A Letter from Pastor Randy

01/05/2009

This is the first time I have written a farewell article for a newsletter. Actually, I suppose it won’t be my last article for the BCRC newsletter, since I’ll be on staff here, but no longer as Pastor. If someone would have told me a year ago I’d be doing church planting at this point I’d have thought they had lost touch with reality. Though, I used to say, back in the days when I was a young eager beaver church planter, sometimes half-joking but always at least half serious, “Why is it always the younger people planting churches—why aren’t the older, more experienced and wiser followers of Christ doing this work and taking on this responsibility?” So, I guess God does have a sense of humor.
 

We are excited about what the Lord wants to do with this new work. As most of you know, Mike and Kathy went with Shirley and me (or actually we went with them) recently to visit Seattle for a few days to find out firsthand what is happening with the church planting there. We learned that each of the new churches (Dust, Awake, The House, Sanctuary, and Emmaus Road) are doing church very differently from the older established churches there (1st, Bellevue, and Mill Creek) and each of them is different from each other (depending on the unique make-up and needs of the community they are in, the gifts, style and personalities of the leaders, and who the Lord brings to them) but they all have the same heart. We were also fascinated to see how the new works interacted with the older churches and how the newer churches are revitalizing and impacting the older churches to look outward and impact the communities they are in with a new Kingdom vision. This has all taken some time, it hasn’t happened overnight, but it is happening. It was most encouraging to meet and to learn from all the different folks we were able to spend time with from both new works and established churches. Please be praying that we all can be open to God’s leading to see something like that happening here.
 

You are probably wondering as well what is happening with the sale of the church building. As I reported last month, River Valley Christian Fellowship was unable to secure the necessary financing so their offer is off the table. I also mentioned that this opened the door for Gallatin Valley Presbyterian Church, who said they would be interested in trying to purchase our building if River Valley were unable. Well, as it turns out they are also not able to make this work financially which should be no big surprise in this economy. Therefore, it seems that at this present time, the Lord has closed the door to our selling the church building.
 

With regards to the work of the Search Committee, good progress continues to be made. One person we have been in dialogue with has taken himself out of consideration. But, just recently the denomination sent us a list of about ten more possibilities. There is a committee of folks in Grand Rapids who meet once a month.  They review church’s profiles and pastor’s profile (which is quite a task) and then they match up the ones they think are a good fit for each other. This is a tremendous service and we are just beginning to initiate contact with these new possibilities. So, hopefully by the end of next month there will be some good news to report.
 

My farewell sermon is scheduled for January 11. We also look forward to celebrating the Lord’s Supper together on that date which will be very appropriate. Pray for me as I seek the words to faithfully sum up these last five years and to encourage and challenge us all in the work that lies ahead.

Pastor Randy Van Osdol