By Dick Loizeaux
Bethany Baptist Church of Moline is serious about church health. In 2012 they took the NCD Survey to see what areas to focus on for greater church health. They discovered their low score was in Inspiring Worship, and developed an action plan to improve this area of their ministry.
One of the aspects of that plan was to address their aging facilities so they developed a strategy for improving their building to attract more newcomers. Author Thom Rainer cites that the first thing unchurched people notice about a church is the condition of the facilities. They equate the care of the facilities to how they care about people. So last year Bethany partnered with Converge MidAmerica on a Capital Campaign to upgrade their parking lot, refresh their landscaping, renovate the foyer, restrooms and sanctuary. They dedicated 80% of the campaign to that project along with 10% towards increasing their evangelism activities and 10% to regional church planting. The campaign raised over $335,000! Gary Rohrmayer said, "I love it when we can help our older churches raise the necessary funds to see the mission of Jesus fulfilled in their community."
The following Quad-City Times article excerpts reflects two of the ways the church sought to increase the outreach and impact on their community.
Bethany Baptist Church members replaced regular worship services one Sunday this spring to hold what they call a "Blue Jean Sunday." About 90 people broke into teams and went to Garfield, Ericsson and Butterworth elementary schools to do mulching, raking, trash pick-up and weed-whacking, associate pastor Steve Ott said. "It was a great turnout. We had about 25 people at each site," he said, adding that other members delivered cookies to firefighters and police officers.
"The rain held off and we were able to get everything done," Mr. Ott said. "We've done these Blue Jean Sundays for about five years, and we've developed a relationship with school administrators and principals at those three schools." The schools are in close proximity of the church, at 700 35th Avenue Place.
"They are part of our community," he said. "We love being a part of Moline. For us, this is just about giving back to the community, no strings attached. We know how schools have been hurting financially and how some are closing soon, but it doesn't deter us from wanting to make the schools a beautiful place for kids to come to."
The project also reminds people how "God has called us to serve with a purpose but with no strings," Mr. Ott said.
Delivering cookies to police and firefighters was added to this year's Blue Jean Sunday plans, "because we just thought it would be nice to go out and give those folks some fresh baked goods."
The church also hosted the Quad Cities Law Enforcement Memorial Service. The memorial service featured reading of each of the names of the 46 fallen officers, their department and date of death. A representative of the corresponding police department or a family member placed a flower on the wreath in honor of their service.
"Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work" Titus 3:1