Three years ago this week Project ’84 was launched. It is now finished. Result: a new roof, handicap-access restrooms, a new parking lot, a moved house, a purchased house, and tens of thousands of dollars for BGC missions. It has been a worthy project. And it is ending at the beginning of an era—The Pre-’90 Era. I urge you now to channel your Project ’84 commitment into the multi-faceted growth of BBC in the Pre-’90 Era.
Right now Steve Roy is spearheading the “20:20 Vision,” a network of home cell groups with trained and accountable leaders. These groups will begin meeting in September every other week in homes and work places. They will each stress worship toward God, nurture toward each other and outreach toward the world. Leaders with teaching gifts and a sense of call are being sought right now. Training will happen in either of two summer series with Steve (June 14 - July 19 or July 26 - August 30). Call Steve if you have questions. I am convinced that the growth and health of BBC in the Pre-’90 Era will be owing largely to the bridge created by loving, outreaching home cell groups.
As I write this I have before me a document from Hammel Green and Abrahamson, Architects and Engineers, entitled “Bethlehem Baptist Church—Phase One: Building Evaluation, May, 1984.” By the time you read this the Site Development Committee will have met with the architects to discuss the condition and possibilities of the present structure. In short, 100+ years of use has taken its toll. The Pre-’90 Era will be an era of change in our strategic downtown base of operations.
Last weekend “Operation: Ten Talents” gave us a taste of new-era creativity in funding the war-effort. Over $10,000 was raised for new ventures in missions by the partnership of hundreds of people working and giving. There are more ideas where that one came from. The Pre-’90 Era will be an era of creative fund raising.
A task force of the Deacon Council, on recommendation from the Trustees and the staff, is investigating the creation of a corporation which would be controlled by BBC and would lease and operate a large frat house on the campus of the U of M. The idea would be to house some Toshavim (students in Bethlehem's college ministry) with mostly international students. The aim would be to provide an on-campus Christian world missions think tank or nerve center to train students for world evangelization, especially internationals returning to their own lands. The Pre-’90 Era will be an era of bold new ventures in mission strategy.
This week Char Ransom accepted our call to be full-time Minister for Children starting this August. The Pre-’90 Era will see BBC become an extraordinarily attractive place for young families who want their children to have the best Bible training and music enrichment and worship experience.
The low and steady stream of our people moving into the city has continued over the past four years. There is an active Urban Task Force. Our people play an important role in NCAT (Neighborhood Churches Acting Together). All of our ministerial staff live within walking distance of the church. The Pre-’90 Era will be an era of ongoing urban concerns and expanding urban ministries.
I believe that with the coming of Steve Roy and Char Ransom and the change of Tom Steller’s job description, and the intensity of Dean Palermo’s music and worship ministry, and the explosion of missions action, 1984 marks the close of a decade. Therefore I am seeing the six remaining years of this decade as a unique era filled with exciting new potential. Pray that God will give us big vision for a big world.
Entering the Era with you,