It has been my great privilege since last fall to get to know and to get to serve the emerging generation in and connected to BCC's community. We call the ministry to these college students and young professionals Element, and as each week goes by, I become more and more in love with the hearts and the spirits of those who wander into the Element community.
From the beginning, those of us charged with steering the church's ministry to this group decided we didn't want to just put on a program. I for one was never interested in just hosting a 13th grade-type of attraction. We wanted to foster community, we wanted to not just hand out some information, but to actually bring young people into a more vital discipleship to Jesus. We are attempting this not just by holding a Sunday evening worship service, but by making small groups just as big a priority, and by making community service just as big a priority. Those are the three foundational supports of what we're trying to do -- worship (in music and teaching), community (in group studies and social events), and service (cooperating with service ministries in Nashville and helping out the needy in the BCC family).
In my estimation, these great people I get to do life with are doing a great job. In the span of just a few months, we have grown from one small group meeting in a living room to three groups. We have made monthly service projects not just a feature of our ministry but a commitment by our ministry. And in the worship service, we have gone from getting our feet under us (the first service was my first time delivering a message in about ten years) to seeing a committed group worshiping enthusiastically, voices loud and hands raised, and tuning into the teaching with focused faces and meaningful responses.
The personal feedback I get from people entering the Element community is so encouraging. Lives really are being changed. The personal stories one may hear in share times at the Bible studies are testaments to the work God is doing through this effort, and for every one of those stories, there's one or two more emailed or MySpace messaged to someone on the leadership team.
These are exciting times in the life of Bellevue Community Church. The future is bright, not because we are talented or productive or "spiritual" -- but because God is good.
It is an uphill trudge weening people off of self-help Christianity and into the exciting Gospel-driven life of real discipleship, but love speaks volumes, and while the effects are not always instantaneous, they are lasting. They are eternal. Because God's Word does not return void.
Thank you, BCC, for giving Element to me, to us, to the young people in Nashville. This burgeoning discipleship community is a great investment in the progress and future of the BCC family.