This morning has been a real privilege. I went to the first Service at Bethel and thoroughly enjoyed the worship, one of the main high points of my time here, so much so that I stayed for the worship at the second service as well.
But I was really taken aback by what came next. It started with corporate prayer for the Bethel Ministry School students who are now out on mission. 1,200 students are visiting 57 nations over the coming week to 10 days! Kris Vallaton has just returned from Mozambique and shared the testimony of a boy aged about 5 who was both deaf and dumb and was totally healed!
Bill Johnson then spoke about the absolutely vital importance of mission and the way that the early church stayed in Jerusalem until they were scattered through persecution. The Good News is so great that we mustn’t keep it to ourselves we must share it with others, locally, regionally, nationally and with the nations.
“You can either impact the world or you can have the best party on the Titanic.” Bill Johnson
Each of us was given a booklet detailing the missions and missionaries that Bethel supports. there are seven missionaries who are majorly supported by Bethel (one of whom is in Scotland!), with a total monthly support from Bethel of approximately $10,000. There are another 15 missionaries who are indirectly supported in significant ways by members of Bethel Church and a further 28 missions or missionaries who receive regular support of $100 a month.
We heard the testimony and wisdom of a couple, Mike & Lynne Chandler, who have served as missionaries for 26 years and now serve Bethel and their missionaries as their Missions pastors. They spoke about the changes in missions work from a lifelong calling to a particular place to a calling to mission in a way that raises, trains and empowers local indigenous leaders and then knows how to get out of the way to allow them to lead. Long term missionary commitment going hand I hand with short term missions trips.
We then heard from one of their missionaries who has been supported by Bethel for 30 years. Tracy Evans is in Mozambique with a vision to see the poverty, disease and death that country has experienced reversed. They are reaching thousands of people with holistic community development including a feeding program that daily provides medical care and milk for 900 orphan infants and HIV+/handicapped children.
What so struck me was here is a church that is abundant and extravagant in their support for sharing the Good News both locally and across the world. It is a community of people who are both sent and send others. The intentional pursuit of God’s presence, healing and the miraculous are important parts of the life and ministry of Bethel, but so are feeding the hungry and caring for the needy, both in Redding and across the world.