Four Cheers for New Staff Positions at Bethlehem

Dear Bethlehem Family,

I write from North Carolina to give four very earnest cheers for four new staffing assignments, three of which depend on your vote at the July 29th Quarterly Strategy Meeting. The Council of Elders has voted unanimously and joyfully four times to affirm three men for ministry in the Family Discipleship Department and one in the Missions Department. Here are my specific cheers. And I mean them with all my heart. Never have I been more excited about more staffing additions and changes than these.

First Cheer

Brad Nelson has been a deeply loved partner in ministry almost as long as I have been here. He has served our youth for over twenty years. What an incredibly faithful and loving brother! I will sing his praises while I have breath. I looked him in the eye (and asked his wife on the phone): “Brad, be totally honest with me: Is this a life-giving and joyful move we are about to propose for you? Is this a dream job?” The answer from both of them was yes. You ask them. It matters a great deal to me that our staff—especially veterans like Brad—be in positions where they can flourish and meet crucial needs. So the elders are recommending that Brad be voted on to move from his current position as Pastor for Family Life to the new position of Pastor for Short-Term Ministry Mobilization. Erik Hyatt was the dream-starter behind this new position and is excited to have Brad in it. This recommended change has my total and joyful support. I expect the mission movement to explode. You will vote on this change July 29.

Second Cheer

Gil McConnell many of you know. He has finished the TBI Track Two sequence. For the last two years, Gil has been serving the North Campus community as Interim Director for Child & Youth Discipleship. The elders are recommending that he become the Pastor for Child & Youth Discipleship (serving the North Campus). This is a full-time and long-term calling. Gil would oversee the entire children and youth discipleship ministry at the North Campus. We have come to love Gil and stand in admiration of his maturity and wisdom over the last two years. There is no hesitation in any of us on staff or on the elders that God has brought this man to us for the sake of a growing and deepening ministry with parents to the children and youth of the North Campus. I love Gil and count it an honor to serve beside him. You will vote on this calling July 29.

Third Cheer

Kempton Turner will be coming this week as a candidate for Pastor for Young Adult (Senior High) Discipleship (focused on Downtown and South Campuses). You will have a chance to meet him in the service on the weekend of July 22. Look at the web site for other opportunities to interact. Kempton would be new to the staff. He has visited BBC for interviews several times, and David and Sally Michael flew to Houston to see him on his own turf. Tons of info about him is at the site. The emergence of Kempton Turner after years of searching is simply astonishing and wonderful. I thank God for it. There is so much theological harmony and, even more amazing, so much philosophical ministry harmony as we forge a fresh vision for how to disciple our children into radically Christian young adults. I believe with all my heart that God did this and that you will come to share this conviction as you get to know Kempton. May the Lord give us one mind as we vote on this candidate on July 29.

Fourth Cheer

Jon Nowlin is not being voted on, but I want you to know how excited I am about him. Jon has been serving with our youth on the North Campus in a part-time capacity, and the elders have voted unanimously to move him from this part-time role to a full-time Interim Director for Young Adult Discipleship. This is comparable to Gil McConnell’s current position and does not require congregational action. Jon is continuing his studies at Bethel Seminary in a slower way and ready to give himself to the young people of our North Campus. I admire Jon and rejoice at his willingness to partner with us in this way.

From my vantage point in North Carolina, God is at work mercifully and mightily at Bethlehem to position us for another decade of fruitful ministry discipling our youth and mobilizing missions. Few things give me more pleasure in ministry than the staff partnerships that we enjoy. I pray that as you pray and discuss and interact and vote on July 29, you will sense the same affirmation I feel for these staffing recommendations.

If you think of it, pray for us that these vacation days will be full of fresh wisdom and passion and strength for the coming year. I feel a great sense of anticipation.


Pastor John