For the last eight months our church has been prayerfully seeking God’s vision for His church. We’ve met numerous times to pray, dream, think, hope and discern Bethel’s future. At our latest gathering on July 30th, we listened to and discussed three stories written to describe what the church might look like in 2035. Wow! Each story team did a magnificent job of creating three unique, compelling stories. Reagan Gilbert even created a video to compliment one of the stories and she did a tremendous job. While each story was different, what I found interesting and inspiring were the common threads that weaved through each of the stories. Those common threads help to reveal who we are at our core – Christ-centered, guided by the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, prayerful, loving, disciples who have a passion for serving others. I believe the Lord is revealing our Core Values to us through this vision process.
Our next step is to knit together the most “God inspired, Bethel like” parts of each of the three stories into one story. This “Future Story” will provide a vision of what the church might look like in the future. This story will be presented on Sunday, September 24th during our morning worship service. I hope you’ll mark your calendar and make a special effort to attend on this milestone Sunday. To give you a flavor of what you’ll hear, here is a snippet from our “Future Story.”
“The year is 2035 and its Easter Sunday. The atmosphere at Bethel is buzzing as families and friends stream through the doors, their smiles reflecting the love and friendship that defines our church. In a world where so many are living in darkness, Bethel Baptist Church continues to be a beacon of hope and love. The Easter celebration began with a Call to Worship, led by the ten-member, “Circle of Truth” praise team. Leon, the lead guitarist, invited the congregation to worship our risen Lord with a song of redemption. Redemption is a story Leon knows all too well. He has been a member of Bethel and the Circle of Truth for five years, but he found Bethel eight years ago while recovering from alcohol addiction. On January 15, 2027, Leon took the first step to change his life. He joined the thriving AA group in the People of Hope Center. He not only found the resources and support he needed, but more importantly, he found Jesus Christ and a fellowship of believers that truly loved and cared about Leon.”
This is a small excerpt of what you’ll hear on the 24th . Please notice a couple of things about the story. It’s Christ centered. The worship is Spirit filled. There is an evangelism and outreach component as Bethel ministered to Leon. Then there is a discipleship component as Leon grew in Christ at Bethel and he began to use his talent and gifts to glorify God. You’ll hear the full narrative on the 24th as we share the entire “Future Vision Story.”
I know this vision process has been a lengthy and sometimes arduous journey for our church, but we are seeing the fruits of our labor. I want to encourage us to continue to pray, dream and hope. Let’s continue to seek the Lord and ask for a continued revealing of His will. I believe God has alreadyrevealed so much about who we are as a people and reminded us of what He expects of His church. I believe God will continue to reveal more of His story leading up to the 24th. Mother Teresa once said, “I’m a little pencil in the hand of a writing God, who is sending a love letter to the world.” I believe God wants to write a beautiful love story through you and through His Church here at Bethel. Let’s gather on the 24th in hopeful anticipation for the next chapter of this story. Please join us for this milestone morning at Bethel. Until then, may God bless our vision process. May God bless you and may God bless Bethel Baptist Church. Amen.