A Year Later
Last week marked one year since Bellevue Community Church, wanting to bring peace and justice to a toxic leadership culture, fired pastor David Foster for verbal and emotional abuse, abdication of leadership, deceit, and compromised propriety of church funds.
It was, all told, a good decision and a godly decision.
I don't have a long reflection for this occasion, but I do want to say how honored I am to be a part of a church whose leadership is willing to risk nearly everything to remain faithful to God and to take care of its staff and members. Our elders risked reputation, health, comfort, and even their own financial solvency to make a very difficult decision to exercise discipline. Even traditional churches these days don't exercise church discipline. In the sort of church BCC is, bringing it to bear on our popular pastor was like stepping out into a canyon and trusting the invisible bridge is there. But they understood reconciliation is not possible without repentance.
You can revisit the nuts and bolts of this brokenness in the archives here, as well as the devotional/spiritual reflections on sin, repentance, forgiveness, grace, and reconciliation the mess inspired.
A year later, we have largely moved on. Our new lead pastor David Perez was hired in March, and we are already 3 sermon series' deep into reforming the teaching vision of the church. The student ministry, now fully supported and amply staffed, is growing like crazy. Our children's ministry is being transitioned from a daycare format to a worship format. Our small groups are growing and maintaining momentum and increasing in the availability of Bible study. We now have a growing college and young professionals ministry. We are incrementally making the necessary move from a church that exists for the weekend service to a church that exists to exemplify the full reconciliation of the Gospel, a church that realizes God did not call us to simply make converts (much less simply to entertain people) but to make disciples.
I have been honored and blessed to have played a role in the process of growth and healing coming out of the mess. The response has been overwhelming to me, and months and months later I still meet the occasional person who says "Your blog helped me so much during that time" or "Your writing really helped me see the situation more clearly." That blows me away.
Thank you for the opportunity to minister to you in that way.
I am hopeful for our future.
So here we are, a year later. Watch this space for an announcement related to this blog. Will post it probably a week from today.
Grace and peace.