Q: How do I become a member of Bethany Church?
A: At the end of the worship service (during the singing), please walk up to the pastor and share your desire for membership. The pastor will discuss membership with you and have you fill out a membership form. The pastor or a deacon will assist you in the steps to finalize the process which will include your joining in one of the following options for membership:
1. By receiving Jesus Christ as your savior by faith followed by baptism by immersion.
2. By transfer of letter from another congregation of like faith and order.
3. By statement that you have previously received Christ as savior and have been baptized by immersion.
The Pastor will announce to the congregation that you have requested membership in the church and will welcome you as a member. At a later date, you will be contacted by a member of the church staff or membership welcoming you to the church membership.
Q: Why should I become a member of Bethany Church?
A: Becoming a member means that you desire to make Bethany Church your home church; and that you no longer consider yourself a visitor and have decided to commit yourself to advancing Christ’s kingdom through the ministries and activities of Bethany Church.
Q: What does becoming a member allow me to do that I otherwise cannot do as a non-member?
A: Actually, Bethany Church is more interested in helping you in your spiritual walk with Christ rather than in building our membership rolls. However, this is not to say that membership is not important to us. It is important because it says you believe in what we are doing and you want to be a part of what God is doing through us. On a formal note membership allows you to vote in business meetings and serve as a General Church Officer such as a Deacon or Trustee.
Q: How do I serve or use my gifts and talents at Bethany Church?
A: Please let any ministerial staff or deacon know of your desire to serve. You can do this thru email, phone call or even during the church service at the altar call. You can also check the church website at www.yourbethany.org for the church staff listing, and contact a member of the staff by email. Bethany Church seeks to place everyone in the service of the Lord based on each individual’s S.H.A.P.E. (spiritual gifts, heart, abilities, personality, and experience). Information on how to determine your S.H.A.P.E. will be forthcoming in future weeks. In the meantime, please serve as you’re willing and able.
Q: How should I give? Do I need an envelope to give?
A: When the offering plate is passed, please place your donation in the plate. If you give by check, please make the check payable to Bethany Church. If you can, we prefer that you write a separate check for each “designation” (e.g., one check for the general budget and another for the Renew Capital Campaign). At the Columbia campus, it is not necessary for you to use an envelope unless you prefer to do so (or if you are giving cash). The envelopes at Columbia are at the rear of the sanctuary if you prefer to use them in your giving (see a campus pastor if you need assistance in locating envelopes). At the Ellicott City campus, we prefer that you use assigned envelopes for giving. In the future, the two campuses will use the same software package and we will have the same preferences for giving; but at present, the different software requires slightly different preferences for giving.
Q: What do I do if I miss the collection of the offering?
A: Please give your offering to one of the ushers after the service and they will see that it is included in the Sunday offering.
Q: What if I normally attend the Ellicott City campus and give there?
A: Please give at the church campus you are attending regardless of where you might expect to worship permanently. At the end of the calendar year, if you have given at both locations, you will receive a separate giving record from each campus.
Q: What about annual giving statements? Will I receive a statement and when should I expect to receive it?
A: Yes. Annual giving statements will be provided for all individuals shortly after the close of the calendar year. If you were a contributor to Columbia prior to May 12, 2013, the grand opening for Bethany Church, you should have already received a statement of your giving for the period January 1, 2013 – April 24, 2013 from Cornerstone Community Church. If you did not receive one, please contact CJ Matthews, youth pastor, and he will see that you receive a statement for the part of the calendar year prior to May 12, 2013.
The Lord’s Supper (Communion)
Q: When do you celebrate the Lord’s Supper?
A: Both Ellicott City campus & Columbia campus celebrate the Lord’s Supper every 1st Sunday of the month. The deacons, in cooperation with the pastor, are responsible for administering the Lord’s Supper.
Q: Is the observance of the Lord’s Supper closed to non-members?
A: No. We do not practice closed communion. We observe communion as an act of identifying our faith in Jesus Christ as personal savior and Lord and remembering the gift of forgiveness that He purchased for us on the cross.
Fundamental Beliefs of Bethany Church
Q: What are the fundamental beliefs of Bethany Church?
A: Bethany Church is a ministry of Bethany Lane Baptist Church, a Southern Baptist Congregation. Our fundamental beliefs can be found on the church’s website by pointing your browser to this address: http://www.bethanylanebaptist.org/we-believe.php. You can also visit the website of the Southern Baptist Convention which will provide additional information on the beliefs of Southern Baptists: http://www.sbc.net/bfm/default.asp.
In addition, Southern Baptist churches are “autonomous,” that is, each congregation is independent and considered able to interpret the Scriptures under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and able to do so without the coercion or pressure of any other local church or body. Therefore, Southern Baptist Churches often worship in styles different from one another, and interpret the Scriptures different from one another. Southern Baptists do not have a “creed” that one must follow in order to be a part of a Southern Baptist Church. However, Southern Baptist Churches place great emphasis on the Bible and following the teachings of the Bible as revealed by the Holy Spirit to the local congregation. For additional information on the specific and important issue of Baptist polity, including autonomy, please see http://www.sbc.net/resolutions/resprintfriendly.asp?ID=279.
Lifeline (Sunday School)
Q: What is Lifeline and when does it occur?
A: Every Sunday morning, Bethany Church has Lifeline at both campuses. At Columbia, Lifeline is at 9:30am; and at Ellicott City, 8:00am and 10:00am. Lifeline classes are for all ages, adults, youth and children. In Lifeline, we study and discuss the Bible as well as use other tools to assist in spiritual formation and building of relationships in the body of Christ. Please see a member of the church staff or someone at the information booth for information on where your particular age group will be meeting.
Q: What are the ages of children in the Children’s Ministry?
A: Our children's ministry incorporates the following age groups:
* Nursery: infants – 1 yr. old
*Toddlers: 2yrs old - 3yrs old
*Pre-School: 4yrs old - Kindergarten
*Super-Kids: 1st & 2nd Grade
*C.I.A.: 3rd-5th Grade
Q: Do children have Lifeline classes? Do they attend the worship service or their own worship service?
A: Lifeline for children is at both campuses and at the same times as Lifeline classes for adults and youth, each location. Age appropriate classes or childcare is provided for each group. At Columbia campus, please register your children at the information desk as you enter the front door. You will be given information on the location of your children’s age-group. At Ellicott City campus, please register your children in the particular class they are attending. After Lifeline, pick your children up for the worship service. Your children will attend the first part of the worship (seated with their parents) and then be excused for the children’s activity following the Children’s Sermon. Parents should check their children to their class, paying close attention to specifically mention and list all known allergies your child might have.
Q: What are the programs and ages for the youth ministry?
A: We have middle school and high school youth group meeting every Wednesday from 6-8 pm at our Ellicott City Campus. We also have Lifeline (Sunday school) every Sunday at 9:30 – 10:15am. Other activities include, Youth Serious Bible Study (Sunday evenings), Youth Summer Camp, Missions Trip and other retreats throughout the year. Please see CJ Matthews, Assistant to Youth Minister for further details as well as the church’s website for dates and events.
Q: Does the church have a prayer-line? How can I submit prayer requests?
A: Yes. The church has a prayer line which is managed by the deacons (“Deacons Careline”). To submit personal prayer requests, send an email to this email address along with your prayer request: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your prayer request will be posted to a large distribution list of individuals who will personally pray for you.
Q: How can I be included in the prayer line?
A: To receive email notification of prayers submitted for the Deacon Careline, send an email to email@example.com, along with a request that your email address be included. Once you are added to the distribution list, you will receive an email of prayer requests submitted to the Deacon Careline.
Announcements of Church Events
Q: How can I receive announcements of church calendar events?
A: To receive email notification of church announcements, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with a request that your email address be included. Once you are added to the distribution list, you will receive an email of all announcements sent to the church body.
Q: Does the church have a means to assist with personal financial needs?
A: Yes. The deacons maintain a small “benevolent fund” which is available to assist families in financial crisis. The types of items generally approved for benevolent assistance include: rent payments, household bills, and health costs. To apply for benevolent assistance, contact your campus pastor who will then assist you in contacting the appropriate deacon to discuss your financial need. All information on the benevolent fund is kept confidential.
Adult Bible Studies
Q: Does Bethany Church offer Bible study for adults in addition to Lifeline classes?
A: Yes. Adult Bible study takes place every Wednesday night from 7 – 8pm (currently at the Ellicott City campus; however, please contact the church office for current information). In the past, studies have included books of the Bible (for example, Revelation, Daniel, Genesis, and Isaiah), world religions, e.g., the differences between Islam and Christianity, or small groups studies to strengthen marriage (for example, Five Love Languages).
Q: Does Bethany Church offer mid-week activities for children, youth or adults?
A: Yes. A full and active mid-week program is offered for all ages. Please see the church website for details (www.yourbethany.org). Presently, the activities are hosted by the Ellicott City campus but plans are in the making for alternating locations for mid-week activities (other than Wednesday night supper at Ellicott City campus).
Child Care Center
Q: Does Bethany Church offer any nursery or pre-school options for children?
A: Yes, Bethany Lane Baptist Child Care Center is a state-licensed nursery and pre-school center that is open year round for children, age’s infant - Pre-K. The Child Care Center offers a loving and Christian environment for children to be introduced to a loving God through the loving hands of teachers committed to age-appropriate spiritual and academic education. Please see the church web-site for specific information on the Child Care Center.