“SPAN the Nineties I” aims to put in place a structure that will serve as a base of operations for “Spreading Praise to All Nations” from Bethlehem for the last decade of this century. If the Lord wills, we will begin construction of a new sanctuary (with a capacity of about 1350) next April and be in it by Easter of 1991. It will include new and adequate nursery facilities as well as some classrooms.
“SPAN the Nineties II” aims to put in place another kind of structure that is even more necessary if we are to be a base of operations for “Spreading Praise to All Nations (and all Neighborhoods).” You could call it “infra-structure”. Or you could call it “organizational structure”. Or you could call it “people and program structure”. Or “corporate design”. Or you could call it…
“New Paths for God’s Power among the People of Bethlehem”
Biblically you could say that the staff have been at work drafting a new blueprint for how the “living stones can be built into a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5). In other words, two things are happening simultaneously: the building committee is working on the design of our physical building, and the staff is working on the design of our spiritual building.
Or, changing the metaphor again, “SPAN the Nineties II” is an extensive redesign of the equipping process at Bethlehem—an effort on the part of the staff to give fresh attention and obedience to our charge: “Equip the saints to do the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12).
We believe God is preparing Bethlehem for the most fruitful decade of ministry the church has ever known. We believe that the Holy Spirit is moving in unprecedented ways around the world to bring history to its appointed consummation of world evangelization and the return of our Lord Jesus. The completion of the Great Commission is within the grasp of a decade of faithful obedience.
The people that God will use to complete his purposes for the world will be bred and fed in Bible-based, Christ-exalting, God-centered, Spirit-powered, lost-seeking, soul-saving, person-healing, marriage-building, children-loving, wartime-living, justice-seeking, self-denying, risk-taking, joy-finding churches. Dangerous missionaries and radically Christian businessmen and women do not grow on trees. They are bred and fed in the church of Jesus Christ.
“SPAN the Nineties II” is an attempt to keep Bethlehem from being a Christian army surplus warehouse. It is an attempt to make us more and more into a base of operations and a deployment center where every member is an active recruit and on assignment.
“SPAN the Nineties II” will be presented to the Council of Deacons and to the Boards of Missions, Christian Education and Trustees on Tuesday June 6. If you are part of one of these boards please count this meeting as high priority. We will start with supper together at 6:00 PM and the meeting will last until about 10 PM. All the pastoral staff will be there. Our goal is to share our vision for staffing, programming, governance, services, pastoral care, and more. It will be the most sweeping series of recommendations the church has ever been asked to consider.
If you are not on one of these boards please pray that God will give us one mind—his mind—as we consider the final decade of the century of God’s power.