BLC’s Vision & Goals 2021

Our vision is three-fold:
1. We love God (we worship)
2. We love and care for one another
3. We love and care for our neighbors

These are our three most important priorities. Said another way, this is simply what it means to be church. Not just in a pandemic, but always. The task for us in every season, then, is to decide how it is we specifically live into this vision. The following goals reflect our discernment around that very question. The Congregation Council and Rostered leaders worked together, over the course of several meetings and conversations, to land on these specific goals. These goals are not all that we will be about in 2021, but they give focus and priority to our ministry together. And based on the ever-changing realities in which we live during this pandemic, we deemed it wise to set goals for the first six months of this year- January to June 2021.

Goal #1: Evaluate and Decide on Live-Streaming Capability
In early 2021, it is a priority to consider installing live-streaming capability in one or both of our worship spaces. In early 2021, we will have a team review the proposals for live-streaming capability and installation. This team will make recommendations to Council, hopefully by the end of March 2021. Council, in its evaluation, will discuss the value of live-streaming and vote on whether or not to support this endeavor.

Goal #2: Intentionally Connect with High School Youth
Our high school youth are fully confirmed members of our congregation and are experiencing special challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, we commit to investing in our high school youth by way of:
1) fellowship activities and
2) incorporating their voices in worship.
From January – May 2021, we will offer 3-5 fellowship opportunities for our high school youth and actively invite them into worship leadership with the goal that 50% of our high school youth will participate in at least one fellowship event and one worship service during that time. Further, in anticipation for reemerging from this pandemic, we will convene a team of individuals (including at least two high school youth) by March 1, 2021, to begin planning activities for our high school youth during the summer and fall of 2021.

Goal #3: Adult Education and Small Groups
Strengthening community and a sense of belonging is vital to our congregation during the COVID-19 pandemic. To accomplish this over the next five months, we commit to:
1) fellowship
2) adult education and
3) Bible study.
We will offer one activity in each of these categories each month, with the goal that at least 75% of the community will participate in at least two activities from January to May 2021. Further, in anticipation for reemerging from this pandemic, we will convene a team of individuals to explore small group models to recommend to the church council in May 2021, for possible implementation in the fall of 2021.

Goal #4: Increase our congregation’s engagement with hunger/homeless ministries by 10%
Loving and caring for our neighbors, both near and far, is central to our faith and we believe is the work to which God calls us. Hunger and housing needs are currently at dire levels given unemployment and the Covid crisis. Bethlehem has a tradition of caring for those in need. We call on all Bethlehem disciples to recommit time, talent, and financial support to help sustain those who are without housing or adequate nutrition. We seek to double down on our efforts to support Hesed House, Lazarus House, and St. Andrew Lutheran Church. This ministry year we want to see a 10% increase in disciple engagement specific to our core food security/homeless ministries.

Goal #5: Expand and strengthen our missional partnerships
Missional partnerships are ministries and non-profits that align to our vision, values, and theology. Examples currently include Lazarus House, Hesed House, and Lutheran Social Services of Illinois. By the end of 2021, we will increase and strengthen our partnerships from a baseline of 3 to 5. Two multi-site initiatives (mission trips/global initiatives) will be initiated by the end of 2021.

I invite you to join us in reaching these goals, church! We set them not just for us as leaders, but for all of us as a congregation. Consider where you would like to pitch in- do you feel called to connect with our high school students? To show up on a Saturday morning at St. Andrew to distribute food to our neighbors, or to prepare food for Lazarus or Hesed? Or are you feeling energized by the possibility of joining with other disciples on zoom for small group learning and conversation? None of us need to do all of these things, nor can we. But, together, and with God’s Spirit moving among us, we can make 2021 an effective, growth-filled year!