On Thursday night both Christ Lutheran and Bethany meet to vote to join as one body. Bethany voted unanimously to create a new church, yet unnamed, with our brothers and sisters at Christ Lutheran. We look forward to an exciting future for Christ’s body in our local community.
The tentative plan for the summer is to worship either at Craig or Dickson as one congregation at 10:00 alternating months from June through September, details are forthcoming and will be shown in the calendar.
Below is a brief statement from the BCCC that laid the basis for the vote:
“The Way” Forward for Our Church
The vote for amalgamation of our two churches into one new congregation is approaching. To reiterate, the plan is to begin as a two-point parish with the ultimate goal of our combined congregation worshiping in one location. It is a difficult, yet very necessary progression for the continued advancement of the gospel in our community. The committee you appointed has worked for two years on the groundwork, bringing the process to this point. The committee found that the following goals were important to fulfill our mission:
- Unity of proclamation of the Gospel
- Longevity and vitality of the churches’ mission in this community.
- Preserve the Lutheran heritage in this community.
- Christ-driven stewardship of:
- Pastoral resources
- To be a cohesive community of believers
- Equip the saints/community of believers.
- Preserve and develop Local Ministry (food bank, financial support of the needy)
- Support the church at large and answer the broader mission call.
- To be viewed as a trusted source of support and a light within the larger community.
The committee trusts that these can be best fulfilled through the motions that are presented.
Through our evaluation of the alternatives, it was observed that the greatest benefit of amalgamation would be as one body worshiping together in love and in truth, which is confirmed through scripture. It was also noted that continuing on the current paths, would mean the demise of the Lutheran Church in this community in 10 to 20 years. This assessment took into account the steeply declining attendance at Lutheran churches nationwide, especially in rural areas, as well as the aging demographics in both our congregations, the mobility of people moving to larger centers or going to more relatable churches and the general apathy to the Christian faith of the younger generations. There is no longer any cultural benefit to church membership that cannot be found in a secular organization. In fact, Christianity is stigmatized as being intolerant and outdated in our culture. The only way someone would even join a Christian congregation is if they being lead by the holy spirit, believed that Christianity is true and had counted the cost.
The impersonal character of much of modern life is changing the ways people interact and interrelate. There is a critical need for intimate personal relationships and support in time of crisis, loneliness, dependency and just to exist day to day. We are in a unique position to serve these basic human needs in the local context with a message of hope and regeneration.
Motivation is key to the success of the merger. If our motivation is to glorify God in the local area by providing for discipleship of believers, meaningful worship and offering the hope of eternal life and relationship with God through Christ we are sure to succeed. If it is only to put bodies in pews, and try hold our ground it will assuredly fail.
This is a quote from a very insightful book called Steps for Starting New Churches by Henry Vernon “There are no easy methods for finding the right alternative for a particular church. We can predict, however, that the alterative chosen will be the right one when it is made on the basis of and understanding of the context in which the church operates, as part of an area denominational strategy, following a feasibility study of the characteristics of the church and its community which results in probing the church’s motivation for change, out of primary concern for ministry rather than survival, and from a perspective that is oriented to the future rather than to the past.”
Please pray that the Lord will flourish His church in our community and that we will be obedient to His will and do the tasks that He entrusts us with and that we could truly be “A Community of believers sharing Christ’s truth and practicing Christ’s love.”