Dear Congregation

My Letter of Resignation

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To say the past six years have been some of the best years of our lives would be an understatement. We came here six years ago with nothing but a passion to pastor, a small car, and a few possessions that somewhat filled the parsonage. Since then, we’ve been blessed with two beautiful children (who you have welcomed and embraced as your own), a lovable dog, and a board and congregation who earnestly explored what ministry could, and would, look like in the Bay Roberts area. We are beyond blessed and continue to see the future of Bethel as a bright light in the area.

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REVIEW: All Saints, the Movie

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Inspiring stories are great, but inspiring stories based on real life, are powerful. The All Saints movie is just that. It's a true story of how God inspired a pastor with a dream that, not only saved a small local church but, built a thriving faith community around an 'out-of-the-box' ministry.

REVIEW - All Saints Contest

ALL SAINTS is based on the inspiring true story of salesman-turned-pastor Michael Spurlock (John Corbett), the tiny church he was ordered to shut down, and a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. Together, they risked everything to plant seeds for a future that might just save them all.1

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Sexual Struggles and the Church

What Believers Must Remember

Reading Time: 4 minutes

In a world where our sexuality is a focal point, it’s not surprising that understanding sexual struggles (and sometimes resulting sin) can be problematic.  It shouldn’t really be surprising — the Church and culture speak different languages.  The key is understanding why and how to humbly move forward in grace and truth.

Sexuality and the Church

One of the biggest problems within the Church is that we may not fully understand the difference between temptation (or struggle) and sin.  On the other hand, we seem to be quite good at categorizing our struggles. For example, any sexual struggle is said to be a bigger issue than any other struggle. There even seems to be bigger and lesser struggles within sexual struggles.

Paul made a point to speak of the significance of sexual sin (1 Corinthians 6:18), but that significance isn’t really about being lesser or greater, rather how sacred our bodies are. The Church in Corinth clearly didn’t understand that significance.

In order to understand and respond to sexual struggles, we have to understand some fundamental concepts.  Here are five things the Church must remember:

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Why Drinking Coffee Doesn’t Save People and Why Serving Coffee Does

5 Reasons Why We Serve Coffee at Our Church

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We’ve allowed people to drink coffee during our worship services for quite some time now. Yes, it creates a relaxed atmosphere, but I’ve questioned its long-term effectiveness.  The more I think about it, the more I realize that coffee itself isn’t special.  It’s what happens in the process of serving and drinking that has the potential of changing lives.

Why Serving Coffee Matters

Changing lives, you say? Yes. In a world of selfishness, people are longing to authentically connect. And connecting as a community is a biblical concept.  In writing to the Churches in Galicia and Ephesus, Paul wrote:

“…do not use your [new] freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.” (Galatians 5:13, NIV)

How do you serve and love one another?

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32, NIV)

All too often we let these texts speak to us in a reactive way.  When something negative happens, we put on our loving and serving hats and try to make the situation positive.

But… what if we wanted to create a positive culture to begin with?  What if loving and serving actually described our Church community?  What if Christians engaged in authentic love and concern with fellow Christians?

I believe one of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect with each other.One of the ways we can proactively create a positive atmosphere, is by helping people connect. Click To Tweet

Want people to talk? Give them a coffee or a tea and a place to connect.

Here are 5 reasons why we serve coffee at Bethel:

1. Serving coffee provides social connection.

Our culture demands food when we connect together.  If you want to have an effective social event, there better be lots of food and coffee.  Likewise, if you show up to an event and refreshments are served, your social cues encourage people to connect.

2. Serving coffee inspires relationship.

A conversation, with a tea or coffee in hand, usually leads further than a conversation without.  You may think that’s an overstatement, and it probably is for those who like to talk.  For those who are a little socially awkward, however, having something to drink can break the ice and fill-in empty space.

3. Serving coffee invites participation.

Our coffee cart is a “self-serve” one.  One of our goals is for people to engage others in service.   Everyone has the ability to make a donation for their coffee, perhaps donate for someone else’s coffee, or simply offer to make a coffee for a newcomer.  Participation is an active ingredient in servant-hood.

4. Serving coffee allows for common ground.

It doesn’t matter what store-bought coffee you buy or drink, or even if you don’t buy coffee at a café at all, everyone is on common ground when we serve coffee.  Everyone is drinking from the same generic cup.   With that said, technology (ie. Keurig) allows us to offer a little bit of everything to help satisfy the cravings.

5. Serving coffee demands a seating area.

You can drink coffee just about anywhere, but as soon as you serve coffee to someone, people need a place to sit down.  If people sit down, they start talking, connecting and listening and the Church becomes that much closer to an authentic community.

To help facilitate, we allow people give a donation. There’s no pressure to drop some money in the jar, but we encourage those who can buy their coffee, to buy into this ministry of community.

Your turn…

Serving coffee certainly isn’t the only way to connect…

How have you helped people connect? Has coffee worked for you? Does something else work in your context? What would you like your local church to do to encourage people to connect?

I would love to hear from you!  Feel free to comment below, on social media, or by email (andrewholm@gmail.com).  SUBSCRIBE HERE!

We Don’t Have To Go To “Church”

The Power of Being Present

Reading Time: 4 minutes

It’s beautiful outside, we’re off for the day, why not spend time with family?  Do we really have to go to church every single Sunday?  After all, we’re saved by grace, not by how much we attend church services…right?

Going to church

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