Service Schedule

Sundays 

Traditional Service 8:00 am

Sunday School 9:15 am (adult and children's options available)

Contemporary Blend 10:30 am (child care available)

Junior Church (K-5th Grade) 10:30 am

BYM Sr (8th thru 12th grade) - 6:00 pm

 

Wednesdays

Choir Practice 6:30 pm

Prayer Meeting 7:30 pm

Kidz Klub (age 4 thru 4th grade) - 6:30 pm

BYM Jr (5th thru 8th grade) - 6:30 pm

Men's and Ladies' Bible Studies - 6:30 pm

Directions

We are located at 155 Reedsville Road, Schuylkill Haven, PA 17972

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If you need to contact us, please call our office at (570) 739-2241. For office hours, click here.

Wet Cement Theology

 A blog from Jeff Byerly at Bethesda EC Church

The world doesn't need another know-it-all theologian. My goal is simply to search the Scriptures, analyze current theological dicussions, respond to the events of the global, national, and local communities in which I live, and share my life incarnationally in order to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with my God. As I do this please realize that I am wrong from time-to-time and more often than I think. :-) I am also naturally skeptical and often doubt convictions that are held tightly by many others. I invite you to dialogue with me in this same spirit--to explore how Jesus intersects with our world and to keep our sanity as we view this world from his kingdom perspective. 

YOU HAVE HEARD IT SAID ... (PART 5)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, December 20, 2013 @ 2:40 PM

THE CHURCH

You have heard it said that church is a place to go with events that are designed to incorporate your family and others into a worshipful setting with programs designed to educate your children toward spiritual maturity … but I say that the church is a community of people gathered around the Story of the Gospel, and empowered by the Holy Spirit in order to join with God on his mission to the world.

God’s kingdom happens when people are empowered by God’s Spirit to undertake kingdom work in the shape of community. It never happens without God’s preemptive guidance, but always involves a yieldedness to the Spirit, and as a result draws in together the people who will submit to the kingdom dream of Jesus.

I would venture that this is a far different approach than the average American family undertakes when selecting an expression of church. I hear it often, “We’re church shopping.” I want to sarcastically reply, “We are running a ½ tithing end-of-the-year sale with a coupon. Do you have one?” It’s as if our programs need to be better than the 30 churches in our area, or they’ll take their “we can get it bigger and better elsewhere” mentality elsewhere. As a result, our churches become competitors … we all know who is winning and losing these struggles. Meanwhile, we struggle in isolated frustration without lifting a finger to help each other – we cling to our pride of exclusiveness.

The real problem is that the Christian culture is thoroughly confused … the church that was handed to our generation had allowed a large vacuum to surround its existence. In that vacuum, televangelists exploited the public for money, the mega-churches gathered people from their neighborhood’s struggling churches into a spread-thin version of sit-in-the-pew Christianity, and the conservatives excluded every group that they did not want sitting next to them in their pews. The church was pretty aimless … and I, myself, couldn’t see it for what it really was.

What if church was simply people living and celebrating God’s redemptive kingdom together. I think that the church is made up of people who are like me and not like me, and people that I like and I don’t like. Some days I wish I could get rid of the difficult people, but then I quickly realize that after each purge, I will end up with a smaller group until I am eventually left with only myself. So the reality is that there will be people that I don’t like and people who aren’t going to care much for me either. How we work through those difficulties says a lot about what we think the church is!

The next big piece is the realization that the body is committed to transformation of others inside and outside the body – Again, it’s not about having the best outreach programs, Vacation Bible School, or teaching ministry. It’s about all people aspiring to live better … that no one is above being held accountable, or beyond being questioned. Call it being vulnerable and authentic. Call it everyone on journey together toward wholeness, maturity, and unity. This means we get to celebrate the work of God’s Spirit often within our midst over every major and minor victory in people’s lives. This body understands that we are not all at the same place in our journeys, but that we can celebrate God’s Spirit at work everywhere He reveals transformation. And no one gets left behind.

This involves the investment of lives into one another. This cannot be done through a weekly worship service or through a program, or by completing a workbook. It is only accomplished in community developed over the course of time in proximity to others. It produces support, challenge, decision, hope, endurance, and every flavor of outcome from life in community. It is people being committed to one another.

Yes, I've been dropping the big “C” word … “commitment.” However, I am not talking about being committed to the program, to the church’s financial viability, or a certain doctrine. I am talking about a discipleship where people are committed to live life together—to walk together, love together, grow together, and serve together. But the problem is that people wander in and out of churches looking for “consumption.” What they will get out of it. They shop for church.

However, the Church is where the kingdom is lived now … I hope you understand and stay committed to it. God, please help us all.

Next week … You have heard it said that ministry is …

 

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