Building Updates & FAq

Building Updates & FAq

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2022 FAQ
Building Updates & FAQ

Proverbs 16:9, “The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.”

The end of the year is a wonderful time for us to ponder the issue of stewardship. What unique perspective followers of Jesus can have: humbly trusting God with outcomes, even as we faithfully work where he has us. While this past year’s vote on building funds redirected us back to a season of prayer and consideration over how to best steward all God entrusts to us, it’s a joy to continue working to wisely steward resources to support ongoing ministry.

God has supplied us with a number of talented and sacrificial team members willing to serve—including, amongst others, our facilities manager, Jason Schrepfer, who happens to have experience in a number of relevant areas. Individuals like these have provided us with an opportunity to make a number of low-cost high-impact updates to our facilities. In November we shared plans towards this end.

Below is more explanation of some of the specific changes you can anticipate, as well as some of the desired practical and spiritual outcomes behind them; grouped according to three areas: in the foyer, in the sanctuary, and by the roadside.

Foyer Area Updates
"Following Jesus Together" Sign
This sign is designed to prominently express our Christ-exalting purpose as everyone enters our main entrance for unity and clarity.
Wood Cladding and Wallpapering of Columns
The wood is designed to protect the columns from chipping and obvious wear as well as create more of a warm, home-like feel to all who enter the main lobby that is intended to encourage informal conversations among the congregation and a greater sense of relaxed welcome to all.
Café Wall Refinish
The refinished wall is also designed to create a warm, home-like invitation to enjoy Connection Café and savor the blessing of fellowship.
Removal of the Lounge Fireplace / Prayer Room Wall

This is a significant change that includes several design intentions related to the wisdom of how the space might be most effectively used.

While the wall has provided a room for some prayer and special events, it has also been an unintentional barrier that limits current space and use. The removal of this wall is designed to allow for:

  1. More frequent use of this strategic space by more people on a regular basis.
  2. Increased capacity and flexibility in how this space is used for fellowship and ministries like funerals, weddings, Bible studies, socials, training events, and evangelistic outreaches.
  3. Broadened experience by many of the wonder of God’s glory displayed through the flowers, the field, the lake, the sky, and sun by bringing a warmth to the space where we gather for fellowship each Sunday. The current wall obscures one of the most wonderful views of God’s creation that we have on our property.

The intention is not to decrease prayer. In fact, we hope the church family has actually experienced an expansion of the prayer ministry as volunteers have permeated the foyer area and utilized a number of gathering rooms in the building. The intent is that this expansion would continue the permeation of prayer and fellowship in our midst.

Additional Children's Features
An area of children’s interest is planned for the new corner by the windows designed to capture their imagination, communicate to them, “You are valuable to us and to God” and provide a place that draws them together in relationship in a space within parental eyesight that encourages parents to stay around and fellowship
New Welcome Table
The new table is designed to help faithful servants of our welcome ministry joyfully and effectively communicate to new guests, “You are important to us. We want to get to know you.”
Sanctuary Area Updates
Remove select seats to add aisles
The removal of the seats is designed to make it easier for our church family to utilize the space that God has provided by removing a sense of “crowdedness” while at the same time making more of our seats accessible; especially those in the middle of our aisles.
Possible Rear Hall Wall Finish
The team is considering possible rear hall wall finish ideas that could be used by members to share prayer requests on the walls to provide more relational warmth than our current bare walls do.
Roadside Update
Replacement of current outdoor sign on Route 150 and new entrance sign to Bethany’s parking lot

The replacement sign on Route 150 is designed to better communicate our presence and identity as a church family that is following Jesus together to those who regularly drive by our church on this busy road.

The new sign is designed with a large legible lettering and internal lighting to increase our visibility in a way that captures attention and expresses eager hospitality to our community and guests.

Funding for the new signs is coming from memorial donations, not the general or vision fund. We are planning to have the new sign in place mid-January.

After the last congregational vote, the elders had a number of discussions with some members who were distressed by the proposed new sign. These concerns and discussions led to design changes for the 150 sign that replaced the website with the words “Following Jesus Together.”

We are thankful to be a family where members feel free to express every opinion openly. Please continue to express your opinions, share ideas, ask questions, and extend grace to one another over differences.

We realize that not everyone will agree upon the extent to which these kinds of changes will impact real ministry. Differences of opinion are going to occur in any healthy church family. Even so, we believe it is helpful for all to have a reasonable sense of clarity on some of the changes that are being made in an effort to more faithfully fulfill the ministry that Jesus entrusted us.

We pray that God will do a wonderful work in our midst in 2023 and the years to come.

To Him alone be the glory!

Why invest in building updates like this?
The church that Jesus promises to build is not merely a physical place, but a spiritual people (Mt 16:18; Eph 2:20-22; 1 Cor 3:9-17; 1 Pet 2:5). This is what he’s commanded his followers to be about: calling everyone to believe in his gospel, belong to his community, and become his disciple-makers (Mt 28:18-20). As such, any investments we make into material assets, whether now or in the future, should always serve to support and advance that glorious mission by equipping God’s people to do God’s work (Eph 4:11-16; Col 1:28-29; 1 Pet 4:9-11). While the primary way this is done is through the ministry of the word, we believe that these updates can serve practically to support God’s people doing the work of ministry (2 Chron 2:8-10; Ez 3:6-7; Hag 1:8; Acts 4:34-37).
What kinds of opportunities are we hoping these investments will open up?
We are prayerful that these kinds of investments will contribute towards directing the hearts of our community not inward, but upward, outward, and onwards—upward in worship of our Savior, outward in work for one another, onward in witness to our neighbors.
How do these projects impact what we plan to do next?
The projects are designed to be in alignment with any direction that we might choose in the near future.
Are these updates a commitment to the entirety of the proposed projects of last year?
No. While there is still intent to consider and propose next steps in terms of stewardship of the facility moving forward, these changes should be appropriate and be able to stand on their own as helpful means towards ministry faithfulness.
Are there any dangers we are working to avoid?

To be sure, any investment in material things can bring an amount of spiritual danger. Here are a few dangers we’re praying we can avoid as we strive towards faithful stewardship:

  • Deception: Material wealth can easily become a cover-up for spiritual impoverishment (Rev 3:17-19). It is very tempting to trust physical resources to cause spiritual growth; but this is a clear danger we are to avoid (Psalm 20:7). God’s work always depends upon God’s Spirit (Ps 127:1-2). External beauty is not the same as true internal value (Prov 31:30; Lk 21:1-6). It is all too easy to begin to believe that superficial things matter more than supernatural ones (1 Sam 16:7; Dan 4:30-32).
  • Discontentment: Contentment is a command for us to honor in times of little and times of much (Phil 4:12; 1 Tim 6:6-10). Thinking about our possessions, even as a church, can stir within us covetous desires we need to beware. Projects like these can tempt us to turn inward rather than upwards, outward, and onwards whereby we enjoy wealth enjoyed to the exclusion of those in need (Lk 16:19-25; Gal 2:10; Jas 5:9).
  • Distraction: We don’t want the building to overshadow other opportunities like mission projects, local ministries, church partnerships, evangelistic outreach, community needs (Matt. 25:31-46; Jam 1:27); most of which are either built into our current budget or require more people to research. But it is important to note that our primary limitation and competition for resources in regard to ministry is generally related to people rather than finances (Mt 9:37-38).
  • Division: Matters of wisdom and preference can often become a source of division. What one part of the body may believe is wise and helpful, another may be concerned about (Rom 14). It is possible that some initiatives can become unhelpful even though they may seem spiritual on the outside (Mk 12:38-44; 1 Cor 11:17-19). It is also possible to make accusations against extravagant worship as a waste of money, energy, & resources from a self-righteousness and selfish heart (Ez 4:1-5; Hag 1:7-9; Lk 10:39-40; Jn 12:3-8). It is important for us to prayerfully seek the Lord and extend grace and believe the best about one another and strive to do all things by faith (1 Cor 13; Eph 4:1-3; Rom 14).
What kind of Scriptures give cause for investing in projects that do not seem ‘essential’?
In one sense, almost no material resources are ‘essential’ to do ministry (1 Tim 6:6-8). But quite a wide variety of things can be helpful (Rom 16:1-2). Just like a home, a church facility is merely a tool to support the family members in expressions of love toward one another and toward their neighbors. Deciding what those helpful things are to faithful stewards takes wisdom, patience, prayer, & discussion amongst the various members of the church body; and ultimately comes about through the church’s generosity and excitement (Ex 35:21; Ez 1:5; Neh 2:12; 2 Cor 8:16; Tit 3:12-14).
Shouldn’t the focus be on spiritual things rather than physical?
While the primary emphasis of beauty, building, and workmanship is to be spiritual and internal in nature (Eccl 2:11; Lk 12:15-34; 1 Tim 2:9-10; 1 Tim 6:17-19; Tit 2:10; 1 Pet 3:3), this truth is not in conflict with God’s word which often implies that an internal worship often manifests & is celebrated in physical/externally ways (Gen 24:35; 26:12-14; Job 42:10-17; Ps 144:13-15; Prov 31:10-31). The wisdom and excellence with which we arrange even the material aspects of our lives often expresses more than we might think to the watching world (1 Kgs 10:1-9; Mt 5:16).
How do these projects support where we believe God is calling us to invest?
Any financial investments in a building are merely ways to try to equip God’s people with the best tools we can offer, to help our church family share ‘Jesus’ more (Acts 1:8; Col 4:2-6), take ‘together’ deeper (Rom 12:10; Col 4:2-6), and push ‘following’ forward (Acts 2:42; 20:20-21; 1 Thess 4:1-2; Tit 2:1-4; etc). The design team has worked hard to look for ways the facility could support the areas of desired growth, by developing ideas on how to cultivate an environment that emphasizes outreach, welcome, and discipleship as described above (Ex 31:1-6; 2 Chron 34:8-14). Ministry in this facility by a variety of groups over the last 12 years has helped us learn a number of ways we could design our spaces to be more helpful to members and hospitable to guests in spaces that deal with traffic flow, wayfinding, children’s areas, stage focus, seating arrangements, furniture comfort, cafe efficiency, sanctuary access, and more.
How can we as the congregation be a part of the projects more than just financially?
God’s work depends on the generosity of God’s people, both financially, and practically (Ex 35:29; 2 Cor 9). There may be opportunities for Bethany members to participate in some elements of the interior projects.
Are there any ministry ideas or opportunities beyond facility projects for our church family to invest in and pray for?

Absolutely. In fact, the bulk of our ministry efforts and prayers do not relate to the facility. We do not view investment in the building as an either/or, but a both/and. We hope to communicate many of these ideas and prayers over the coming months and years. Several of these areas include: evangelism efforts and training, mission projects, compassion initiatives, community group development, outreach events, discipleship relationships and training, and more. Again, the most frequent limitations we face are not typically funding, but the need for committed and skilled leaders able to carry initiatives through to completion.

May God continue to help our church family follow Jesus together as we call everyone to believe in his gospel, belong to his community, and become his disciple-makers.