Transition Task Force

Tuesday March 1, 2022

Member’s Present: Pastor John Bookshaw, Tom Coburn, Kathy Marsh, Julie Price, Jaci Roark, Ed Rosa, Sandy Rosa

Member’s Absent:  Mike Faust 

Before we started into the agenda, Pastor shared with us his experience with churches that followed the Transitional Task Force process before calling a new pastor.  This process helps congregations to focus their feelings and plans for the future, which in turn will possibly facilitate a quicker and more successful call.  Other churches that have opted not to follow the process have endured lengthy and unsuccessful calls because the congregations can’t focus on what they want and need for their mission and ministry.

1. Pastor John opened the meeting with a discussion of Matthew 28:16-20 which demonstrates that Jesus has all authority over the entire universe, and He commanded the disciples to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them… teaching them to observe all that I have command you.  And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”  We need to recognize that God has a plan for Bethlehem and will be with us thru this process. Pastor then opened the meeting with a prayer.

2. Dates for Meetings 

Pastor provided us with dates and times for eight meetings that members of the congregation can sign up to attend.  Signup sheets for these meetings will be in the Fellowship Hall.  There will be slots for 10 people plus a place for task force members to sign up to be note takers.  These dates are on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in March and April.  If needed, we may have additional meetings for the “snowbirds” when they come back.  Pastor will talk with the shut-ins during his visits.

3. Discussion questions

Pastor shared with the group an outline of the questions every group with be asked to discuss in their meetings. It is important that everyone has the opportunity to provide their input in where BLC is going in the future.

4. Review By-Laws of BLC 

Pastor reviewed our current Constitution and By-Laws.  He commented on the fact that the constitution was standard for most Missouri Synod Lutheran Churches.  However, he questioned whether we realized that we had 35 elected positions defined in our By-Laws and wondered if that was reasonable for a church our size.  He asked if our By-Laws were effective for our Mission and Ministry?  How do we function and should we improve the By-Laws?

5, Bethlehem Lutheran Church Mission and Value Statements

The group reviewed our mission statement – “To the Glory of God, Bethlehem Lutheran Church seeks to P.R.A.Y. and P.L.A.Y together in Christ”.  We explained how the mission statement had been developed over ten years ago and what it means to the members of the task force.  Kathy shared documentation on what P.L.A.Y. and P.R.A.Y. stands for. When asked if members of the congregation understood that the group explained that in the past Pastor Thiel regularly included this information in our Sunday services bulletins.

6. Banners in Sanctuary reflecting our Core Values

The task force members reviewed the eight-core value statement, then Pastor asked if there was something missing??   This was followed up with quite a bit of discussion around why we didn’t have anything related to our local community and outreach to the unchurched people in our area.  Do we think people feel comfortable coming to our church?  We need to decide, going further, if reaching people outside of our membership is something we want to do??

7. Future discussions will involve defining our Mission and Vision Statements.  That is not to say that we need to necessarily change but we do need to examine what our ministry is all about and where we are going.  This is extremely important before we make a call for a new pastor.  Potential candidates will want to know if their own personal goals are compatible with our church’s goals.

     We closed with the Lord’s Prayer.   Our next meeting is at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday March 22, 2022