We had a great day yesterday at our Eastside Vision Meeting, where we joined in partnership with our friends from Sammamish about what the Lord is laying on our hearts for the future of this church. For those who were unable to attend, we want to provide a brief synopsis of what we covered.
First, we desire for this new church to function from a place of shared leadership, deference, and trust. We are working hard, and seeking wise counsel from godly leaders, to understand how we can best structure the church in such a manner that would encourage trust, mutual submission, and deference among the elder team and ultimately among the whole church family. We’re sorry that, particularly in recent months, significant conflict has resulted in an inability to trust the leadership of the church. We have played a part in that, and ask for your forgiveness and also your prayers, as we seek to establish a new church moving forward.
Second, we are actively and prayerfully searching for a new Lead Pastor for this new church. We have some options that we are excited to share with you soon, as right now we are prayerfully assessing character and reviewing references in order to ensure that the man that we would bring before you is not only competent in his skill, but is a man who is marked by godly character. We are seeking to find someone who would help us to retain the best of our previous church (strong preaching, great worship services, etc) while helping us to grow in areas where we have been weaker in recent years, particularly in discipleship and missional engagement.
Third, the new church structure that we will establish will include controls for accountability. While we are still prayerfully considering how this will be written into our governance, we desire that the members of the church would have an active voice into the future by allowing them to affirm elements such as the slate of elders, and the implementation of new budgets. We hold to the conviction that the church, according to Scriptures, should be led by qualified elders who would appoint qualified elders. But we also desire to have accountability to the members of the church in such a manner that would allow their voices to be more readily heard. In addition, we are prayerfully considering how we can best partner with other networks or churches.
Fourth, we are presently working from some values as a church, as interim values while searching for our new Lead Pastor. Becauset we have been loved by Jesus:
We love one another
We grow together
We celebrate redemption
We serve joyfully
We never lose hope
Many have asked: how can I help during this time? You can help in several ways:
Pray. We are planting a new church on a very expedited timeline. We need your prayers and great favor from Jesus as we attempt to move forward.
Attend Interest meetings. We will be hosting interest meetings every Sunday in the cafe between now and the end of the year at 12:30p on Sundays. These meetings will be an opportunity to meet the elders, ask questions, and learn more about the future.
Ask Questions. We not only are open to your feedback, but we truly desire it. Please let us know your hopes, dreams, and questions about how this new church will come together.
Lastly, and most importantly, it is our utmost desire that this would be a church that loves Jesus, preaches the Word of God, and is a place that families would desire to attend – yours, mine, and others. We believe that the way for this to become a reality is to live our lives as one of an outpouring of love, as described in 1 Corinthians 13. This would mean that our church would be marked by patience, kindness, humility, truth, trust, and perseverance, among a host of other characteristics. We understand that we have at times operated in a manner that has not encouraged these characteristics, and in so doing, have brought much strife on the inside and criticism from the outside. On behalf of the elders at Bellevue, we extend to you our repentance and our genuine desire to move forward as a church that would be marked by authentic love, as rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is our commitment to you to continue to pour ourselves out in sacrificial service—the Gospel demands no less.
On Behalf of the Bellevue Elders,
This is actually a refreshing message. I still don’t know how you extend repentance to an entire group of people but it seems like progress that the note contains that sentiment without any obvious messages to give money.
I hope some of the people attending the vision meeting will ask questions, as invited, about the amount of money the church plans to give to the Ethiopian and Indian church planters when the church folds.