I announced on Sunday that I have accepted a call to Maranatha Church of Belleville, Ontario. What does that mean both for Bethel and for the Bairds in the next months? The Governing Elders met to talk about its implications for Bethel, and I would like to tell you personally what it means for Janet and me.
The aim of the Governing Elders’ meeting was to lay the basic groundwork for a smooth transition into the future. We started by discussing A Dream for Bethel, which describes our collective vision for our church. Reviewing the document was invigorating for all of us, because we believe it paints an exciting and accurate picture of what God wants us to become. We agreed to spend two weeks praying about how God would have us structure our staff to take us through this transition and beyond.
These steps are vital. They are the building blocks that need to be in place before Bethel can call a new pastor. That these things are ready, or nearly ready to go means that there should be little delay in starting a calling process. God is good!
What does the calling process mean for Janet and me personally? For me, it means I have to pass a lot of batons. I will seek to create seamless continuity in my church, community, and classical roles. I will especially do all I can to equip Cris and the staff to carry on without interruption when I leave.
For Janet and me, leaving Bethel is filled with both emotions and activity. We are caught between the excitement of going to a new community and call on the one hand, and saying “goodbye” to a church we love on the other—it’s a roller coaster ride of emotions. At the same time, we have to pack, sell our current house, and buy a new house over the internet in a new city—so, it’s a whirlwind of activity as well.
There are two things I hope we will all keep in mind. First, we are not gone yet. Janet and I have two and a half months to go. I will be fully invested in Bethel until I finish my pastoral work on May 31. Janet and I intend to enjoy our time and relationships each day we are here! Second, Jesus is in charge. Our leaving is his plan for Bethel as much as it is his plan for Janet and me. I know he has good things in store for Bethel Church. Let’s all trust him, and wait patiently for his plan to unfold.
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