A CHRISTMAS GIFT FOR BETHEL!
Christmas came early for our church, this year. We received a gift from God in the form of a second pastor.
Last Sunday, we voted overwhelming to issue Cris Harper a call. Cris could have taken three weeks to respond; instead, he and Christy decided not to make us wait. They feel certain God is calling them to Bethel. So soon, Cris, Christy, Ruth, and Gabe will be headed our way to become part of the Bethel Church family.
I asked Cris when he knew God was confirming his call to Bethel. He told me that he and Christy had been sensing God’s leading to come here for some time. However, it was on the Monday evening of their visit during their meeting with our church’s Council, that they felt certain of it. Cris explained that, up to that point in their visit, they had met many Bethelites and they were feeling a strong connection with our congregation. When they experienced that same connection with our church’s leaders, their hearts were at peace. They would come to Bethel if they were called.
Janet and I hosted Cris and Christy during their stay here. We experienced firsthand what sincere, authentic, Christ-loving people they are. Cris is passionate for Young Adults, he has a vision for building community within the church through small groups and hospitality, and he is not afraid to take on big challenges. Christy is very talented, as well. Together they make a dynamic team. Personally, I could not more thrilled with our choice of a second pastor.
During these last 18 months of searching for a new pastor, we have experienced some disappointments. At times the waiting seemed interminable. We interviewed several candidates without success, and we even called one candidate who declined. However, I now believe I see why God asked us to wait patiently. Our church has grown through the search process, and I believe we are getting the pastor (and pastor-couple) who best fits Bethel. It was worth the wait.
We don’t know when, exactly, the Harpers will make the move to Edmonton; however, Cris said they definitely want to be here before midMarch. Our area Christian Reformed Churches will meet for their Spring Classis meeting on March 13-14, and Cris wants to be here in time to be examined for ordination.
Keep the Harpers in your prayers as they prepare to pull up stakes and move to Edmonton. If you want to introduce yourself to Cris or write a note of encouragement, Cris’s email is: firstname.lastname@example.org. —Pastor Tom
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