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Bethlehem Blogs

June 16, 2017

Becoming More Functionally Continuist

From Jason Meyer, Pastor for Preaching & Vision

Dear Bethlehem,

I recently contacted Bethlehem’s leaders, encouraging them to participate in the Convergence Conference taking place in October in Oklahoma City. Now I’m passing the same encouragement on to you. Would you consider attending this event? Would you pray for me and the pastoral staff as we plan to attend? May God guide us as we seek to embrace the power and gifts of Holy Spirit more fully in our church.

One of the most significant conferences in Bethlehem’s history was the trip that the pastoral staff took to Anaheim, California, in 1990. The Lord had blessed Bethlehem with a newfound passion for the power of the Holy Spirit, and the leadership was seeking to grow in how this emphasis should work its way into ministry at Bethlehem. I have now talked to a few people who were part of that trip, and they say that it was a pivotal moment in terms of Bethlehem moving from being theoretically continuationist to beingfunctionally continuationist. 

Everyone I spoke to also mentioned that there were some wacky things they experienced at that Vineyard conference, but there were other things that created new categories and new levels of openness for something similar to happen at Bethlehem. A couple of people said that the conference brought about real change at Bethlehem, even though many were hoping for more change to happen 

Fast forward a couple of decades, and we find ourselves in a similar position. I am uniquely burdened for this issue. I believe the Lord has more for us as a church. I aspire to lead a Christian hedonist continuationist church. Although I don’t know the extent of what that would look like, I want to be positioned to grow into it. I think we all agree that there are strides we can take in moving to become more functionally continuationist as a church. The Lord has impressed upon my heart that another conference might be the best way to move forward.

Therefore, our pastoral staff is taking a trip to Oklahoma City for Sam Storms’ Convergence Conference. Sam’s book, Practicing the Power: Welcoming the Gifts of the Holy Spirit in Your Life, has been an incredible blessing to me as I have been working through what it would look like for a church to be practically continuationist. This conference will address that very issue and will give us many opportunities to be challenged and sharpened as we dialogue over what we are hearing and discuss how we can apply it at Bethlehem. Going away for a conference will make this a “one issue” agenda so that we can think through it deeply and seek to apply it broadly throughout Bethlehem and specifically in each of our ministries.

You can see details and speaker information at the Convergence Conference website. Bethlehem has been given a discount for up to 50 people to receive $44 off the registration fee by June 30. You can access it by using code ACMBF in the “Early Bird/Individual” option. Perhaps we will see you there!

Earnestly desiring the greater gifts with you,

Pastor Jason