The Elders and the Financial and Property Administrators have spent several meetings recently praying and discussing how to discern God’s will concerning pressing questions that we face as a church. For example:
- Whom are we trying to help meet God in worship, and what forms of worship and music will help us do this?
- What staffing configuration will help us best fulfill our biblical purposes? This includes the questions: Should there be an executive minister? Should there be a full or part time music minister? etc.
- What, if any, site development will be necessary in this decade in order to accomplish our biblical purposes? For example, how will we minister to the very large bulge of young children on their way to being teenagers; and will we have sufficient parking to grow to the levels anticipated in "2000 by 2000" etc.?
- How quickly can we pay off our present mortgage ($1.4 million), and what fund raising process would best reflect our biblical values? What, if any, new fund raising will be necessary?
To answer these questions the elders (with the support of the FPAs) have decided upon several initiatives:
- We will enter on an intensive period (perhaps 12 months) of Master Planning with a view not only to answering these and other significant questions, but also with a view to assessing and restating our God-given mission as a church and how we believe God is calling us to carry it forward in his strength.
- We will engage Doug Anderson and Nehemiah Ministries to assist us in this effort. Doug’s ministry has helped us repeatedly in the past, and after three extended conversations with him recently we are excited about his commitment to see Bethlehem thrive in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- We will call Russ Gregg to relinquish his duties as district elder for 12 months and instead to become Coordinator for Master Planning. We will ask the church to approve this action at the July quarterly strategy meeting since the extraordinary nature of the position seems to warrant a small stipend (which can be covered within the present budget).
- We will assemble a Commission of Master Planning of perhaps 20 members of Bethlehem whom God is preparing for an extraordinary investment of time and creative energy from September, 1994 through May, 1995. This group will give itself to prayer and study and listening and reflection in order to assist the elders in making recommendations to the church.
- We will establish various listening posts and other means of information gathering from the members of the church so that our grasp of God’s guidance will benefit from the gifts and insight and wisdom of the wider body.
You will have opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions about this process at the July 20 meeting or sooner with any elder. Please pray earnestly that the entire process will be God-centered, Spirit-carried and Bible-saturated.
With great hope,