WE’RE BUILDING A BRIDGE
This Sunday marks an historic moment. Almost exactly 40 years after Bethel’s pioneers founded this church, we are commissioning nine families to launch Bridge Church in Fort Saskatchewan. Prayer for these families, with laying on of hands, will take place at the end of the 9:00 a.m. service.
Already these Bridge families are involved in significant ministry in the Fort. They meet regularly in their house churches, they have established some essential teams—a Children’s Team, a Worship Team, and a First Impressions/Next Steps Team—and they are preparing to run three Alpha groups starting March 3, with many new and not-yet Christians already signed up.
Over the next several months, leading up to their public launch in September, we will get a taste of the Bridge’s emerging life. Praise bands made up of Bridge members will lead us in worship from time to time to bless us and to prepare themselves for their future. Those families departing for Bridge Church will continue to worship with us, but they will be more sporadic in their attendance as September approaches, and as they commit more and more time to their new ministry.
Your prayers are needed at this critical time in the new church’s life. The Bridge is a beachhead for mission, and the Evil One will resist this group at every point. Let’s pray for the future of this fledgling church even as we celebrate this milestone for both of our churches! --Pastor Tom
The Next Forty Years
We are celebrating our 40th anniversary as a church this weekend. Forty is a pretty significant number in the Bible, and I believe our 40th could signal something very significant for us.
Moses spend 40 years in exile before being called to lead the people of Israel.
The Israelites wandered for 40 years before they entered the Promised Land.
Jesus fasted for 40 days before starting His ministry
After His Resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with His disciples before ascending to heaven.
So, in the Bible, a period of 40 years, or days, often preceded a fresh, new moving of God. My prayer is that this will be Bethel’s story.
In the case of churches, good things don’t automatically follow after their 40- year mark. Many congregations tend toward a predictable growth path. Like people, they will go through the stages of infancy, adolescence, adulthood, and old age.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. God is always prepared to pour out His Spirit on those who are responsive to Him, and who are committed to obey what He says. If we go into the future with faith and forethought—trusting God and following His lead—there is no reason to believe Bethel won’t celebrate another 40 years of ministry and another after that.
God has given us a wonderful first 40 years as a church. I believe He is inviting us to join Him in a renewed journey of faith, with fresh surprises and blessing in store. –Pastor Tom
A SAD/HAPPY “GOODBYE”
Today we are saying “goodbye” to Pastor Ryan, Jessica, and children. After serving at Bethel Church for 11 years, Pastor Ryan is leaving to serve the emerging Bridge Church in Fort Saskatchewan.
This is such a sad/happy occasion for us as a church. On the one hand, this is an exciting time. It represents a high point for both the Peddes and Bethel Church. Pastor Ryan will be giving leadership to a church for which we have planned and prayed for five years. He will be fulfilling his personal life-long dream of planting a church. We trust that many, now living far from God, will hear and receive the Good News of Jesus Christ through his ministry.
On the other hand, this is a sad occasion because we are saying “goodbye” to a family we have come to love. Pastor Ryan and Jessica came to Bethel after graduating from Vanguard College. Ryan invested 11 years into Bethel and has made a huge difference in the lives of many youth and young adults. When he became our Second Pastor he touched all of us through his wider ministry and preaching. Jessica made an impact as a partner in ministry with Ryan.
We deeply appreciate the sacrifice the Peddes are making. Settling into a new city and being responsible for an emerging church is no easy task.
We are grateful that our “goodbye” is not the end of our relationship or even of our contact. We hope to stay in close touch with Bridge Church and to have Pastor Ryan preach from time to time.
We will say our farewell to the Peddes at the end of the 9:00 a.m. service today. Refreshments and cake afterward will be serve afterward. –Pastor Tom
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