God is working through Bethel!
It’s the time of year where we elect new leaders of our church, approve another operating budget and handle other pressing business of the church. It’s also a time to reflect upon what God has done through Bethel Lutheran Church in the last year. As I look back on the year I am amazed and humbled. I will attempt to summarize what I see as God’s work through us in 2007-2008.
Ministry Expansion: LINC and African Ministry
One year ago, LINC – Twin Cities (Lutheran Inter-city Network Coalition) was just a dream. We saw the need for such a uniting mission organization, but much still needed to be done. Now we can look back and see how God used Bethel to bring about a new spirit of cooperative ministry in the Twin Cities. Today, LINC is preparing to expand the Gospel outreach of our churches by multiplying churches all over the Twin Cities. Bethel is multiplying as well. Lusienie Fofana has been accepted into the EIIT (Ethnic Immigrant Institute of Theology) program at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis and by the grace of God will be ordained into the pastoral ministry in three years. On March 30, we began an African worship service led by Fofana while he is undergoing his training. Fofana was licensed as a Deacon of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod on May 25. It is an honor to continue to serve as his pastoral mentor during his training. These two developments alone have dramatically increased the scope by which Bethel can communicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ! By God’s grace, we are “making disciples for Jesus Christ in our church, neighborhood and world!”
Hear the Word!
Bethel has also been blessed as more and more people hear the Word of God every week. Last June we started a Summer Monday worship service for those unable to attend on Sundays. In the fall, we began a class to study Revelation drawing nearly 20 participants each week. Our Tuesday morning study of the Gospel of John has increased to well over 20 per week. And, as was stated above, we now have an African worship service every week at 11:30. Our regular worship attendance yearly average has risen steadily from 154 in 2006, to 157 in 2007, and currently stands at 163 for 2008! Multiply all of this by the fact that we now have audio from both of our Bible Studies on our new website and the Sunday sermons on the website and iTunes. People right here and around the world are hearing God’s Word!
I could go on an on about Bethel and the strides made this year by so many to fulfill the mission God has given us. I encourage you to read the yearly reports of the Ministry Leaders for more on these strides. Yet, there is still so much more to be done. While it is important to celebrate what God has done through us, we must also not feel as if we have “arrived.” By God’s grace we will stay open to His leading, boldly making disciples all the way.
Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”Matthew 28:19-20″