have a number of key organizations that we work with. These organizations help extend the reach of the local church, and in the next few weeks you will be hearing from several of them:
• The Kingston Pregnancy Care Center, whose banquet is February 22nd.
• Nightlight, who will be holding their Coldest Night of the Year on February 20th at Bethel.
• Camp IAWAH, who will be doing a ministry feature on Sunday, February 28th.
• As was mentioned above, eleven of our folks are heading out to Honduras in March.
• IJM (International Justice Mission), who were here on January 17th, is an organization with who we are seeking to formalize a more defined relationship.
So in this New Year, we are seeking to continue to strengthen our relationships with all the key organizations that extend our reach and are in line with our vision.
4. House on Fire (starting Sunday, January 31st) - This series is based on the 7 churches of Revelation, and will address the heart of the local church, and the need to be together and minister together in a way that honours Jesus. Instead of a church that burns down because of indifference, doctrinal heresy, egos and irrelevance, we desire to be a church that is on fire with passion for Christ, a church that responds fully to God’s heart and touches the spaces and places God has called us to be.
We continue to value the great input you provide as we move forward. Please continue to speak up, to be prayerfully engaged and to protect the health of Bethel by walking out a godly lifestyle.
Mark Kotchapaw, Senior Pastor