BRIDGE CHURCH IS OFF TO A GREAT START
“I want to express to you how amazing Sunday was!” That is how Pastor Ryan began an email describing Bridge Church’s public launch service, held this past Sunday.
230 people attended the service—including the city’s mayor. At least 20 new families were in attendance. Eight families indicated that they want to join a home group, and 27 new children were enrolled into the kids’ program. It is especially exciting that only about 30 of these people were guests from Bethel Church or another CRC Church attending to lend support. That means 200 people, potentially, could make up the nucleus of this new church going forward.
It was a wonderful experience, according to some Bethelites who attended the service. The efforts of Pastor Ryan, the music team, and the other Bridge members were stamped with excellence. (An extra bit of Good News is that Bridge Church has finally signed the lease for the top floor of the Ross Creek building. When they eventually move to that location, they will worship in the midst of a beautiful, panoramic view of the city).
I agree with Pastor Ryan when he writes, “We serve an incredible God who is doing something very special in our city.” Thank you Bethel, for your hard work and generous giving that has made Bridge Church a reality. Only eternity will tell how God is using your love and sacrifice to change lives. --Pastor Tom
BETHEL IS GROWING YOUNG
If you have been in church the past couple of weeks, you’ve heard me encourage everyone to take the Growing Young survey. It is part of a larger Growing Young initiative we are undertaking at Bethel, and I believe it is vitally important.
What is Growing Young? It is an attempt to connect the younger generation to the church. Think of the church as a train, with each car in the “church train” being made up of one generation. The train is not complete unless all the generations are represented. The most tenuous link in this train is the one connecting the very last car—the younger generation.
The younger generation has always been a special concern of older Christians. Parents in every century have suffered angst praying that their children would embrace the faith. But statistic suggest that the need to reach the younger generation is especially urgent today. More than at other times, our younger generation is at risk of decoupling from the faith train.
The good news is that there is a solution. The staff at Fuller Youth Institute, who are behind the larger Growing Young effort, have walked with young adults to learn what they need. Their research suggests that there are six things required to reach today’s young adults: They need to feel understood, valued, and loved. They need to be challenged by an authentic Gospel. They need to see their church caring for their broader community. And they need to be given leadership opportunities in the church.
We believe that Bethel does some of these things well, and some not so well. The survey will help us to see which is which. This is the first step in our Growing Young journey—to know how we have to grow, we have to start by taking an honest look at ourselves.
If you have any questions about the Growing Young effort, you can talk to one of the team members: Kayla Mast, Stephanie Stoklosa, Jason Wisselink, Thelme VanHeerden, Wendy Werkman, Melanie Wright, or myself. If you haven’t taken the survey, you can do so at the following link. http://www.oursurvey.church/BethelCommunityChurchEdmonton. (It only takes 10 minutes.)
I’m really excited about our fall series of Sunday messages: “By Faith: Seeing the Unseen. It is based on the story of Abraham (Genesis 12-22) and it deals with the walk of faith each of us is called to take if we would follow Jesus.
Do you ever find it hard to live by faith? I do. Let’s face it, there’s a lot of mystery involved in entrusting our whole lives to someone we can’t see and whose existence cannot be scientifically proved.
For sure, there is a tonne of reward that comes from living by faith. But there are challenges and temptations and questions, as well. Faith takes us to mountaintop experiences. It also takes us through desert places where our souls thirst and God seems nowhere to be found. It requires patience as we wait for promises that won’t be fully realized in this life.
The story of Abraham is just the right place to turn in order to explore this life of faith. The Bible holds up Abraham as an extraordinary example of faith; and yet, he is someone we can all relate to because, like us, he was far from perfect. He was tempted as we are. He failed as we do. And he had to learn to wait on God’s promises as we must.
Abraham’s story is full of insights that can help us walk with the unseen God. My hope is that as we internalize them, we will come to “see Him who is invisible” (Hebrews 11:27). --Pastor Tom
WELCOME TO THE NEW CHURCH YEAR!
Welcome back! You may, or may not, have been physically away for the summer, but all of us are returning to a new church year; so, I’d like to welcome you back to what lies ahead with all its activity and adventure. We have a lot to look forward to this year. Consider just a few highlights:
Space doesn’t allow me to talk about all our dreams for this year, but you will be hearing about other plans in weeks to come. You will also be hearing about our regular, great ministries. (God has been using Bethel’s ministries to change lives for many years.) For now, let’s look forward with anticipation, set our hearts to serve, and pray that God will do great things among us this year for His glory. –Pastor Tom
Come here for news on what is happening in Bethel Church from our Pastors.