Grace and Peace, House of Mercy!
By the time you see this, our Church Planning Council will have concluded a seven-hour visioning retreat. Our intention was to step back from the ground-level concerns of church operations and take in a wider perspective. To gain altitude as we ask questions like, “Why does God have Bethesda Lutheran Church in this time and place?” “Does God have a vision for our congregation?” “What is the essential mission of this church body?” “What are Bethesda’s primary values?” “How do we develop strategies for strengthening and extending our ministries?” “What are our internal strengths and growth areas?” “What are some external challenges and opportunities?” “What would it require for Bethesda to buck denominational trends of decline and loss of capacity?”
Our focus in October will be in calling all crew – members and active non-members – to circle up in groups. Let’s get everything out on the “charting table” – hopes, dreams, prayers, troubles, ideas, fears. Let’s ask the Lord and one another – “Why does God have us here?”
The apostle Paul offers a powerful picture of the church as a body working in unison. We should heed these words as we consider our own partnership on the crew of God’s re-commissioned ship, Bethesda Lutheran Church.
“The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ. We must no longer be children, tossed to and fro and blown about by every wind of doctrine, by people’s trickery, by their craftiness in deceitful scheming. But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” ~Ephesians 4:11-16
Your pastor and Church Planning Council are eager to hear from our fellow crew members in October. As we “grow up in every way into Christ,” as we attend to “each part working properly,” I believe we will be amazed at how the Holy Spirit among us “promotes the body’s growth in building itself up in love.” Crew Meetings launch from the Parish Hall after worship on October 8. 🙏