Paul talks about building the family of God—part of our mission statement here at Bethlehem—in Ephesians 2:22: In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. God is both the builder and the foundation—as Paul writes, “in Him,” meaning Christ. A few years ago, we hosted Dr. Brandt from Concordia University to lead us in some planning and he reminded us to see “what God is blessing” and continue to do that. So, as we reach the mid-point of 2019, what can we see?
This month, we welcomed more than 170 children into our midst for the “Roar!” Vacation Bible School. One of our goals in building the family of God here is to welcome people from our community into our building. God seems to have blessed that goal with these children and the volunteers who served them. Our Evangelism Team will be following up with those families to see if we can further connect with them. Next month, we will be hosting up to three families transitioning from homelessness into our building through the Family Promise project. We are still looking for hosts, if God is nudging you that way.
God is both the builder and the foundation
Another goal we identified is to “rebuild and strengthen” our network of small groups and Bible studies. To that end, this past month two groups of members met. One group met to explore the strengthening of our small group network by training new leaders and creating new and strengthening our existing small groups. These LIFE+CONNECT leaders will be trained this summer and our small group network highlighted this coming Rally Day on September 8. Another group met to talk about forming an “Empathy Team” that would care for our members in three areas. I’m looking for someone to coordinate meals for members experiencing need or loss. We have several people interested in being trained to be “listeners” to folks who
are looking to have someone come along side with them as their journey gets difficult. We have a few people who want to visit our members who are homebound or hospitalized. If any of this sounds like something in which you’d like to participate, let me know.
At the June voters meeting, we decided to begin a Capital Campaign this Fall to reduce our debt. We will be working with an organization/friend with whom I worked in Colorado on a similar project. We would like to “free up” money currently paid to service our mortgage for other ministries that would help us meet our goals and “build the family of God through relationship with Jesus Christ.” You will be hearing more in the near future about this effort.
Our God has also been blessing our Preschool—pray for more children and families to be touched by this ministry—and our efforts to send our members out into our community. I wanted you to be informed about these items as June ends. Please continue to keep all of our efforts in your prayers, seeking our Lord’s continued guidance and blessing.
Joy in the journey,
Pastor Jeff Shearier