LIFE IN YOUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
How is it going in your neighbourhood? In the last couple of Pastor’s Corners I’ve written about the important work we are doing together in our church’s neighbourhood. Today I am wondering about your neighbourhood. What is God doing in your “hood”? God has uniquely placed each of us where we live so that we can shine the light of Jesus there.
I have been praying for my own neighbourhood for years. Each Thursday morning I kneel at a desk that overlooks our cul-de-sac. I bring before the Lord each individual and family using the B.L.E.S.S. prayer, which reminds me to pray for the Body, Labour, Emotions, Social relationships, and Spiritual needs of my neighbours.
Over the years I have seen meaningful changes taking place. It is now common for Janet and me, when we are out walking, to stop to chat with people we have come to know. Other neighbours are getting to know one another better, as well.
Some of our neighbours have become good friends of ours, and some of those friendships have resulted in spiritual conversations. We cherish these opportunities to talk about Jesus. One neighbour couple asked if they could visit our church this summer. They don’t normally attend church, but they know we do. They want to learn more about the faith that is so meaningful to us.
Our second annual block party is scheduled for late June. We hope it will be bigger and better than last year. It has been easier to plan this year’s event because friends I met at last year’s block party are helping me to plan it.
In the Lord’s Prayer we ask: “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That prayer is our mandate for our neighbourhoods. We want “down here” (on our block or in our apartment building or condominium) to be a little more like “up there”. --Pastor Tom
WHY “DOING GOOD IN THE ‘HOOD” IS SO VITAL
By participating in Bannerman in Action, on May 11, Bethel improved our church’s community and helped out a lot of people. However, I believe Bethel‘s efforts accomplished much, much more. Let me explain.
First, in a small way, we helped to change the atmosphere in Bannerman toward one of mutual caring. In the Lord’s Prayer we pray “Thy Kingdom come” which, as one person puts it, is asking God to make “down here” more like “up there.” Now, Bannerman is just a little bit more like “up there”.
Second, we sent a powerful message to the community leaders who had been planning this event for months. We demonstrated, in perhaps the biggest way to date, that we care about our community. One community leader recently described Bethel as a caring church that “by its very presence is making our community better.”
Third, we helped to pave the way for credible witness. Through efforts like this we “adorn the Gospel” (Titus 2:10). I have seen strong evidence that we are making an impact. Our actions have opened the door for personal Gospel conversations and led people to visit our church.
Let’s continue to shine the light of Christ in the Bannerman community and in our own community wherever we may reside! —Pastor Tom
WE DID A LOT OF GOOD IN THE ‘HOOD
About 86 volunteers showed up for “Bannerman in Action” on Saturday, May 11. We had a great time serving our church’s community and neighbours. Bethel did some real “good in the ‘hood”. Here are just some of the highlights from that day:
We left the river valley a lot cleaner, removed graffiti from buildings, and freed the community field of shattered glass.
Volunteers cleaned the fridge of a single mom. Then they went above and beyond the call of duty by washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen and washing walls. When the volunteers left, the woman said she was going to carry on washing walls. Obviously the team’s visit was both encouraging and motivating for her!
A Community League member said, “The community gardens have never looked better. People just figured out the task, grabbed the tools and worked their magic.” Another exclaimed, “I can’t believe all the work that got done today! Normally, just one other person and I work for weeks to get that garden ready.”
A woman with ovarian cancer expressed to a volunteer that she needs to have her lawn mowed during the summer. She is going to be linked with neighbours who can help.
Adults and children worked together: the adults were able to delight in the joy and enthusiasm of the children, while the kids learned that they play a significant role in the church and community.
Several people said that they were just learning about the event, thought it was a great idea, and would like to participate next year.
A big “thank you” to everyone who participated this year. (Save your T-shirt, everyone, you will need it next spring! –Pastor Tom
YOUR CHANCE TO MEET OUR PROSPECTIVE PASTOR
I told you last week that we have selected Jake Porter of Hamilton Michigan as our pastor candidate. You may be wondering when you will get a chance to meet this person who may very possibly become our second pastor.
We have invited Jake and his wife Kris to come to Bethel on the weekend of Sunday, May 26. Jake will preach at both Sunday services. There will be time for you to connect with him over coffee or tea after both the 9 and 11 a.m. service.
While they are here, Jake and Kris will be invited to eat a meal with the Search Team, enjoy a barbeque with all of Bethel’s office bearers, talk with the staff, and meet with representatives from the Governing Elders, Shepherding Elders, and Deacons. There will also be opportunity for them to explore Edmonton.
The Search Team has provided you with information about his life, faith, education, and ministry experience. On Sunday June 2, you will be asked to vote on whether you believe God is leading us to call Jake as our new second pastor.
Should we vote to call Jake, he will then have a decision to make. He will have up to three weeks to give us a final decision.
As we consider who should serve as our new second pastor, it is vital that we approach this process with prayerful discernment. A document containing a copy of Jake’s resume and a summary of his ministerial profile has been placed in each mail slot so you can get to know Jake better.
Let’s pray that God will give both our congregation, and Jake, the wisdom to know if He wants him to be our next second pastor.—Pastor Tom
WE HAVE A SECOND PASTOR CANDIDATE
After narrowing the field down to two people, Bethel’s Search Team spent last Sunday afternoon interviewing both candidates for the second pastor position. We then selected a candidate who was subsequently endorsed by the Governing Elders. I am happy to be able to introduce you to our prospective second pastor: Jake Porter.
Jake is a graduate of Western Theological Seminary. He is currently the pastor of Hamilton Christian Reformed Church where he has served for six years (two years as their youth pastor and four years as their lead pastor). He is married to Kris. They home school their two children Dean (aged 8) and Ben (aged 5).
Though his father became a pastor when Jake was a child, he never thought that he would follow in dad’s footsteps. He was surprised, during his college years to sense the Lord was calling Him into ministry.
Jake has a very broad faith background. He grew up in a revivalist tradition, but served as an associate pastor in a charismatic church for several years before attending a Reformed seminary. He feels that this breadth of experience has helped him to be a better pastor.
Preaching and teaching are Jake’s primary passion, but he is clearly a people person, as well. (One of his great joys is to have a group of people over and cook them a meal.) He is passionate about outreach.
Jake’s years of experience as a pastor give him a strong foundation for ministry. That experience, along with his strong people-skills, have led our Search Team to believe he will make a good second pastor for Bethel Church.
Jake and his wife will be coming to Edmonton over the weekend of May 26. He will preach for us on that Sunday. In the next weeks the Search Team will provide you with more detailed information about Jake so you can get to know him better.
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