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September 21, 2021

Downtown Family Quarterly Strategy Meeting (September 12)

Amanda Knoke

Director for Communications

The Downtown Family Quarterly Strategy Meeting was held Sunday September 12, 2021.

Meeting Highlights

  • Membership Report
  • Vote to Call Eight Downtown Deacons
  • Updates from the Downtown Elders

Membership Report

Pastor Jared Wass presented the Downtown Membership Report. The report included 32 members being recommended for removal (seven new members had been added on July 25, 2021). The motion to adopt the recommendations was approved.

Vote to Call Downtown Deacons

Pastor Chuck Steddom gave an overview of the diaconal ministry. Deacons will focus on widows, orphans, and sojourners. In addition, single-parent moms, as well as their children, will be considered in the scope of “widows and orphans.” For “sojourners,” we will focus on immigrants.

The congregation approved the following members to serve as deacons at the Downtown Campus.

  • Keith Anderson
  • Joey Bures
  • Julie Fee
  • Sean Fee
  • Jonell Kluver
  • Kelvin Kluver
  • Cynthia McGill
  • Laurie McRostie

Updates From the Downtown Elders

Elder René González gave an update on youth ministry. Caleb Ziegler has been serving as the interim ministry coordinator for Youth, but he will be leaving that position this month as he and his family move to Eau Claire, Wisconsin, in preparation for a new pastoral opportunity at one of Bethlehem’s church plants. Andrew Ballard is our new interim ministry coordinator. He has experience in youth ministry and a deep passion for the Word and for our youth to grow in their knowledge and love for Christ. Andrew will be serving in a part-time role.

The elders want to support and stay close to Andrew and the team, and so they have designated Darin Brink, Charles Kim, and René González to provide support and oversight to Andrew and our Youth Leadership team in the following months.

Pastor Brad Nelson gave an update on Global Outreach and the Disaster Response Team.

  • Women in Missions meets on the 2nd Monday of each month at the Downtown Campus.
  • A team is helping with cleanup from Hurricane Ida. We are currently in a scouting phase to determine if we should send another team. (Stay tuned for info on more trips.)
  • Global Partner Joe gave an update on Afghanistan.

Pastor Kenny Stokes shared updates on the recent challenges at the Downtown Campus.

  • Pastor Kenny shared his understanding on the fact that some elders believed other elders/pastors were “subordinating the gospel.” Kenny does not take that discussion to be about doctrine. No one has been charged with heresy. No one is saying that Jason Meyer or any of the other pastors/elders did not preach the gospel. Kenny, from his work in church planting, heard the issue to be one of “theological vision for ministry.” In the book Center Church, Timothy Keller defines this concept as a “faithful restatement of the gospel with rich implication for life, ministry, and mission in a type of culture at a moment in history.” This vision is a very important aspect of church leadership for pastors/elders to talk about—especially when the ministry expressions flowing from a shared doctrine do not seem to align. Almost all church plants go through discussion and disagreement on theological vision for ministry expression, and they must labor to preserve unity and alignment. 
  • Pastor Kenny also gave an update on a draft of a proposal that he and Kurt Elting-Ballard will bring to the elders for approval regarding areas of consultation that might prove very helpful to the church. The draft proposal includes scheduling a series of elder summit-style meetings on topics such as the following: 
    • Working toward a shared elder vision for biblical authority.
    • Working toward a shared elder vision for elder culture (e.g., approachability and accountability).
    • Working toward a shared elder vision for ethnic harmony (building on the “Ethnic Harmony Affirmations and Denials” document released in February 2021)
    • Working toward a shared elder vision for three campuses and what’s in store for Bethlehem’s future.

Elder Paul Delahunt gave an update on elder subcommittees

  • A subcommittee focused on communication, chaired by Elder Darrin Brink.
  • A subcommittee focused on the process for filling the pastoral vacancies, and how we as a congregation get to that point, chaired by Paul Delahunt.

Pastor Bud Burk gave an update on the Children’s Ministry.

Pastor Jared Wass gave an update on the Small Group ministry.

Elder Chair Tom Lutz gave an update on the Downtown Congregational Informational Meetings that were held in August.

Thanks to Church Clerk Bobby Ratliff for his assistance in preparing this update.