Are you satisfied with the direction of our church?  I am pleased with many of the things we are doing at Bethlehem.  We just had a wonderful family movie nighty, where over 40 people attended the viewing of “Miracle at Midnight”.  Our family movie nights have been a positive part of our church life, as have some of the other family events we have held (like our trip to Adventureland and Faith & Family Night at Werner Park).  I am also pleased with our worship lives, both on Sunday and during special services (like Advent and Lent).  Our monthly Bible Studies with our women’s circle.  In fact, these Bible Studies have been so meaningful to me, I plan to offer a similar monthly Bible Study for the men this fall, after harvest.


Yes, I am pleased with many things in our church.  But am I satisfied with the direction of our church?  When I see our weekly attendance hovering at around 30, I have to say, “No”.  Now please understand, I am not blaming anyone for this.  I know that our lives and schedules are busy, and there are many reasons for our small attendance figures.  Believe me, those figures don’t mean we are failing in our mission.  But it’s not the direction I want for our church.  When I was called to be your pastor about ten years ago, I hoped to have an average attendance of 60-70.  That may have been overly optimistic, but it shouldn’t be half of that.


At the theological conference in Pittsburg, I was introduced to a program called “The Navigators”, which is being offered by Church Discipleship Ministry.  This program asks you to evaluate “where you are”, and “where you would like to be”.  It places no blame for “where you are”.  Instead, it tries to show you how to get to “where you want to be”.  It is called the Navigators, as the program navigates around obstacles to your destination, and shows you the best way to get there.  It is based on an “intentional disciple-making” process.  The goal is to “transform our congregation into a disciple-making congregation”.  It starts with me, your pastor.  The pastor first has to be “coached”, so he can go from “where he is” to “where he wants to be”, as a pastor.  This “coaching” can take up to a year, and is vital to the Navigators program.  It is not a quick fix, but a long term process.


I believe this is something we should consider at Bethlehem.  We have many great things going on here, but we are not “where we want to be”.  The Navigators and Church Discipleship Ministry may help to get us there.


Your friend in Christ,  Pastor Ron