To Live as Jesus Lived and Love as Jesus Loved CONTENTS Pg.1 - 3: Importance and Scope of Christian Education Pg 4: The Harvest Festival (Community Outreach) Pg. 5: From the NYT Congregation Gone Wild Submitted by Don MacCanon
Pg. 6: A Mother’s Influence by Dwight Hall Submitted by Josie Holloway Pg. 7: Birthdays, Dates, Baby Shower/Potluck Pg. 8: September Church Calendar
BETHEL CHURCH OF CLEVELAND HEIGHTS 2706 Noble Road Cleveland Heights, OH 44121 Phone: 216.381.5501 Fax: 216.381.5568 email@example.com www.thebethelchurch.net Staff Scottye Holloway Lead Pastor Chelsea Mecaskey Office Manager
THE IMPORTANCE AND SCOPE OF CHRISTIAN EDUCATION Education, in the context of the church, is an all encompassing endeavor. While there is a tendency to separate education from worship, from spiritual growth, from fellowship and from ministry, in fact, Scripture gives learning and knowledge a central place in the Christian life. Peter ends his second epistle with the following exhortation: “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2 Peter 2:18) Growing in grace and growing in knowledge seem to be inseparable elements of Christian growth. Furthermore, it can be argued that education is an essential part of every activity in the church. We suffer from an “objectivist” viewpoint, which is a secular view of knowledge, which implies that the search for truth, the discover of knowledge is an end in and of itself. This impacts the way that we educate within the church and also impacts our understanding of the importance of education. Knowledge, the objective search for truth, is important. Christ aligned himself with truth (John 14:6) even to the point where the Roman philosophers of the day, who had so divorced themselves from objective truth because of the flexibility a relativistic moral framework allowed them, failed to acknowledge truth at all so as to avoid the implications of who He was (John 18:38). And yet, Christ is our prime example of how to teach without sole reliance on purely objective knowledge. Read through the words of Christ. It is remarkable how rarely He, who authored the very words themselves, quotes the Old Testament. Clearly it was not a matter of ignorance. He was the master of meeting people’s needs where they were. He moved people to an inexplicable loyalty, an unlikely desire to deny their own desires and take up their cross, and follow him. The task that the church faces is no less significant- to bind people to Jesus with a near-irrational, even fanatic, loyalty because of an understanding of who He is and what He has done for them. The result is people who are living transformed, righteous lives and making an impact on the world around them for the gospel. Christ’s example provide a basis for subjective and relational education. The example is so compelling that much of the church has moved to exclusively relational models in the exercise of Christian education. Yet, there is still room for objective teaching in Christian education. Scripture is full of exhortation to train your mind and to fill your mind with knowledge as an avenue to growth. In addition to the example
already cited from 2 Peter, a few other familiar verses echo this theme: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”- Romans 12:2 “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice.” - Philippians 4:8,9 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”- Psalm 119:11 “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.”- 2 Timothy 2:15 In the past 50 years, the church has begun to regain its intellectual footing. But, there is still a “faith first, mind second” approach in the church. This ignores the long line of brilliant, educated men that God used to build his church- the Apostle Paul, Jerome, Augustine, Luther, Calvin, and many more- and the fact that when Christians are literate and learned, the church has grown. When they are ignorant and isolated, they are forced into a defensive posture. The Puritans knew this well. When they landed on American soil, it wasn’t long before institutes of higher education followed, among them Harvard and Princeton. Matthew McMahon says this about them: Any man or woman who desires a life of true godliness before Christ should seek and search out those who exemplify a holy life. The Puritans exemplified this in the extreme. There was a two-fold ideology about them, 1) They knew their Bible well and consequently wrote deeply, and passionately about it, and 2) They put their knowledge about Christ into action. Compared to the 21st century church, they were biblically intellectual and spiritual giants…Religious and Secular education was a key element in the home, in the church and in the university. The Puritans were an educated group…Religious education was emphasized even more so. Puritan ministers knew the Word of God intimately. They did not just study it, rather, it became part of them. In today’s world, the primary challenges to the faith are doctrinal, intellectual and internal. The standard path of error and eventual apostasy is from a few scholars who impress their ideas on the uneducated church. The lack of training and lack of doctrinal rigor make the church, and particularly Baptists, easily swayed. This is further proven out by the fact that the Christian denomination with the highest conversion rate to Mormonism is Baptists. The body must be knowledgeable, thoughtful, Spirit-filled and well taught or there is little chance today that the church will have any impact for the Kingdom.
The goal of Christian Education There are three primary goals of Christian Education: Faith Forming. The first goal is that all people involved have a relationship with Jesus Christ. This means that, while the emphasis on Christian education is believers, there is room for unbelievers to engage, to explore and to better understand the hope that is in those around them. This is even more essential at younger ages where it is more likely that the participants do not have a personal relationship with Christ. Disciple Making. The next goal, and that which is most implied by the term “Christian Education” is the making of disciples. This is a fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28) and is an essential part of the sanctification process. To meet the goal of Disciple Making, education must meet the needs of a broad range of believers, from the new believer to the most mature. It must also provide instruction on the whole counsel of God as a companion to the preaching ministry of the church. Finally, it must provide for a broad range of learning and relationship styles so that all believers within the church are progressing along in sanctification.
Minister Equipping. Finally, Christian Education should be intent on building the skills and knowledge for ministry. In this context, training teachers, evangelists, servants, and administrators are all worthy examples of skills that God has provided as gifts in the church which should be developed so as to be exercised. The author of Hebrews has to chide his audience for their immaturity and, which is most obvious in the fact that those who should be teaching are not (Hebrews 5:12). Training those whom God has equipped to use their gifts is an important part of any education agenda.
The impact of Christian Education
There are several ways in which Christian Education in the church should impact believers. While this is not an exhaustive list, it provides some context for the potential that Christian Education carries in the church. Provides support for family worship and education in the home. We all aspire to train our families in the ways of the Lord and to support our spouses and our children in their walk to maturity. Christian Education can support this by providing context for parents to engage their children about important perfectly synchronized plans from infant through adult, but does introduce the possibility of common elements for common learning. Reinforces pastoral teaching in an interactive setting. Pastoral, expositional teaching is God’s prophetic voice in the church. However, it is not interactive, nor is it intended to be. Education settings can be a productive way to reinforce pastoral teaching or to provide an opportunity for response to the Holy Spirit after a sermon. Provides a forum for believers to encourage each other in the faith. Various educational forums can provide context for believers to build each other up and to share their struggles for feedback and encouragement in the Word of God. Provides a forum for accountability in doctrine and life. The education forums are a great place for believers to test ideas about life and godliness. It is a great place for new believers to understand how their thoughts line up against orthodox doctrine and for more mature believers to ensure that “progressive” ideas continue to adhere to the biblical standard. Provides a place to specifically tackle the major issues in the church today. While pastoral teaching generally follows a expositional pattern and a methodical progress through the entire Word of God, there needs to be a place for the church to be specifically responsive to emerging issues. Among those facing the church today: The battle for the Bible- The authority of Scripture is a never-ending topic of importance, and is under constant assault especially with evolution and the apostate liberal church holding the hearts of most in American society. Fundamentals of the faith- A “back to basics” forum is important as a unifier, for pre-membership and as a basis for moving forward. A base understanding of the truth of the gospel, the person of Jesus Christ, the basis of salvation, the nature of the Christian life and how to share faith is generally missing in the church. Salvation and Sovereignty- The church has lost its firm basis on some of the fundamentals of the Reformationsalvation by faith and unconditional election. Salvation by faith is under attack from old foes of faith plus works (with new titles like “progressive sanctification”) and man’s role in salvation has been elevated to such a significant status that God’s sovereign choice is denied. Postmodernism- The rejection of modernism has not resulted in a philosophical context favorable to Christianity, but one that is inherently hostile to truth. Joel Beeke says, “Fundamental to postmodernism is the rejection of rational systems of thought and any kind of meta-narrative. Christianity has a rational system of thought, summarized in its historic creeds and confessions; its meta-narrative is nothing less than the witness of Holy Scripture to the history of redemption in Christ, and its summary in the gospel…Their blend of radical skepticism, unbelief, eclecticism, and nihilism is making its impact on our world and the people to whom we must preach the gospel.” 1 Debra Dean Murphy, Theology Today, 2001 2 Matthew McMahon. http://www.apuritansmind.com/PuritanArticles/PuritanRoots.htm
The Harvest Festival You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. Isaiah 9:3
Community Outreach Time: 2:00-6:00 PM When: October 9th Where: Bethel Church of Cleveland Heights 2706 Noble Road (216) 381-5501 Dinner at 5:00 PM
If you would like to help with this event please contact Ryan Dyer, Amy Jones or Josie Holloway. We need people to assist with games, dramas, praise dancing, food, registration, setting up, tearing down and more. Let us celebrate this great community God has placed us in by meeting and interacting with our neighbors to the north, south, east and west. 4
Congregation Gone Wild
by G. Jeffry MacDonald Submitted by Don MacCanon
THE American clergy is suffering from burnout, several new studies show. And part of the problem, as researchers have observed, is that pastors work too much. Many of them need vacations, it’s true. But there’s a more fundamental problem that no amount of rest and relaxation can help solve: congregational pressure to forsake one’s highest calling. The pastoral vocation is to help people grow spiritually, resist their lowest impulses and adopt higher, more compassionate ways. But churchgoers increasingly want pastors to soothe and entertain them. It’s apparent in the theater-style seating and giant projection screens in churches and in mission trips that involve more sightseeing than listening to the local people. As a result, pastors are constantly forced to choose, as they work through congregants’ daily wish lists in their e -mail and voice mail, between paths of personal integrity and those that portend greater job security. As religion becomes a consumer experience, the clergy become more unhappy and unhealthy. The trend toward consumer-driven religion has been gaining momentum for half a century. Consider that in 1955 only 15 percent of Americans said they no longer adhered to the faith of their childhood, according to a Gallup poll. By 2008, 44 percent had switched their religious affiliation at least once, or dropped it altogether, the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found. Americans now sample, dabble and move on when a religious leader fails to satisfy for any reason. In this transformation, clergy have seen their job descriptions rewritten. They’re no longer expected to offer moral counsel in pastoral care sessions or to deliver sermons that make the comfortable uneasy. Church leaders who continue such ministerial traditions pay dearly. A few years ago, thousands of parishioners quit Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minn., and Community Church of Joy in Glendale, Ariz., when their respective preachers refused to bless the congregations’ preferred political agendas and consumerist lifestyles. I have faced similar pressures myself. In the early 2000s, the advisory committee of my small congregation in Massachusetts told me to keep my sermons to 10 minutes, tell funny stories and leave people feeling great about themselves. The unspoken message in such instructions is clear: give us the comforting, amusing fare we want or we’ll get our spiritual leadership from someone else. Congregations that make such demands seem not to realize that most clergy don’t sign up to be soothsayers or entertainers. Pastors believe they’re called to shape lives for the better, and that involves helping people learn to do what’s right in life, even when what’s right is also difficult. When they’re being true to their calling, pastors urge Christians to do the hard work of reconciliation with one another before receiving communion. They lead people to share in the suffering of others, including people they would rather ignore, by experiencing tough circumstances - say, in a shelter, a prison or a nursing home - and seeking relief together with those in need. At their courageous best, clergy lead where people aren’t asking to go, because that’s how the range of issues that concern them expands, and how a holy community gets formed. Ministry is a profession in which the greatest rewards include meaningfulness and integrity. When those fade under pressure from churchgoers who don’t want to be challenged or edified, pastors become candidates for stress and depression. Clergy need parishioners who understand that the church exists, as it always has, to save souls by elevating people’s values and desires. They need churchgoers to ask for personal challenges, in areas like daily devotions and outreach ministries. When such an ethic takes root, as it has in generations past, then pastors will cease to feel like the spiritual equivalents of concierges. They’ll again know joy in ministering among people who share their sense of purpose. They might even be on fire again for their calling, rather than on a path to premature burnout. G. Jeffrey MacDonald, a minister in the United Church of Christ, is the author of “Thieves in the Temple: The Christian Church and the Selling of the American Soul.”
A Mother’ Influence
by Dwight Hall Submitted by Josi Holloway
To a young couple living at the southern tip of England, a baby boy was born. The muscular father was known for his rigorous life on the ocean, for he commanded a trade ship that plied the waters for the Mediterranean. Little money reached home, however, and his wife spent many hours working for others so she could put food on the table. In spite of her constant weariness, she prayed often and earnestly for the boy and day after day gave him the home-schooling she knew he needed. It would be the only training he could receive in his younger days. Seeing he greatly enjoyed studying, she completed his lessons in English along with a full year of Latin- then she died suddenly just before his seventh birthday! Her passing was a great blow to the child. One year later, his father arrived home, remarried, and put the boy in boarding school far from home. Mingling with rough and profane children, and chafing under the severe and imprudent disciplines of the schoolmaster, the child grew bitter and hardened. At the age of eleven his father took him along to work with him on the sea. Each year the boy became more unmanageable and corrupt! Soon his life became so vile even his most wicked friends were warned to avoid him! But the past prayers of his mother were still having a powerful effect-there came a time when that man, John Newton, was thoroughly converted! The fact that God could save such a vicious, vile sinner as himself stunned him, and in later days as he thought it over with many tears he wrote “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!” Newton made a complete turn around, studied for the ministry and became a strong voice for righteousness! Among those who came to Christ under his preaching was a cultured, self-satisfied man named Thomas Scott. His life was marvelously changed, and by his pen and his preaching he led literally thousands to the Savior, Jesus Christ. One of those in his congregation was a sickly and depressed young man named William Cowper. God changed his life around and he, too, reached out to multitudes of people with the Good News of salvation in Christ! And to this day great numbers of people worship the Lord singing his song: “There is a fountain filled with blood, drawn from Emmanuel’s vein, and sinners plunged beneath that flood lose all their guilty stains!” Consider what a wise and wonderful influence that mother of John Newton had! What if she had failed to pray as she did? We still need mothers like that! Have a Good Day and a nice forever……
Bethel Birthdays CHALK IT UP
This is for any needs you might have or things you can share amongst the church body!
Potluck/Baby Shower Please sign up in the lobby for a Family Potluck & Baby Shower on September 17 at 7p.m. We will be celebrating the birth of Ashlynn Imani, daughter of Andre and Nadiyah Freeman, and the birth of Christina to Kumar and Champha Biswa through a combined potluck and baby shower. Please bring the whole family (including the men) for a potluck before the baby shower. Julie Lady will answer any questions at 216-321-1157.
Ruth Brobeck Luke Dumm Kathryn Harrison Elliot Dang Leslie Dumm Justine Brown Libby Dang Meredith Neufeld Sandy Seballos Michelle Lanier Lori Roberts Jim Evans Jennifer Biddlecom Marlo Apple Jean Lanier Richard Hill Jenn Bartlett Josi Brobeck Kai Gaskins Calvin Windom Mark Bartlett Mario Ruano
09/02 09/02 09/03 09/05 09/10 09/14 09/16 09/16 09/16 09/17 09/17 09/18 09/19 09/20 09/20 09/22 09/24 09/26 09/26 09/29 09/30 09/30
September Anniversaries William Wood & Joan Wood Dan & Gail Stomski Wesley & Celestine Gary
09/06 09/15 09/22
The October Bethel Pieces deadline: Sunday, October 26th Share your life in many ways!
Keep on eye on: www.thebethelchurch.net Watch for weekly updates including; the church calendar, sermon mp3s and missions reports.
September To live as Jesus lived and love as Jesus loved Sun
29 10:15 am Worship 2:00-5:00 pm Latvians 5:00-7:00 pm Nepalis
2 7:30PM Basketball
4 8am Men’s Bible Study
5 10:15 am Worship 2:00-5:00 pm Latvians 5:00-7:00 pm Nepalis
6 Labor Day
9 ICC conference All Day 7:30PM Basketball
10 ICC (All Day)
11 ICC (All Day)
12 10:15 am Worship 2:00-5:00 pm Latvians 5:00-7:00 pm Nepalis
13 6:00pm Meeting for Deacon/Deaconess es 6:30 pm Trustees 7 pm Prayer time 8:00 pm General Board Meeting
16 7:30PM Basketball
17 1:00-3:30 pm Homeschool Co-op
18 8am Men’s Bible Study
19 10:15 am Worship 2:00-5:00 pm Latvians 5:00-7:00 pm Nepalis
23 7:30PM Basketball
24 1:00-3:30 pm Homeschool Co-op
25 8am Men’s Bible Study
26 10:15 am Worship 2:00-5:00 pm Latvians 5:00-7:00 pm Nepalis
27 6:30pm Women’s Ministry Meeting
30 7:30PM Basketball
1 1:00-3:30 pm Homeschool Co-op
2 8am Men’s Bible Study
Office Closed No First-Monday Prayer
Bethel Pieces Deadline 8