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 6)

Posted by Jeff Byerly on Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 3:14 PM

THE MINISTRY

You have heard it said that ministry is the important work that pastors do. It involves preaching to the congregation, visiting the sick, and organizing the sacred events of the church … but I say to you that ministry is the work of the body in community under the influence and direction of the Holy Spirit.

I remember in seminary discussing the Ephesians 4:11-13 passage and the need for us pastors to equip our churches to become mature. This is the verse that changed how many of us viewed ministry: “So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.” However, we focused primarily on how pastors were to equip the body, but we sort of ignored the other roles in the APEPT (Apostle-Prophet-Evangelist-Pastor-Teacher) model.

I am convinced that we need to rediscover the five-fold ministry of the church. And I am saddened that I still have to talk about ministry in terms of the clergy-laity divide. For I see plenty of examples “out there” where the body still regards the pastor as someone special who is here to serve the body, and where my colleagues’ conversations revolve around this same traditional model. If we are to take the message of Ephesians 4:11-13, (and verses 14-15 too), then we must learn to redevelop the APE (Apostle-Prophet-Evangelist) roles of the APEPT model described above.

What we have been handed from Christendom (the church-centered society of the past) is the removal of the apostolic impulse of the gospel. Ministry, during this time, was divided into “us and them” models. Ministry to “us” was primary that we are the chosen, inside the walls of safety of the church. Ministry to “them” was secondary, that is, we are to change those dangerous people outside of the walls so that they can come inside. This looked like an infrequent raiding party sent out from the castle. We would drop the drawbridge, ride out through the towns and villages, gather as many as possible, and then ride back quickly to the castle with those who were worthy, and pull up the drawbridge. That, my friends, was evangelism in the Christendom model. Once inside, the pastor would care for the needs of the castle inhabitants.

However, true ministry involves the entire body. It moves way beyond the pastoral role. It involves leaders who are apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, pastoral, and rabbinic. It involves the body engaging people every day (not just during evangelistic crusades). It involves the body under the direction of the Holy Spirit creating a culture that looks like the kingdom. This features hospitality, transformative experiences, communication, koinonia (fellowship), worship, and gathered witness. (I’m sure I missed many other features). It is organically infused by the Holy Spirit within the life of the body. It is the culture that the church experiences. It is in essence, “beautiful” ministry. It can and will become messy. It is not easy, but it is always beautiful!

It is simply a culture of kingdom lived in and throughout the community of people God calls to his body. It is not controlled by the pastor or other leaders. It is led by the Spirit through the APEPT model. Recently I heard Alan Hirsch explain that the American Church cannot hope to achieve maturity without this APEPT model. His point was simple: If you start with a call to unity in the church (Ephesians 4:1-6), and want to develop maturity as found in Ephesians 4:13-18, then the church cannot bypass Ephesians 4:11-12 –equipping through APEPT. It is that simple.

I would lastly say that this model must remove the castle walls. If I may say, this former model represents a ministry of hard boundaries and a soft core—a ministry that defines better how to distinguish people on the outside, but very little to define who we are on the inside. Today, we must work to replace this model with softer edges, and a firm core. Within this model, we spend less time defining who is in and out, and focus on what it means for everyone to be in. People may not like the soft edges, because now they can’t tell if someone is in and out. But this is really for God to determine anyway.

If we focus on the core, which I’ll call the ministry of discipleship, we can help everyone who will come within sight or sound of the community. The ministry (of discipleship) draws us all one step closer to the core. It is no longer about counting heads on Sunday morning. It is not about Sunday School or small groups. It is released through the body – one on one, two by two, or in groups. It is the life pulse of the Spirit released upon unsuspecting by-standers, who sense the ministry of the body in life-producing ways. That is ministry!

We do some of this in the church today, but we keep it from unleashing. We relegate it to the pastors to make it happen. We keep the boundaries rigid, and we keep the core very soft. If we can see ministry as happening through the body internally and externally (without the jargon of inside and outside language), then we can allow the Spirit to move in our midst and beyond.

And next week will be the last installment of the “You Have Heard It Said” with a focus on kingdom ...

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