MISSION OF THE PARTNERSHIP
Bethany Community Church (hereinafter BCC) together with Rome Baptist Church (hereinafter RBC) seek to formally partner with one another for the purpose of re-planting a healthy, bible believing, gospel preaching church in the community of Chillicothe, IL.
May 15: As Pastor Daniel mentioned Sunday (5/14), next steps are being taken to replant a church in the Rome/Chillicothe community. At the end of April, BCC approved the budget that will allow for this replant and last Sunday, May 7 Jordan Embree was installed as a pastor/elder and he will be the Church Plant Pastor. In addition to Jordan, a subset of elders, Ben Davidson, Wayne Leman, and Neil Gerber will be working together to assemble a core team and a leadership team that will assist in this new work. As Jordan and others work towards this next phase, they are thinking through various events and meetings for a potential team. If you are interested in possibly joining the core team for this new work, please reach out to Jordan before June 1. You can contact him by email or feel free to talk to him, Ben, Wayne, or Neil on Sunday after the service and let them know that you may be interested. Reaching out to them does not commit you to anything, but it will help them gauge interest and know how to plan and move forward. For our entire church family, please be praying that God would raise up people to be sent over to the Rome/Chillicothe area to serve in this way. What an incredible opportunity the Lord has provided for us as we look to see the gospel go forth in Central Illinois.
REPLANT EFFORT HISTORY
July 2022: The two congregations learned of one another’s current ministry situations and a seed was planted as questions began to be asked such as: “Might God be calling the two congregations to some sort of partnership together for the sake of gospel ministry?” During this time, it was identified that RBC was in a difficult season of ministry which was emphasized by their lack of pastoral leadership and could potentially benefit from another church such as BCC coming alongside them to aid in their efforts to seek to make disciples.
August 2022: It was agreed upon by the leadership of RBC and the elders of BCC, with the support of leaders within the Southern Baptist Convention, to continue to get to know one another for an allotted time period (August-December) with the goal of continuing to discern if God was providing a way to collaborate in ministry more long term. This included, but was not limited to, a commitment by BCC to cover the preaching/teaching ministry of RBC. BCC provided pulpit supply and mid-week teaching each Sunday and Wednesday. It was understood that at the end of the calendar year the two bodies would reconvene to assess how God was leading, but if at any point RBC decided to go another direction or hire a pastor or things of that nature, that it would be celebrated by BCC, and they re-emphasized that their chief goal was to see RBC thriving and healthy.
January 2023: It became clear that both congregations were open to the potential of a long-term partnership together. Although many unknowns remained, it was evident that God wasn’t closing the door on this relationship but in fact seemed to be blessing the efforts. At this point, BCC requested a large step of faith from RBC. For the purpose of seeking unity, further membership interaction, and logistical simplicity, BCC asked RBC to temporarily pause their ministry efforts in Chillicothe and infuse themselves into the life and ministry over in Washington. RBC members made this commitment and were encouraged to plug in as much as they were able so the two bodies could strengthen their relationships and further seek the Lord’s leading together. Although the timeline was not as clear with this step, it was understood that the RBC folks would submit themselves to the BCC elders in this process and a formal proposal would be made by BCC and presented to RBC sometime in April to vote on (which in part is what this document seeks to provide).
February 2023: BCC elders began determining a leadership team for this endeavor that would begin further fleshing out a lot of what will follow with regard to the vision for the work. This started with identifying a church plant pastor candidate (Jordan Embree) to be brought before and examined by a review committee made up of lay members of BCC. The candidate was unanimously approved on March 28 and fully supported by both the elders and the review committee to be presented to the congregation for affirmation (along with the budget for the re-plant) at the BCC family meeting on April 23.
April 2023: At the family meeting on April 23, Jordan Embree was overwhelmingly affirmed by the congregation as the church plant pastor. Jordan will be brought on staff at BCC as a pastor/elder and will serve there as he works towards replating the church in Chillicothe, his first objective being developing a core team and leadership team for the new work.
May 2023: BCC elders identified a subset of their elder team to work with the church plant pastor (Jordan) to assist in the oversight and shepherding of the new work until a plurality of their own elders is established. This team includes Ben Davidson, Wayne Leman, Neil Gerber. This subset team is amid recruiting a core team of BCC families/individuals to go across the river and infuse themselves into the life of this new work. Once this core team is identified (hopefully by the end of June), the subset team will work to create a leadership team from within the core team that can help Jordan with the leadership of the different ministries of the church. This leadership team will consist of men, who the subset team have identified as those who could potentially serve as elders or deacons down the road. By serving on this leadership team, they will be agreeing to go through an extensive process of discerning the call, examining their qualifications, and being equipped for the ministry before actual installation. Once the church is established and has their own elders and deacons installed and serving in that capacity the subset team from BCC will be relieved of their roles and responsibilities.