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Revisit Pastor Matt Browns transition vote update by selecting the NOVEMBER 19, 2017 audio sermon through the link below.

"Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep."
Romans 12:15

Audio Sermons

Transition Team Report

Below are links to download a PDF for both the Transition Committee Recommendation and the Transition Committee Findings and Report:

Recommendation

Findings & Report

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Over the past few months we have discussed the transition to one service as one of the steps in unifying our church. These next few weeks will be a crucial time in our church as we will hear the Transition Team's report and a week later we will vote concerning their recommendations.

I want to encourage everyone to be praying for our church, the upcoming meetings, and for the vote. We desire the Lord's will to be done in our church, so let's ask for His wisdom. We desire genuine Biblical unity in our church, regardless of the way the vote turn's out, so let's ask for the Spirit to provide it. Let's pray for our hearts, as Bethel Baptist Church, that we will speak the truth in love with one another during these next few weeks and at these meetings. Let's pray that the Lord will do far beyond what we can ask or even think in our church as a result of what happens over these next few weeks.

Pastor Matt

Transition Team Report

Sunday, November 5  I  6:00 PM  I  Main Sanctuary
The Transition Team will give their report along with their recommendations to the church. They will explain their report and their recommendations to the church. At this meeting, you will be able to discuss with the Transition Team their report and recommendations and ask questions. We will then take a week to pray fervently to the Lord, asking for His wisdom concerning these motions.

Ordination Service and Voting by Ballot 

Sunday, November 12  I  6:00 PM  I  Main Sanctuary
We will have an ordination service for several new deacons. During this service, we will enter into a business session for the purpose of voting by ballot without discussion on the recommendations from the Transition Team. Your attendance on this evening is critical. As Baptists, we have a democratic church polity under the Lordship of Christ. This means that we all get to vote the way we understand that Jesus is leading us to vote. We want every member of our church to be ready to vote the way they feel that Jesus is leading them to vote on this issue. Your vote matters, so please make plans to attend.


Bethel's Transition Team

Our Transition Team has been called. I want to encourage you to be praying for the following as they talk to our church and seek to find the best way to help unify our church. Please pray that the Lord would lead the committee and for fruitful, productive interviews and meetings.

  • Charley Crabtree
  • Erin Nixon
  • Wes Provine
  • Helen Samples
  • Joey Schmidt
  • Gabriel Scott
  • Connie Somers
  • Riley Least (alternate)

Pastor Matt Brown

Transition Team Information

Composition of the Team

This committee will consist of seven people: 2 from the 8:15 Sanctuary service, 2 from the 10:45 Sanctuary service, and 3 from the 10:45 Annex service. Committee on Committees will make the recommendation for the people to this committee. The personnel for this committee will be approved by church vote.

Purpose of the Team

This committee exists for the purpose of making the recommendation to the church to unify our Sunday morning services and making recommendations to the church as to what they believe will help make this transition to a unified service a success.

Job Description

  1. This committee will interview major age groups within our church, including youth, college, young adults, middle-aged adults, senior adults, for the purpose of allowing each age group to speak to their perceived needs for our unified worship service. The goal of these interviews is twofold:
     
    a.  to give all age groups in our church the opportunity to express their thoughts on what they believe will make this transition a success, and consequently
     
    b.  to allow the committee to be familiar with the viewpoints of the different age groups in our church.
     
  2. This committee will interview all major groups working with the worship program in our church, including but not limited to the choir, Bethel Band, Refuge Band, Praise Team, audio-visual workers (sound booth), for the purpose of allowing each group to speak to their perceived needs for our unified worship service.
      
  3. This committee or its various members will interview individuals within the church for their input as they feel it is warranted.
      
  4. This committee or various members will interview the staff for the purpose of allowing each staff member to speak to their perceived needs for our unified worship service.
     
  5. This committee will discuss its findings among themselves.
     
  6. The committee members will be allowed to discuss, within the committee, their own perceived needs for our unified worship service.
     
  7. This committee will assess the current condition of our physical facilities, specifically the sanctuary, for the purpose of assessing items in need of updating.
     
  8. This committee will formulate recommendations to the church, for the church's approval or disapproval. The first recommendation will be to unify our Sunday morning worship services. The following recommendations will help form the general direction of the united service. The recommendations will delineate to the church what the committee believes it will take for us to transition to a unified service.
     
  9. This committee will present its recommendations to the church no later than Sunday, October 29th, at a special called business meeting during the evening service. At this business meeting, the committee will present to the church what they are recommending to the church. Additionally, at this business meeting the church will be able to ask questions of the committee concerning the recommendations and make motions for amendments. The church will then take two weeks to pray about these recommendations. During these two weeks, printed copies of the recommendations, with amendments, will be available at church and on the church website. The church will vote to approve or disapprove the recommendations on Sunday, November 12, by secret ballot without discussion.

Denials (What the committee will not do)

  1. This committee will not decide for the church what our worship style will be. We will seek to be blended as much as possible. The articulating and accomplishing of this blended style will be left in the hands of the Pastor of Worship and Christian Arts in conjunction with the Senior Pastor, specifically, and the rest of the staff as needed.
     
  2. This committee will not define or teach the church what worship is and what it is not. This teaching role is given to pastors/ministers, Biblically.
     
  3. This committee will not define what songs we will sing or the frequency with which we will sing certain songs. This duty will be left in the hands of the Pastor of Worship and Christian Arts in conjunction with the Senior Pastor.
     
  4. This committee will not dictate to the church all the instruments that will or will not be used. This duty will be left in the hands of the Pastor of Worship and Christian Arts in conjunction with the Senior Pastor.

NEWSLETTER

June 15, 2017

Why this change? Why take away services that people enjoy? I have heard from or heard about people asking this question concerning our transition. This is more than a fair question, it is an excellent question. I believe there is also an excellent answer. 

The primary reason for this transition is to not "take away services." Rather, the primary reason for this transition is to unify our church. The Bible speaks of the importance of unity in the church body. Jesus prayed for it (John 17:22-23). Paul told the church at Rome that they were "one body in Christ and individually members of one another" (Romans 12:5). He encouraged the church at Ephesus to "be diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace" (Ephesians 4:3). Paul also called the church at Philippi to be "united in one Spirit" (Philippians 2:2), and he tells the church at Colossae "beyond all these things put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity" (Colossians 3:14). The call to unity is fleshed out by the numerous New Testament "one another" commands, for example:

  • "Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor".
    (Romans 12:10)
  • when the church came together for the Lord's Supper they were to "wait for one another".
    (1 Corinthians 11:33)
  • Paul reminds the Corinthians that God placed the people and their gifts in the body in such a way "so that there may be no division in the body, but that members may have the same care for one another".
    (1 Corinthians 12:25)
  • "Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
    (Ephesians 4:32)
  • "Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God".
    (Colossians 3:16)

We learn several things about unity from these verses. 

  • First, unity is not optional for the church, it is in fact commanded. 
  • Second, unity is provided by the Spirit, and the church is told to maintain it diligently. 
  • Third, Jesus' prayer for His people was for them to be unified, which should find specific application in a local church body.
  • Fourth, the "one another" passages imply a regular meeting together and caring for one another by all believers in the church.
  • Fifth, God desires there to be no division in the body.
  • Sixth, part of teaching and admonishing one another is through "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs," pointing to the importance of corporate worship in maintaining unity.

Another verse, however, points to an important result of unity. In John 17:23, Jesus noted that unity leads to mission; praying to the Father, He said "I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me." The world will know that the Father sent the Son by means, partly, of the Christ-centered unity and oneness of His body. Thus unity is not an inward focus for the church that is a hindrance to mission. Rather, the unity of a church is the launching pad for mission.

The implication of all these verses is that one of the basic aspects of maintaining unity is that the body gathers together in one place to worship the Lord and to care for and serve one another, and this unity will make Christ known in the world. This leads us to ask, are we united like this? Are we seeking to be united like this? Since, according to scripture, unity is not optional for us, are there things we need to do to maintain the unity the Spirit provides? The unification of our church as one worshiping body is one of the practical and logical steps in following these Biblical commands. This is the sole reason why I am recommending we transition; the Bible calls us to be unified. This goes beyond discussions about locations, styles, and environments - as important as they are. Unity - the body being together to worship out Lord and to build up the body - is essential, not tangential, to the health of a church and its mission. This is God's plan for His churches, including Bethel. This is the work He desires to accomplish in and through us. He desires to unify us and through this make us effective in mission. Just as Caleb encouraged the children of Israel to take possessions of the land God had promised them (Numbers 13:30), we too should follow God and the directions He has given us, knowing that, by His power, He will accomplish great things in and through us.

In His Love,
Pastor Matt

NEWSLETTER

June 22, 2017

This week's questions will deal with the Transition Team: who will they be and what will they do? The Transition Team will be comprised of seven people from all three current services. This team, which will be selected by Committee on Committees, will be voted on by the church on Sunday evening, July 9th. Committee on Committees is already hard at work seeking people to serve on this team.

The Transition Team's work will be composed primarily of interviewing different age groups in the church (youth, college, young adults, middle-aged adults, and senior adults). These interviews can take place in large groups, at whatever time works best for these groups and for the team. The goal of the interviews will be to hear the opinions of all these age groups as to what they believe will need to happen to make this unification a success. My hope for these interviews is that they will be positive in nature and not merely complaints about other services or worship styles. The Transition Team will also interview different groups that help lead worship in our church currently (Choir, Bethel Band, Refuge Band, etc...) to hear their insights into what they believe will need to happen to make this unification a success. Additionally, the team will also interview staff and other individuals as they see fit. We want everyone to have an opportunity to have their voice heard as to what they believe will need to happen to make this unification a success. Following these interviews, the team will discuss their findings, and their own opinions and formulate recommendations to bring to the church.

My hope is for the Transition Team to complete their work and bring their recommendations before the church by the last Sunday in October, the 29th. At this time, the church will have an opportunity to ask questions of the committee concerning these recommendations. The church will then have two weeks to pray about these recommendations, seeking the Lord's will. After these two weeks, the church will meet again is a special called business session on a Sunday night to vote on the recommendations of the committee.

What can you do to help? 

  • First, continue to pray. We want to follow the Lord's will in this process of unifying our services. 
  • Second, talk to the committee. They want to hear from you on what you believe will need to happen to make this unification a success.
  • Third, please keep your comments positive. Everyone has different opinions on this matter and we all want to do what the Lord wants us to do. However, with thoughtless word or comment, we could hurt a brother or sister for whom Christ died.

Let's choose, whether with the Transition Team or with individuals, to be honest and yet also full of grace and love in what we say.

Grace, Mercy, and Peace,
Pastor Matt

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