In these Pastor’s Corner articles, we have the opportunity to highlight the exciting ministries God is empowering in Bethel Church. One of the ministries that has been quietly flourishing is the Worship Ministry.
The steady, faithful leadership of Kevin Rietema and others has brought the Worship Ministries to a place of increased fruitfulness. One of these developments has been the creation of a Worship Arts Team. Over the last year, this team has met to help theme our Sunday services. Whether it is the use of dance, vibrant graphics, stage designs, a full choir or special music – this team has been a fountain of creativity and energy.
Every week, behind the scenes and on the stage, volunteers in our Worship Ministries provide leadership for our congregation. Worship teams, sound techs and media techs meet together every Thursday night for prayer and preparation. They show up at 7:00 on Sundays, often with a Tim Horton’s in hand, ready to lead two services.
We are also thankful for an influx of new volunteers, and the development of young people in the youth worship team who are growing in their ability to lead God’s people in worship. One thing is for sure: God is at work. It is fun to watch!
Please continue to pray for Bethel’s Worship ministry as they pursue creativity, excellence, and diversity in worship expression.
- Pastor Ryan
Easter means that Jesus is alive. He continues to change lives today by the power of the Holy Spirit. This week I learned about how He worked through one of our staff to touch and change the life of a little child.
Christie Thomas, our Director of Children’s Ministries and author of a devotional book for families, was at a church in our area teaching parents how to bless their children. (The subject of one of her “Take it Home Classes” here at Bethel). Following the seminar, she received the email below from one of the parents:
I just wanted to send you a quick message to tell you that I’m loving this whole idea of blessing our children every day!
One of our daughters struggles off and on at bed time and throughout the night with being scared. We had gone away (our whole family, including her!!) the last weekend of February, and that first week being back home she woke every single night.in tears. (Something that has been normal for her, off and on, for as long as I can remember.) [It was] seven nights in a row of waking throughout the night, and a lot of times, she doesn’t even remember! This get very trying with a seven year old!!!
We have been blessing her every night, often reading her blessing multiple times and she really enjoys it. Since the first night we started (the Sunday of “Blessing your Child” at SPAC) she has had a solid sleep through each night! Ten sleeps in row without waking to a screaming and crying little girl! I love that her first solid sleep was the day we started blessing her! God is so cool and so good!!
Yes indeed, “God is so cool and good!”
We passed a significant milestone last week, or maybe I should say we launched from a new starting line. Our Classis (that is, the Christian Reformed Churches in our region) gave unanimous approval to an ambitious proposal from the Classical Home Missions Committee. They said “yes” to planting five churches in 15 years, “yes” to pursuing a program for restoring health and vitality to existing churches, and “yes” to uniting all of the churches of Classis in prayer in support of this vision.
Perhaps my favorite moment of the meeting was when I, as chair of the Home Missions Team, asked all the church representatives gathered in Sonrise Church of Ponoka: “We will unite in prayer for the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our Classis and pray for one another as churches?” They responded with a resounding “Amen.”
I believe Classis’ decision is the beginning of something important--in the way a freshly planted acorn is the start of something much, much bigger. I believe it is the first step in a journey of following God into His chosen future, and I genuinely expect to see miracles.
This has practical implications for us, at Bethel.
· We plan to take a team through the Classis-endorsed, two-year educational journey toward increased church health called “The Church Renewal Lab.”
· I am hoping our own prayer group will play an important role in helping other churches to launch their own prayer groups.
· Bethel can now seriously undertake a discussion about the possibility of planting a church in the confidence that Classis is prepared to partner with us if we decided that God is leading us to do so.
I have mentioned before that the word “Classis” is Latin term which means “a fleet of ships moving together.” I feel like our fleet has set off on a new and exciting course.
I am pleased to share for a second week more developments from Bethel’s World Missions Team. In the next year, we have two missions trips planned that you could be a part of.
First, August 14-28, Joshua Mackintosh is leading a team to El Salvador. In El Salvador, Josh and the team will be connecting with our CRWM missionaries there. One of the primary goals of the trip is to help Roland Vanderburg build a facility for CRWM’s Seeds of New Creation. (If you have ever heard about or seen the Nehemiah Centre in Nicaragua, think of this new facility as the El Salvadoran version.) This facility will be a place where there is training for church leaders as well as training in community development and sustainability. Josh is looking for adults who have a heart for God’s Kingdom and some building experience (or a willingness to learn) to sign up.
Second, November 5-12, we will be leading an inter-generational trip to Nicaragua. This is well placed for many families because it is during a break for the EPSB/Christian School and Kings University. On this trip we will be partnering with the Nehemiah Center’s Adrianna Oudman who will be partnering us with her community youth impact clubs. There will also be a strong emphasis on prayer ministry and visiting sponsor children from Compassion. I am personally very excited to be going back to Nicaragua! This will be an educational and spiritually enriching trip for all ages.
I want to encourage everyone to continue to pray for the work that God is leading Bethel in around the world. If you feel the Spirit nudging you and you think that one of these missions trips might be right for you or your family, please talk to me or Josh.
- Pastor Ryan
Over the next two weeks, I will be sharing exciting developments from Bethel’s World Missions Team. You may remember that last spring Bethel sent an exploratory team to assess our relationships with the countries of Nicaragua and El Salvador. By the Grace of God we have built on those relationships and are seeing fruit from our prayer and financial support.
Roland Vanderburg from Calgary is one of our missionaries in El Salvador. Over the last year he has been so successful in community development work that he has seen rapid expansion in his ministry. Amazingly, Roland told us this year that he will not require any financial support, as his work becomes more and more self-sustaining! In the coming weeks you will hear about an opportunity Bethel has to partner with Roland, and Christian Reformed World Missions (CRWM), to build a ministry centre outside of San Salvador.
When Roland told us he did not require financial support, it opened up some options for Bethel. Last year while visiting CRWM’s Seeds of New Creation (SNC) the team met a man named Gerardo Reyes. A citizen of El Salvador, Gerardo has a magnetic personality. He was working part-time for SNC training pastors, and part-time for the University. Gerardo is an Evangelist who is able to talk to people about the love of Christ with ease. In the last few months he was promoted to become the new Director of SNC. In order to free him up from the other work he has needed to support his family, Bethel will be sending the money that was committed to Roland and give it to Gerardo. This will mean a gifted man with God’s call on his life will be able to devote more of his time in training pastors and leaders!
Next week Sunday (March 13) will be a Missions Sunday. Everyone will have an opportunity to give to Bethel’s Missionary Support through CRWM, and also hear about a couple of upcoming trips to Central America. God’s Spirit is leading us forward in our mandate to make disciples of all nations!
- Pastor Ryan
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