Pastor's Blog

Thursday, August 23, 2018

"Our vision is to intentionally transform communities through Christ." This is Buhler MB's new Vision Statement.............

"Our vision is to intentionally transform communities through Christ."

 

This is Buhler MB's new Vision Statement. With God's guidance and help, the Renewal Team has been working hard to develop our church mission, core values and vision and now that has been accomplished with the drafting of a Vision Statement.

 

A church vision is a statement of God's future for our church. It is intended to provide guidance for every ministry of the church, from nursery to the preaching and worship for our congregation and everything in between. Our Vision Statement goes hand-in-hand with our Mission Statement: "Our Mission is to glorify Christ by loving God, loving others, and making disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit."

 

In order to understand and apply this Vision Statement, you need to understand three very important words in it.

 

First, consider the word "transform." Transformation is a metamorphosis, a radical change in nature and identity. An example from nature is when the contents of a cocoon are dramatically and completely changed into a beautiful butterfly because of God's creative work. To transform a community is to see God's work of power and grace totally change its nature in a way that brings glory to God. The Holy Spirit is the ultimate agent of transformation.

 

Second, take the work "community." A community is a group of people who share one or more common characteristics such as common beliefs, culture, work or ministry. For example, our church is an evangelical faith community. We share a common faith, ministry and church culture. But, as a church at work for the Lord, we impact and help change different types of community. There is our own congregation, but there are also smaller communities within our church such as Sunday School classes, small groups and ministry teams. As a church, we also can help change our greater community of Buhler and beyond. We can also help transform other communities of faith in Reno County and around the world. After all, our God is a BIG and powerful God who wants us to dream BIG.

 

Third, we read the word "intentionally." This strong word means we are praying, planning and working hard to be "transformers" using our message of God's love and good news. If we do something intentionally, we plan for it and we expect it to happen; we do it on purpose. Everyone in the church is needed to be committed to doing the work of biblical transformation on purpose. It motivates us, inspires us, encourages us and stretches us, but we do it! We call that acting by faith in obedience to God.

 

We will know when our Vision Statement is being accomplished when our vision statement is being achieved. Here is our Vision Statement again: "Our vision is to intentionally transform communities through Christ." Let's start moving toward that future with God's help.

 

#BMBC #Vision #mission #transformation #community #church

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

There have been several questions raised in our discussions about some changes that are going on in our church so I thought I would try to answer these questions for everyone.....

There have been several questions raised in our discussions about some changes that are going on in our church so I thought I would try to answer these questions for everyone.

 

First, some have raised a concern about any changes that might be made in our commonly held doctrine. Along with that question is another that states, "Will our new Constitution and By-laws contain any changes in our beliefs at BMBC?" As your current Interim Pastor I can state with firm conviction that I would not recommend or approve of any doctrinal changes in what we now hold as an MB Church and I believe your Church Council holds this same conviction. As a member church of the U.S. Conference of the Mennonite Brethren Churches, we hold to the Confession of Faith of the USMB.

 

Having said that, I do need to make sure that any candidate that is considering becoming your next pastor be vetted carefully and prayerfully on life, doctrine and ministry. I will advise the Pastor Search Committee to request applicants who are being seriously considered submit to BMBC their personal doctrinal statement for church-wide consideration. Make sure you know where he stands. He will also need to be examined on doctrine and fit with the USMB by the District Faith and Life Committee and that's expected for all candidates at MB Churches. These safeguards are very important.

 

A second question and concern is will our proposed By-laws contain details for ministry by our different ministry teams and leaders? Let me answer that by saying the new By-laws will not go into detail on every aspect of administration and leadership but will paint the broad brush-strokes of leadership. Here's how the different guiding documents of our church will work.

 

The Constitution is the big-picture of what our church is and what it does. Below the "umbrella" of the Constitution comes the By-laws. This document, which is a little longer that our new, short Constitution, will guide our church in how the major ministries of our church do ministry. If the Constitution is a view of our church from the 35,000-foot level, the By-laws look at our church from the 10,000-foot level. Just enough information will be given to see how the ministries of our church begin to work together to accomplish our church Mission. The Constitution and By-laws are changed or amended only by the membership acting as a governing body.

 

The By-laws will have enough information to guide each ministry and leader on the "street-level" in developing policies and procedures to make our church work well and work together. As a further help, each ministry leader will develop or follow a ministry-specific Job Description. The final level of guidance will be given by our different ministry teams who will set goals and evaluate progress and growth for their ministry. This is kitchen table work.

 

To ensure that our church is running and serving well for the glory of God, the Church Council (of Team of Elders if approved) will approve all policies and Job Descriptions.

 

Please continue to raise questions, positive comments and concerns. That is needed.

 

#BMBC #USMB #constitution #by-laws #churchcouncil #elders

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Thursday, August 09, 2018

Marty and I just returned from a wonderful vacation to Maine. On this get-away from intense transitional ministry, I found rest, encouragement and spiritual renewal, so I thought I would share with you some reasons why you need to make sure your next pastor plans good vacations..............

Marty and I just returned from a wonderful vacation to Maine. On this get-away from intense transitional ministry, I found rest, encouragement and spiritual renewal, so I thought I would share with you some reasons why you need to make sure your next pastor plans good vacations.

 

Pastoral ministry is more difficult than ever and constantly giving yourself to shepherd your sheep is draining. Your pastor needs to come apart before he falls apart. Burn out comes too easily to those in life and ministry who do not take intentional time out from ministry.

 

Like everyone else, your pastor is not super-human and needs times of solitude and sitting at the feet of Jesus. This does not come easily when you have a computer, cell phone and 24/7 availability for everyone all the time. Even Jesus had to get away from the crowd, pray and listen to his Father.

 

A vacation provides an opportunity to meet new people and make new friends. These choice gifts are often ways God gives to have everyday conversations that do not involve discussions about the church but can provide opportunities to have discussions about the Lord and his grace. A vacation can provide those special "divine appointments."

 

On this vacation, my wife reminded me to leave my laptop at home. You've heard of the phrase "business before pleasure"? A good, intentional vacation can reverse this to "pleasure before business." And, there's nothing sinful about that if done on a planned basis.  

 

Vacations help you to enjoy the little things like the peaceful chirping of birds and the relaxing crash of ocean waves against a rocky coastline. Sometimes it takes a good vacation to better understand and appreciate the peace of God that cannot be understood in the day-to-day grind of church stuff.

 

A good vacation can help provide healing from illness when rest and relaxation is observed. I can say that's what happened to me these past few days. Many times, a pastor can need healing even if he doesn't realize what he needs.

 

Time away from the work of ministry can also provide the opportunity to read a good book for personal enjoyment and enrichment. Pastors too often read just for church business   On my vacation, I picked out a very good book from our church library by Chuck Swindoll titled, Paul. It's the story of the Apostle Paul and God has blessed me through reading it by renewing and encouraging me in my life and ministry.

 

And, did you know that a good vacation can help strengthen the relationship between your pastor and his wife and children? It gives him time and opportunities to share his heart and life with those he loves, and pray with them. This is something that gets too easily crowded out by daily ministry and meetings.

 

I'm sure there are other reasons to make your next pastor take adequate time away from church ministry, so why not plan now on helping your next pastor take good vacations.

 

#BMBC #vacation #rest #renewal #encouragement #ministry

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Thursday, August 02, 2018

I'm always pondering the question, "What will it take for Buhler MB to grow?"......

I'm always pondering the question, "What will it take for Buhler MB to grow?" I ask that question because our community of Buhler has many people who either do not yet know Jesus as their personal Savior and Lord or who are an active part of a local church. Let's call it about 400 or more people. That's our home mission field.

 

Here are a few thoughts that mull around in my brain and heart.

 

Buhler MB has the potential to reach many more people with the gospel of Jesus. We've got the resources, the people, the money and many have the desire. But so often it's like we have a rich oil reserve right under our property that is not being drilled. We tend to sit on the resources that God has given to us without accessing or using them. Prayer is the well that taps into our "reserves" and we need to use that God-given resource to drill deep into what he has already provided. I believe we pray but just not enough or use fervent intercession for the lost and for our community. Every believer can be a prayer catalyst at BMBC.

 

For us to grow we need to be trained to reach out from our comfort zone and reach into the hearts of people around us. I think of our many short-term missionaries that we are blessed to send out to other countries or states. We praise God for helping us to be a sending church, but do we need to be as eager to send people across their living rooms or home town streets. As Ephesians 4: 12-14 says, we need to be equipped by the church and empowered by the Spirit of God to just go and use whatever spiritual gifts we have to win the lost and welcome the hurting.

 

We also need to remove the obstacles to growth that have grown like weeds in our church. Look around and see hindrances to growth such as untrained ministry team leaders and using old ways of doing ministry when new methods are required to reach new people and new generations. We need new and better communication methods rather than continuing to try old ways. It didn't take me long to discover that BMBC has been trying to serve our church and community with a phone system older than a decade and a website that is years old in format with little updating. We also need an updated system to reach out to our visitors and guests.

 

God wants his church to equip and empower leaders. So, how are we doing with that. The Lord of the church has given leaders to each church, but many need to be asked, trained, coached and encouraged to lead through a church-wide leadership development process. That's lost somewhere in our church business, but it can be found. Underneath that, are we as a church hindered from growth by not having a clear pathway for every ministry to make and multiply disciples of Jesus? The good news is we have a Renewal Team that is starting to develop one.

 

Maybe you have some other ideas on how to remove obstacles to numerical and spiritual growth in the church. Please share them. The church works best when it works in unity as we strengthen and encourage one another. Go for it, Buhler MB!

 

#BMBC #church growth #empowering leadership

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

We are moving forward as a church in the days of transition between pastors. That's one of the benefits of having an Intentional Interim Pastor. If the church had just moved directly into a pastor search phase, it may have produced superficial comfort but no forward progress. And, if BMBC had called a traditional Interim Pastor to maintain a preaching schedule and do "regular" pastor duties, it would also have been very difficult to help the church recover and make progress toward becoming a better, more effective church in Buhler. So, positive progress is being made. But with progress comes some bumps in the road of progress that we travel together.

First, I have noticed that healing ourselves and the church cannot be complete until we remove the Band-Aids and bandages and open up the wounds from the past to fresh air. This is done in the church by seeking and giving forgiveness when possible and helping with biblical reconciliation within the body. Some in our church family still have not forgiven others including previous pastors for offenses that happened in the past. Until everyone exposes the wounds to the fresh air of God's grace, the health of the church cannot be fully restored.

Another bump in the road for our church in our journey together is the former failed attempts to change our Constitution and By-laws. New structures and ministries have been needed, but our failed attempts have been piling up as bumps in the middle of our road to health as a church. Some of these include disagreements and debates over the name and function of the governing body (e.g., council vs elders; shepherds and deacons). Agreement on the leadership role in the church of women is another bump. Some also seem to have a fear of sliding off the road into a theological ditch of liberalism. At least part of navigating around or over these bumps is the need for clear and simple communication and an openness to healthy debate based on the Word of God. Godly, servant leadership is needed as is obedience to the Word of God.

There will be bumps in the road on our journey but we can refuse to let them cause us to detour or turn around and go backward. And, we can travel around or over them if we keep traveling together and moving forward toward our destination. So, seek forgiveness if you have been wounded. Always practice grace because Jesus does and wants us to follow him. Work hard together to develop simple, helpful and clearly understood ministry and leadership structures. Respect one-another's different opinions and convictions about biblical non-essentials after trying to listen and understand each other.

A banner on our coming, new website says this to all of us: "Come with us on a journey to know and follow Jesus." That includes you and me.

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

What can you see? I'm not talking about looking and seeing something with your eyes. I am talking about vision, and in particular, the vision for our church.

A vision for us at BMBC is a God-given picture of our future if we allow God to have his way with us in Buhler and beyond.

This week the BMBC Renewal Team starting working on a vision from God for our church, and it was a great meeting. I just love it when I can see the Spirit of God working on a church like ours to give us a glimpse into God's future. And, I wish all who make this church their home in Christ could have watched our Lord at work in the early stages of giving us a God-sized vision for our church through a small working group of people committed to this task. 

Here are a few insights into this vision thing that is developing:

First, vision from God is the product of fervent, church-wide prayer. So, let's take this seriously and seek God together for insights into his will for our church and community.

Second, vision is all about God at the center of all we do as a church. It's not about us. It's about Christ at work in and through us.

Third, vision is what gives hope. It also generates excitement about our future as a church in Buhler. A true vision from God is contagious and attractive.

Fourth, vision needs to be pursued with a passion. Forming or using programs of different individuals in the church following their own vision and dream doesn't work.

Fifth, vision needs to be owned by everyone, and especially by every ministry and ministry team.

Remember, the only way you can see the future as God see it is not by looking backward, or even at the present condition of our church. You have to look forward by faith.

We need the faith that believes with a passion the words of Ephesians 3:20-21 – "Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Let me close with a definition of church vision by author and church consultant, Dr. George Bullard, Jr., "Vision is a movement of God that is memorable!"

So, what can you see this church looking like by December 31, 2020?

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Core values for a church are what will guide every ministry in serving the Lord Jesus and expanding his Kingdom. This list of values will guide us to accomplish our mission of glorifying Christ by loving God, loving others, and making disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit. The following core values have been recently developed by our church Renewal Team and are now approved by our Church Council.

The Core Values of Buhler MB Church

We are a community of faith that believes in the absolute authority and power of the Word of God; and, we are a church that is guided by five essential core values that are built on the foundation of the Bible and prayer.

Worship
We worship our Lord in spirit and truth to bring the highest glory and honor to Him through our preaching and teaching, our prayers and thankfulness, our music and our testimonies of God at work. True worship happens both together and as an essential dynamic of our daily life. [Psalm 95:6; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 150; Luke 4:8; John 4:23-24; Rom. 12:1; Eph. 5:19; Phil. 2:9-11; Col. 3:16-17; Rev. 4:11]

Relationships
We value a growing relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. As ambassadors of Christ, we seek loving relationships because Jesus does. By his grace we are empowered to love others. [Rom. 12:10; Rom. 15:7; 1 Thes. 3:12; 1 Pet. 4:8; Heb. 10:24; 1 John 2:10; 1 John 3:18; 
1 John 3: 23; 1 John 4:7; 1 John 4: 11; 1 John 4:21]

Service
We are compelled by God to give humble and joyful service in the name of Jesus with Christ-centered hospitality. Our service is a reflection of Christ's love for us and others. [Rom. 12:11; Rom. 12:13; 1 Cor. 9:19; 2 Cor. 4:5; Gal. 5:13; Gal. 6:2; Gal. 6:9; Eph. 6:6-7; 
2 Thes. 3:13; Heb. 13:2; 1 Pet. 4:10]

Sending
We are commanded by God's authority to be on mission for the gospel of Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, in our homes, community, nation and around the world. In prayerful dependence on God, we are committed to equipping believers to respond to God's call on their lives, to go and make disciples of all nations. [1 Chr. 16:24; Is. 52:7; Ps. 96:3; Matt. 24:14; Matt. 28:19-20; Mark 16:15; John 20:21; Acts 1:8; Acts 13:2-3; Acts 13:47; Rom. 10:13-15; 1 Thes. 2:4]

Stewardship
We believe that everything we have has been entrusted to us as a gift from God. It is our responsibility to be wise and faithful stewards, giving freely and cheerfully of our time, talents, gifts, and resources. We have been chosen by God to participate with Him through our service in the work of His Kingdom. [1 Chr. 29:12; Prov. 3:9; Mal. 3:10; Matt. 6:24; Matt. 6:33; Luke 6:38; 1 Cor. 4:2; 2 Cor. 9:6-7; Gal. 6:9; Eph. 4:7; 1 Thes. 2:4; Heb. 13:5; 1 Pet. 4:10]

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Thursday, July 05, 2018

How in the world do we get there from here? Good question for a church like us. But maybe we need to first start with another question.

Let's start with the question, "What and where is 'there'?"

For our church, Buhler MB Church, the answer is found in our Mission Statement. Simply stated, our Mission is "to glorify Christ by loving God, loving others, and making disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit."

Our mission statement points us to what and where God is calling us to go as a church. It is based on the Great Commandment (Matt. 22:37-40) and the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-20). Not only is it our assigned mission from God, but it is also our destination, much like you determine your destination on MapQuest or Google Maps.

On our journey "on mission" as a church, we will know when we are getting closer when we become more and more like our destination. When every ministry we do evaluates how it is doing by checking to see if we are getting closer to "there" from "here," we will be going in the direction that God has given us. 

The goal of every ministry will be answered by direction questions: Are we bringing more and more glory to Christ? Are we helping one another love God better? Are we helping one another love others better? Are we making more and more growing disciples of Jesus? Are we depending on and using the God-given power of the Holy Spirit as we go in the direction of our mission?

In getting "there" from "here," we need to follow the road signs and directions that will guide us in accomplishing our mission from God. We are calling these mileposts and road signs our Core Values. The Renewal Team has worked and prayed hard to identify five values to which we will be committed on our journey. You might say our highway to get to our destination has been determined by the Word of God and prayer. Our directions on where to turn, what to avoid by way of detours and how fast we should go are found on the following core value signs or directions: Worship, Relationships, Service, Sending and Stewardship.

At this stage of our journey, we have prayerfully determined our destination and what will guide us in getting from here to there. Will you and your ministry join us in this journey?

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The W's of the Leadership Retreat

Pastor's Blog

October 18, 2018

 

On Saturday, November 3rd, we are having a BMBC Leadership Retreat and all ministry leaders are invited.

 

Here are the facts:

 

What? The Leadership Retreat is an opportunity to have the ministry leaders at our church gather to hear about and talk about the continued transformation of BMBC and our various ministries.

 

Who? All ministry leaders and leadership team members are invited. This includes the leaders of our church ministries such as Christian Education, Worship, Wednesday Night Light, Youth, Pastor Search, Renewal Team, Council, Deacons, Life Groups, Kitchen, Sunday School classes, Spiritual Gifts Committee, Missions/Evangelism, Trustees, Children's Church, Communication Team, Decorating Committee, Library Committee, Social Committee, Women's Ministries, Ushers, Greeters, Nursery, etc. Pastor Charlie will be leading the retreat but will be assisted by members of our Renewal Team. If you are a team leader of a ministry and can't come, please get one or two other leaders from your team to come and report back to you.

 

When? The Retreat takes place on Saturday, November 3rd, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm in the meeting room of the Dillon Nature Center. Lunch and snacks will be provided. Those who attend will gain maximum benefit for themselves and their ministries if they come for the whole time.

 

Why? During the last 10 months, the Renewal Team has been seeking to help our church become healthier with a clear mission, vision and core values. These leaders have also been working on developing a "Simple Church" model and currently a disciple-making pathway to help all our ministries and members know how to be part of a church that is serious about spiritual growth by loving God, loving others and making disciples of Jesus. Now is the time to share how all this impact and help all ministries in the church. This retreat will be a call to participate in church and community transformation and will include training and coaching for ministry leaders.