Update from The Bridge Church Plant in Fort Saskatchewan
It has been a while since we provided an update about Bethel’s Church Plant in Fort Saskatchewan. I am happy to report that the Spirit of God is moving and we have made progress as The Bridge Church.
Personally, my time is now split between Bethel ministries and The Bridge Church 50/50. Jessica, the kids and I moved to Fort Saskatchewan on Saturday September 22. Our house in Edmonton sold successfully and everything is moved over to our new home. Lydia has started Kindergarten in the Fort. We are beginning to connect with new neighbors and settle in nicely on our block. I had the privilege of meeting with the Mayor of Fort Saskatchewan, joining the ministerial in Fort Saskatchewan, and joining a local community organization.
Our large House Church that has been built up since February has multiplied into two “Mega-sized” House Churches. They are designed in such a way that we can multiply into 4 groups in the New Year. There is a buzz in Fort Saskatchewan about the new church plant and we are starting to see more and more people take interest in what God is doing.
The launch team is meeting twice a month for training, prayer and visioning together. This has included a visit from Mosaic House’s Pastor Victor Ko, discussions about committing of our time/talent/treasure, building a prayer strategy, and creating a covenant for ministry life together. In the coming months we will look at spiritual gifts, evangelism and the systems we will need to put in place for the church. The Sunday service launch for the church is 11 months away now but will come quickly!
More and more I am discovering how important prayer and fasting are going to be to see breakthrough in Fort Saskatchewan. Without God’s Spirit, nothing of lasting value will be accomplished through us. Bethel, I am asking each and every one of you to commit to praying daily for The Bridge Church. Please ask God for protection and blessing for my family and all the families of the launch team. Please ask God to draw the hearts of people to come to know Him in Fort Saskatchewan. Pray for boldness in our team to share faith in Christ and for God to send the right people at the right time. Pray for resources and abundance to meet all the needs we will have as a baby church.
Thank you for your love, your support, and your prayers. -Pastor Ryan
BETHEL’S MINISTRIES LAUNCH!
Most of Bethel’s annual ministries have gotten began again in the last weeks. Here is some initial good news:
Dove Taekwondo is bursting at the seams. 63 children are enrolled. The Little Doves class, for the youngest children, has 20 in a class ideally suited for 15. Inquiries are still coming in from prospective participants.
The GEMS Girls’ club had 37 girls on their first night (Wednesday). They expected 26-28 to show up. God is entrusting us with more precious lives than we could have imagined, and the GEMS need about three more counselors. Viola Dueck, the GEMS head counselor says, “I know God has great things in store for us this year.” If you want to be part of this beautiful, burgeoning ministry please contact Viola.
45-50 kids showed up for the first Alpha Youth session—once again more than anyone had anticipated. Our Youth Director Melanie Wright says that several Bethel youth brought friends to the meeting. Small group discussions were lively. This great beginning promises good things for the youth program this year.
Our Oasis Women’s Bible study has met twice now. Many new Bethel members who joined Oasis last year returned, and many women from other churches also came. One new member was an Alpha participant from last year who is exploring the Christian Faith. Director Laurie Veenstra says that she is trusting God for His leading and blessing this year!
Several “not-yet” or new Christians have signed up for ALPHA, as well as a few Bethelites who just want a refresher.
Our ministry for children has launched with a new name, “Bethel Kids,” and a new format. This has come through the inspiration and effort of our Children’s Director Thelmè Van Heerden.
The Women’s Ministry is planning a retreat, called “Spiritual Boot camp” and we are anticipating a revitalized Men’s Ministry this church season.
ESL will have a newer, smaller more personal look—a creative adaptation of the ministry in light of a decline in the need for ESL services.
Food Bank has begun to alleviate the needs of those less financially privileged, once again.
Our Cadet’s boys’ club will get its start this week.
Several of our ministries never took a break for the summer, and they are still going strong. These include our Healing Prayer Ministry, our Intercessory Prayer Ministry, and our Monday and Wednesday morning prayer groups.
All of these signs of life are encouraging. I am deeply appreciative of the many, many volunteers who serve in these ministries. Our prayer is that God will bless these ministries and use them to help us ‘become like Christ and share Him with others”. –Pastor Tom
LET’S READ THE NEW TESTAMENT TOGETHER
This year we are issuing a special invitation and challenge to the congregation. Together we would like to read through the New Testament over the course of one year. A brochure explaining the process and laying out a Bible reading schedule has been placed in your mail slot.
The plan is straight forward: read five chapters of the Bible over the course of each week. For each chapter answer these three questions:
Adore: What did I learn about God that I should praise Him for?
Admit: What did I learn about myself that I should repent of?
Ask: What does this passage lead me to ask God for in regard to an action to take, an attitude to change, or a faith step to venture out on?
Then, spend some time in prayer and journal your experience. That’s it!
Why are we making this special effort? Because there is tremendous blessing in reading the Bible prayerfully, and we always find encouragement when we do something together.
God’s promises about meditating on His Word seem almost too good to be true. Through doing so, the Bible says, we gain happiness (Psalm 1:1-2), hope (Romans 15:4), insight (Psalm 119:130) and personal transformation (John 17:17). In short, God’s Word enables us to flourish (Psalm 1:3).
I hope you will join in on this journey of reading the Bible. Read over the brochure in your mail slot, and start this week. I would love to hear about the insights you gain over the course of the year.
IT’S ALL ABOUT GROWTH
Today (Sunday) we start a new church year with all its familiar patterns. From now on we will be meeting in two Sunday services, instead of one, and our various programs will find their customary places in our weekly calendar.
But there are some new things that will be joining the familiar things. We have a new logo, a new set of Core Commitments, and a new Growth Track.
Our new logo features three leaves coming from a single stem. Created by one of our own Bethel members, the logo captures the idea of growth and symbolizes the three areas for growth described by our Core Commitments. The Logo is now on our back wall, our stationery, and our written materials.
Our Core Commitments are: Communion (Walking with Christ), Community (Loving one another), and Calling (Impacting the world). These commitments are ways of expressing the “within,” “among,” and “outside” dimensions of a full-orbed Christian faith.
Our Growth Track is described in a brochure being distributed in the Sunday morning worship folder and on Bethel’s website (www.discoverbethel.com/grow). The Growth Track is a way for us to stay “on track” as followers of Christ. Three courses will be offered to new members--one for each Core Commitment--and all of our ministries will be categorized according to the Core Commitment they help to nurture. The Growth Track gives us a clear understanding of how we can challenge ourselves in all dimensions of the Christian life, so that we can become fully developed followers of Jesus.
Did you notice a pattern in what you have just read? All these things center on growth. As a church we want to be growth-focused, as the Bible says we should be. As a matter of fact, GROW is the title of the new series of messages that starts today.
Growth is what God wants for you and for me. It is God’s wonderful invitation and gift; so, this year, let us embrace the Apostle Paul’s words: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13). –Pastor Tom
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