Church Council

Leadership of Bethlehem Covenant Church

The Evangelical Covenant Church is a “Church of churches.” Just as a local congregation has its membership through individual people, membership in the ECC is comprised of individual congregations as the constituent element.

Member congregations like Bethlehem carry out mission and ministry in their local context. Churches call their own pastors, own their own property, set their own budgets and design their own ministry approach. Congregations pledge mutually to support the principles, policies, programs, and institutions of the Covenant.

Bethlehem Covenant Church is organized on the congregational model, with our own bylaws and governance structure (see Additional Resources below). Each year, the congregation elects a Church Council, which meets monthly and provides oversight to the general administration of the Church, including the establishment of policies, budgets, supervision of church membership, and evaluation of mission and ministry programs.

In addition to annual meetings, special congregational meetings are called from time to time, usually by request of the church council, to vote on particular matters.

Please read more below to learn about individual Council roles and ways to get involved! Any member is eligible serve on Council, and all of the Council Commissions seek volunteers to help with their work.

Council Officers

The President of the Congregation

The president shall preside at all business meetings of the congregation and the Church Council. The president shall also lead worship services or arrange for leadership thereof when pastors are unavailable to do so. The president shall be an ex-officio member of all ministry commissions and committees of the church.

The Vice President

The vice·president shall assist the president and shall assume the duties of the president in the president’s absence.

The Recording Secretary

The recording secretary shall record and preserve minutes of all business meetings of the congregation and of the Church Council and shall receive and ensure the preservation of documents and official correspondence of the church.

The Financial Secretary

The financial secretary shall be responsible for recording and safeguarding all monetary receipts of the church, supervising bank deposits and maintaining pledge records. The financial secretary shall also be an ex-officio member of the Church Council and the ministry commissions responsible for solicitation of monetary pledges and oversight of financial operations. The financial secretary shall present a written report of receipts to each regular business meeting of the congregation.

The Treasurer

The treasurer shall make disbursements of church funds as authorized by the congregation or the Church Council. The treasurer shall present a written report of receipts and expenditures to each regular business meeting of the congregation. The treasurer shall be an ex-officio member of the Church Council and of the ministry commissions responsible for solicitation of monetary pledges and oversight of financial operations.

Chairperson of Board of Pastoral Relations

The Pastoral Relations Board conducts annual staff reviews with feedback collected from the congregation, meets quarterly with ministry staff for support and feedback, and mediates concerns between congregation and staff.

Chairperson of Board of Bethlehem Child Care Center
  1. The Bethlehem Child Care Center is governed by a board of directors which is regulatedby “Guidelines for Bethlehem Child Care Center Board of Directors” and approved by the Church Council. The Board of Directors is composed of seven members: three representatives of ministry commissions having interests in common with the Center, two appointed by the Church Council to represent the Church at large, and two parents of children currently enrolled in the Center’s programs. The latter two are appointed by the sitting members of the Board and need not be members of the church. The chairperson of the Board is elected by its sitting members, and must be one of the members of the church serving on the Board. The chairperson of the board shall be a member of the Church Council. The program director of the Child Care Center shall be an advisory member of the Council.
  2. The Board of Directors shall be accountable to the Church Council.
At Large Members

Those who are elected Members At Large, are chosen to serve as representatives of the congregation. Their vote and voice is recognized as how the congregation speaks on issues and decisions of ministry. This member is encouraged to talk with others in the congregation about their hopes and concerns and share these with Church Council.

Council Commissions

Celebration and Spiritual Life

Oversees receiving new members, reconciling membership rolls, visitation ministries for the homebound and hospitalized, sacraments (communion preparation and serving), care ministries (prayer chain, Befrienders, etc). Also gives supervision to worship ministries of the church including music and decoration, and oversight of music staff.
Staff Support: Lead Pastor and Music Staff

Christian Formation

Responsibility for seeing to the discipleship and Christian growth of the congregation including Children’s ministry (Sunday school, Children’s Church, VBS, camp, etc.) Youth ministry (youth group, confirmation, special events), adult sunday school, small groups, educational opportunities, and the church library. Supports and advises the work of children’s and youth staff.
Staff Support: Associate Pastor and Youth Director

Communication

Supports the office staff for distributing information about church ministries through signage, advertising, publications (newsletter, bulletin, mailings), website, welcome desk, and Social Media. Communication Commission crafts a strategy for publicizing Bethlehem ministries both within the congregation and to the wider community.
Staff Support: Office Staff

Congregational Life

Mobilizes members of the congregation for service and fellowship by providing opportunities for community building, volunteer recruitment, “Time & Talents”, and spiritual gift evaluation. Oversees wedding and funeral ministries as well as food and coffee service at Sunday coffee hour, Wonderful Wednesday suppers, and other occasions for fellowship.
Staff Support: Office Staff, Associate Pastor, Lead Pastor

Finance

Oversees bookkeeping, offerings and deposits, budget, memorials, capital campaign, endowment, and stewardship campaign. Finance commission works to do financial forecasting for the church as well as advising matters regarding insurance and other liabilities. The commission provides direct oversight of assistant treasurer.
Staff Support: Assistant Treasurer

Outreach

Outreach commission gives direction to the missional work of Bethlehem including the sponsorship of our Covenant World Missionaries, global relief work (Paul Carlson Partnership, Covenant World Relief), the work of the local outreach team towards ministries of compassion here in the Twin Cities (Loaves & Fishes, Meals on Wheels, Ace in the City, etc), and mobilizing the congregation for evangelism.
Staff Support: Lead Pastor

Properties

Oversees the maintenance of all church facilities and physical assets, custodial and groundskeeping services, and building repair. Properties Commission provides direct oversight for the contracted building supervisor.
Staff Support: Properties Manager

Strategic Planning

Steering the council and congregation towards congregational vitality by way of conducting pulse survey, evaluating critical success factors, neighborhood research, long-term planning, and progress measurements.
Staff Support: Lead Pastor

Additional Council Resources

Currently Serving on Council

Member Name

Title

Council Role

Colleen Nelson

Lead Pastor

Ex-officio

Dick Sundberg

President

Officer

Vanda Niemi

Vice President

Officer

Alyssa Isaacs

Secretary (shared)

Officer

Karen Lilla

Secretary (shared)

Officer

Andy Bergstrom

Treasurer (shared)

Officer

Christine O'Bert

Treasurer (shared)

Officer

(Open)

Financial Secretary

Officer

Karna Sjoberg

Pastoral Relations Board

Board Chair

Sharon Boswell

Child Care Center Liason (shared)

Board Chair/Liaison

Emily Nemecek

Child Care Center Liason (shared)

Board Chair/Liaison

Steve Ramgren

Member at Large

At Large

Sarah Holty

Member at Large

At Large

(Open)

Properties Commission

Commission Chair

Chris Simon

Finance Commission

Commission Chair

Lowery Smith

Strategic Planning

Commission Chair

Judy Cummings

Communication Commission

Commission Chair

Jon Jensen

Congregational Life Commission

Commission Chair

Becky Anderson

Celebration & Spiritual Life Commission

Commission Chair

Joyce Denham

Christian Formation

Commission Chair

Norm Morris

Outreach Commission

Commission Chair

 

Have a question or concern for the BCC Council?

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