"Being Bethany"
"Being Bethany" is our Elders way of identifying the core purposes of the Church we find in the New Testament and is our tool to identify where we need to be growing and changing in order to continue to be the Church God has called us to be. 

With Christ as the Head and God’s Word as our guide, Bethany Christian Church exists to:




*Worship Christ in Spirit and in Truth  -  “Being Bethany” begins with being worshippers. Worship means, at its simplest, ascribing worth or value to someone or something else. For Bethany that worship is reserved for God the Father and His Son Jesus under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the Tri-une God who is the only One deserving of worship. In John 4, Jesus actually says that God “seeks” worship from His followers. He also says that worship must be done “in Spirit and in Truth.”  For Bethany that means, in part, that we strive to make our worship be all about praising God and not pleasing self.
Worship is an attribute all Christians are called toward in every part of their life and we seek to encourage and instruct on just “how” to worship God while at work, school, in the grocery, sitting around the TV at home or in someone’s living room during our Small Groups.  We also know that a central calling from God is to worship Him together. While this happens in many ways, at Bethany it is most noticeable at our Sunday AM “Worship Service”. Here our Praise Team strives to lead us to lift up our voices to our Lord and Savior with a heart of awe and a sense of joy. Our worship doesn’t end with songs and drums and guitars though, it is carried over into our time of prayer, our study of the Bible, our time of communion and our moments of fellowship.


*Prepare God’s People for Works of Service - The Apostle Paul wrote that one of the duties of the Church leadership is to “equip the saints for works of service” (Ephesians 4) and the second directive of “Being Bethany” is based on that understanding. God’s design for the Church is that all members participate in ministry insuring that all members are able to accomplish, with His strength, all God has planned for the Church. (I Corinthians 7:7)Doing this begins with a commitment to preparing and training and inviting all Christians into service. Honoring this directive has benefits both spiritually –allowing leadership to focus on their calling - and structurally- meeting needs of many with many.  We equip our congregation through teaching on spiritual gifts and service, through providing opportunities and creating the need.


*Serve as Standard Bearer for God within our Community - In 1 Timothy, the Apostle Paul writes that the “church of the living God” is “the pillar and support of the truth.”  It is this understanding of our responsibility to safeguard and communicate the message, meaning and power of Truth that is at the core of this third directive of Being Bethany. We see it is our calling, responsibility and opportunity to be the people to whom the lost and hurting can turn when their world is crashing in around them and the people who are sent into the world to offer truth, love, grace and support.  Doing that means that we also, with clarity, call sin-sin and speak and act boldly against Satan’s attempts to tear-down that support. 

     

And to equip Christians to personally:

*Grow in the Grace and Knowledge of Christ - Christianity is not a stagnant “religion.” We are followers of Christ which means ours is to be an ever-growing, ever-deepening relationship with Him. At Bethany, we understand this is not just a good idea but a command from God. The command is not one given as a means of control from God but one given because He knows that it is through and every expanding relationship with Jesus that we reach all that we have been called to be and we are evermore prepared for the trials and temptations that come as a a part of life on this Earth. In fact, when the Apostle Peter (2 Peter 3:7-8) wrote that we are to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” his challenge was an opportunity and a blessing. Scripture teaches us that inviting the grace of Jesus to penetrate our life more and more is what transforms, sustains and restores us to Him. This “Being Bethany” directive is a calling placed on the individual Christian but it is also one that Bethany – as a Body – seeks to encourage through Sunday School, Adult Bible Classes, Small Groups and Scripture-focused sermons but reaches it’s fullness only when individuals add to that corporate study a daily commitment to individually “knowing Christ” through prayer and Bible Study.   
 

*Love and Build up One Another - In 1 John 3:11 we read "for this is the message which you have heard from the beginning, that we should love one another." This is far from the only place this same command appears in Scripture. Loving one another is, in fact, a foundational command from God to His followers. In fact, loving one another is so crucial that Scripture tells us that the choice we make to love or not love one another is one that evidences our salvation (1 John 3:10 and  others). At BCC, we seek to grow in this love through commitment to growing closer in our relationship with the one who "is Love" (God 1 John 3:8) knowing that the closer we are to Him the more love becomes a natural outgrowth of who we are. Along with that, we commit to devote time developing relationships with one another on a deeper level and we pray for one another with true concern and commitment. 
From our commitment to love one another comes our decision to also "build up" one another. Scripture calls upon us to be encouragers - wanting what is best for others and seeking to help them become who God has called them to be as well. While we seek to do that in many ways - our Small Groups are the place all these are practiced at their best.  

 

*Use Our Gifts in Service to Others - At Bethany, every-member service isn’t just something we encourage, urge or hope for – it is something that is expected. It is a defining element of membership because membership implies engagement and involvement. We expect service because God does (Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 4:10-11 and others) and because Scripture tells us that this service isn’t only for the benefit of the Church, the Kingdom of God and the community –it also benefits the servant. In Ephesians 4, Paul writes (as led by the Holy Spirit) that service – creates stability, provides maturity and promotes harmony. This is our goal for the Christian and for Bethany.
At Bethany, we encourage individuals to discover their spiritual gifts and then apply them in what we call their “Primary” ministry. We also encourage them to find a “Secondary” ministry area to serve in as a means of simply helping to fill a need that ‘anyone’ can do.  While many of our areas of service are for those who are members, there are also many more that are open to those who are regular attendees as well.


*Practice Stewardship with the Whole of Our Lives - When people hear the word "stewardship" in church settings they tend to immediately think:Money. It would be true that Scripture, and specifically Jesus, speaks often of money and what is the proper use for and priority of it. However, stewardship in Scripture is about more than my money - it is about my life. God has called me to give Him the "first fruits" of every part of my life (time, service, money and more). At BCC, we strive to teach, encourage and practice this expectation in it's entirety. We do this consistent teaching, the collection of a weekly offering as a part of our worship, the opportunity to serve in many areas of ministry and our lives and we model this through a commitment by the Church leadership to properly steward the monies and times given by the Body.


*Participate in the Great Commission - Church history has taken to calling Jesus' words at the close of Matthew 28, "The Great Commission". It is among the final teachings from Jesus prior to His return to Heaven and, for that reason, we see it as a final reminder of the priority of the ministry He has called the Church toward. In this message, Jesus calls upon all Christians to "Go and Make Disciples of all Nations". It's a 2-part requirement. First, we are to "go" into our world, our workplace, our families, our local grocery... and introduce people to Jesus and the salvation He offers. Our commission doesn't end there though. We also are called to "make disciples" - Jesus says this begins with their baptism (the moment they receive forgiveness of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit - Acts 2:38) and it continues with teaching them ALL of Jesus' commands (we understand this to be the entire message of the Bible). BCC is committed to encouraging every member to see this as their responsibility and are committed, as a Church, to preparing people for this calling through our Adult Bible Classes, Children's and Youth Classes, Small Groups, Sermons and more.