For over eight months the Master Planning Team has prayed and surveyed and studied and thought and discussed the future of Bethlehem. The result of that effort is a major document which has now been approved by the Council of Elders. It contains our Mission, Spiritual Dynamic, Values, Reaffirmed Vision, and Fresh Initiatives. I believe this document has God’s fingerprints all over it. It has the aroma of his Spirit. It is a deep and rich and fresh word about who we are and where we are going. Everyone who attends Bethlehem will be vitally interested in what it says.
The Master Planning Document will be given to everyone on Sunday Morning, September 24. We will walk through it in the Sunday morning service and we will worship the God it was written to honor. Beginning that day, and throughout the Fall, I will preach on the biblical foundations and applications of this Vision for Bethlehem.
In addition to the preaching series, the Master Planning Team and Elders will appoint during the year several occasions when the congregation can interact with us concerning the document. Our aim is to have as much understanding as possible. Our prayer is that the joy we feel over this vision will spread to all our people.
Alongside the effort this Fall to share the vision with the congregation, there are some 19 sub-planning groups that will be working on fleshing out the vision in more particular plans in various areas of ministry. The elders will sort through these planning proposals toward the end of the year. In the new year we will be in a position to present a more concrete ministry and mission plan built on the Vision document. This will take us up to March 17 when we will have a climactic call for church-wide commitment to make the dreams reality under the gracious enabling of God.
These are exciting and crucial days of self-definition for Bethlehem. Several of the sub-planning groups are dealing with pressing issues. For example, Tim Tomlinson is chairing the Music and Worship Planning Group. The elders will announce shortly who the members of this group are. Their responsibility will be to propose to the elders a plan for music and worship at Bethlehem. Then their task will be to seek a new “lead worshipper” (Minister for Music and Worship) who can implement the plan. You will be kept posted along the way. Your constructive input will be valued.
We will make known all the sub-planning groups in a few weeks and give you names and phone numbers so that you can share your ideas on the various areas of ministry.
For now, please continue to pray for this whole process of Master Planning. It is going far better than I anticipated. This, I believe is owing to the work of the Holy Spirit in the Master Planning Team in accord with thousands of earnest prayers.
I am excited to navigate with you into that bright and unknown place called the future at Bethlehem.