S: Crete Berean Church 1996 - 2011
BC: 395 County Road 2500 Crete, NE 68333 (402) 826-3134 www.creteberean.org firstname.lastname@example.org
FC: Crete Berean Church | 15 Year Anniversary 1996 - 2011
1: A Brief History of Crete Berean Church For more than two years, Lyle and Shirley Hayes (Lyle is an Elder in the Lincoln Berean Church) met with a few couples in the Crete community every other Sunday evening. These and several other families from the Crete area were attending Sunday morning services and Wednesday night activities in Lincoln. They used the time on Sunday evenings for fellowship and to study the Word of God. By September of 1995, ten couples were involved with the Sunday evening Growth Group. The people involved were Kenn & Jan Willems, Gary & Laura Gammel, Guy & Bev Jones, Don & Gwen Hladky, Bill & Jane Wenz, Doug & Debbie Wenz, Richard & Janet Henning, Rich & Shari Tretheway, Neal & Carolyn Pavlish, Larry & Cindy Steele. On October 25, 1995 a meeting was held with Doug Shada, President of the Berean Fellowship of Churches and the Crete Berean Church officially became a mission church of the Berean Fellowship. The Growth Group continued meeting every other Sunday evening. In late November they signed a contract to purchase the Feed Service Corporation property three miles east of Crete along Nebraska highway 33. On December 15, 1995 the legal papers were signed and Crete Berean Church took possession of the FSC office building, the garage and one quonset building. This included approximately 11 acres of land with the buildings for $189,000. Also in late November they asked Pastor Curt Lehman, founder and former Sr. Pastor of Lincoln Berean Church to help them get organized and to start holding Sunday morning services. After some remodeling and painting, the first Sunday service was held on February 4, 1996 with 197 people attending. Approximately 25 of those were visitors from Lincoln Berean and many visitors from Crete and the surrounding communities. Average Sunday morning attendance settled just over 100. We encourage our people to maintain friendship with unsaved and unchurched people in order that we may reach them with the good news of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. The three priorities of the new church have been to conduct an effective and uplifting Sunday Morning Worship Services, a Sunday Morning Children’s Ministry for babies through grade four and to establish and strengthen the week night Growth Groups. It is expected of all church members to be actively involved in a week night Growth Group, either as a leader or regular attender. Other ministries and activities for children, youth and adults will be established as leaders become available. Our desire is to pursue only those ministries which will enable us to fulfill the Biblical purposes for which this local church was established. Our motto is a Biblical Message and a Balanced Ministry.
2: 1992 The first Growth Group began with two couples meeting in 1992 at the home of Kenn and Jan Willems. Growth Groups were an essential part of the church in the beginning, and remain an important part of our spiritual growth, fellowship and ministry today. Growth Groups meeting weekly in people's homes in the surrounding Crete area. Upper picture-left to right: Gary Gammel; Bev Jones; Apple Henning; Lyle Hayes; Kenn Willems; Larry Steele; Don Hladky; Guy Jones; Bill & Jane Wenz. Left picture: Apple & Janet Henning
3: September 1, 1995 Dear Friends, For the past three years there has been a small group of people meeting in a Growth Group in Crete. We have enjoyed good Bible study and wonderful fellowship together. In recent days there has been spiritual and numerical growth. In addition to these blessings a building has been found to be available that seems a likely meeting place for a church. The Berean Council has been contacted and is interested in investigating the possibility of starting a church in Crete. We plan to meet with Doug Shada, President of the Berean Council and other interested folks, on September 12 at 7 p.m. If you would be at all interested in being a part of this effort we invite you to join us in this meeting. Our purpose is to discuss possibilities for ministry and the feasibility of beginning a new work in which God would be glorified and people encouraged. If you have any interest in this discussion or know of someone who presently is looking for a home church base, please invite them and join together with us on September 12 at the Bill Wenz home in Crete. Please find directions enclosed. Serving Him together, Lyle Hayes | The small groups would drive by the old FSC building and think about it's function as a building, when it came up for auction, people stopped and took notice to believe, "yes, this would be a great location for a church".
4: It was auction day and we were nervous. The building was to be sold, it was cold and gloomy, just as the weather outside. There by the podium stood a man in a light tan cowboy hat, a coat whose appearance exuded money, plus shiny western style boots. He and his friend chatted and laughed while our little group of blue-collars and farmers stood in the back looking like small town rubes. The auction started, bids going back and forth. Soon the group from the Public School dropped out. The “coat” made a bid and slowly the “Rube’s” countered. Silence....the “coat” gave the auctioneer a nod and upped the anti. Long silence. I couldn’t stand the quiet, the smiles, the bowed heads. “We’re going to lose the building” I thought. “The one Gwen and I had prayed for, the one I knew the first time we walked into it, this was meant to be a church”. I went back into the dampish furnace room and pacing back and forth and prayed so hard my teeth hurt. Then I heard what I knew to be Bill’s last bid. He was not going any higher. Long silence, “SOLD”! I ran out in time to see the “coat” leave as our little group gathered in the corner. We had the building. God gave us a church. written by Jane Wenz | A core group of believers began putting prayer into action, specificallly praying about an empty feed service buildign that greeted them every Sunday on their way into Lincoln for church. In the words of Jane Wenz and Gwen Hladky "Wouldn't that building make a nice church?" | November 15, 1995 The building is for sale at auction
5: Small groups members congregate at the auction Right: Carolyn Pavlish; Jane Wenz; Janet Henning; Don Hladky; Bill Wenz & Gary Gammel. | Grateful for a faithful God...the final break down on pricing. At right, small group members, Neal Pavlish; Gary Gammel; Carolyn Pavlish; Jane & Bill Wenz; Apple Henning & Larry Steele enjoying the new building.
6: 1995 First Administrative Meeting in the New Building We met at the church at 7:00 p.m. The purpose of the meeting was to look over the entire building and make some decisions on what should be done in preparation for the first service. Those present were Gary Gammel, Richard (Apple) & Janet Henning, Bill & Jane Wenz, Neil & Carolyn Pavlish, Larry Steele, Guy Jones, Don Hladky, Lyle Hayes, Curt & Claudine Lehman. We first met in the auditorium. It seemed the general consensus of the group that we should take up the carpet that was on the floor (store it up on the 2nd floor) and lay new carpet. Curt suggested that we should paint the floor and use only aisle runners in the interest of making the room more “alive” acoustically. Gary Gammel will check out the cost of epoxy paint and Curt will get samples of carpet and approximate costs. Decisions will be made later as to what should be done on the floor. Guy Jones measured the room and found that it is 32‘ x 42’ = 1,344 sq. ft. Approx. 150 sq. yds. Apple Henning offered to check all the lights in the auditorium (and other parts of the bldg). As we went to the foyer, we discussed the possibility of putting in a ramp (down the 4 steps to the auditorium). We are in hopes that it will not be required. Curt will check it out further with the state. Someone suggested that a lift could be put on one side also. That will also be checked out (I believe by B. Wenz). As we stood in the foyer, it was agreed that we should take up all the tile floor covering (Bill Wenz offered to do it) and put down a new carpet. I don’t remember the exact measurements, but it seems someone said 20’ x 32’ = 72 sq. yds. There was a suggestion to take the vinyl paper off the walls, but several felt it would be best to leave it as is. There were several comments made about carpeting the steps and landing going to the 2nd floor. This would probably require another 10 yards of carpet plus the labor. There were some suggestions that the room to the right (east) of the entry could be used as a church nursery. Other suggestions were that it be in one of the rooms on 2nd floor. No decision was made. From there we went to the 2nd floor and were all pleased with the good condition of the floors and walls in most of the rooms. It was agreed that we would do a good general cleaning, but would not change anything at present on the 2nd floor. We then went back to the auditorium and discussed what to do with the projection booth. It was agreed to remove it. There is a good bit of wiring into the booth and Apple offered to disconnect it. No final decisions were made concerning the placement of the projection screen which will be moved from the south wall. Neil Pavlish will be responsible for removing the big chalk board from the south wall. We talked briefly (we were getting cold) about the need for chairs. Curt had a catalog that gave prices from $10 to $30 each. He will also check with All Makes in Lincoln to see what they may have available. There was also considerable discussion about the furnace, and from the reports given we believe that it should work satisfactorily. Bill Wenz will check with the gas company to have the gas turned on for the building and Curt is to contact Dolyn Stueur (Stire) about the possibility of starting up the furnace. Gary or Bill will check with a plumber in town to “air test” the system to see that there are no leaks in the water lines in the building. Lyle hayes found where the water comes into the bulding and found that there was water pressure there. Five keys to the building were given to the following men: Bill Wenz, Gary Gammel, Apple Henning, Neal Pavlish and Curt Lehman. We should have 2 or 3 more so the other men will have access to the bldg. Lehman took some pictures of the group while in several different parts of the building. After agreeing that we would have a work night on Thursday Dec. 28 starting at 6:00 p.m. Lyle Hayes led us in prayer as we finished our time together. We left at 8:40 p.m. These notes were written by Curt Lehman.
9: The Lord brought about a successful renovation of His building here in Crete, adding seating capacity, an inviting foyer, and many other improvements to a building that was paid off in 2003
10: 1996 Church is for Real! Putting up the Cross and name of church. Neal Pavlish & Rich Trethaway with Bill Wenz supervising.
12: April 21, 1996 Building dedication with Dr. Warren Wiersbe providing the message Below left: Members of the Berean Fellowship, Below right: The famous "Pink" wall with folding chairs. Curt Lehman had reservations about preaching to a pink wall. The color was changed shortly there after.
13: Kevin & Loren Wissink & Melissa (last name unknown) entertain during the dedication. | Crete Berean's first Pastor Curt Lehman, his wife, Claudine Lehman and small group member, Janet Henning
14: Pastoral Leadership God allowed Pastor Curt Lehman, retired founding pastor of Lincoln Berean Church, to serve the congregation in Crete during its first years. God called Pastor Kevin Workman to serve as Crete Berean’s first Senior Pastor. Kevin and his wife, Cynthia ministered faithfully for the first six years of the church. God called Pastor Gregg Madsen to serve as Senior Pastor, along with his wife Jodie. In addition to our pastors, Crete Berean has been blessed with Godly men and women who have faithfully served as leaders, elders, and now deacons. God has used several men as associates here at Crete Berean. Pastor Buzz Vance and his wife Annie served for several years. Later, God brought Pastor Josh Luse and his wife, Julie, to the church. God has called Pastor Kirk Kingston and his wife, Natalie -- longtime members of Crete Berean -- to serve this role. Most recently, God has called Dave & Marylou Meinke to be our interim Pastor. | Sr. Pastor Curt Lehman 1996-1998 | Youth Pastor Buzz Vance 1996-1999 | Sr. Pastor Kevin Workman 1998-2003 | Youth Pastor Josh Luse 1999-2001 | Sr. Pastor Gregg Madsen 2003-2010 | Associate Pastor Kirk Kingston 2004-present | Interim Pastor David Meinke 2010-2011
15: Crete Berean's first board. Back row: Kenn Willems; Buzz Vance; Neal Pavlish; Gary Gammel. Front row: Pastor Kevin Workman; Jim White & Bill Wenz Below left 2011 Elders & wives: (front row) Jeanette & Paul Heiman, (second row) Klesha Miller; Tom Uden, (third row) Josh Miller; Kim Betke; Bryce Betke, (third row) Jeremiah & Jody Vondra, (fourth row) Kirk Kingston. Not pictured: Natalie Kingston & Angie Uden Below right 2011 Deacons & wives: (front row) Linda Trube; Ann Hoback, (second row) Bruce Trube; Ron Hoback, (third row) Gail Mussman, Apple Henning & Janet Henning. Not pictured: Guy & Bev Jones, Mark Mussman | Using the Biblical model found in 1 Timothy 3, Crete Berean currently utilizes elders and deacons to oversee and shepherd the church. Initially an elder led church, the role of deacon was added under Pastor Madsen.
16: 2004 Operation Renovation Increased attendance called for expansion and renovation during Pastor Madsen's time of ministry. The floor was raised and the two side walls were removed to create one large, level seating area. Bathrooms were relocated, along with a new nursery, and Welcome Center. The unused safe/vault, which was in the east side of the foyer, was removed. See pictures on the proceeding pages.
19: Other improvements 1997-present | Quonset building remodeled. Parking lot paved with white rock. Wheel chair access added. Play ground equipment erected. Curt Lehman's tree was dedicated.
20: Worship as a
21: living sacrifice.
22: C | Church services past... | and present.
24: Baptism | When Jesus spoke to the disciples in Matthew 28, He commanded them to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. As we see the early church developing in Acts, baptism is always the public sign of faith in Jesus Christ. So, as we practice baptism, we are obeying the command of Jesus and we are following in the tradition of the early church. Above: Starting out at Doane College in Butler gym, baptism was performed by Pastor Lehman. Over the years, the pool developed some problems and needed to be closed to the public. Left: Pastor Gregg readies Jim Putz for baptism inside our church with the use of a large tank.
25: Many ministry areas are needed to help a church grow. Far left: Seth Lauterbach at the sound control system. Left: Mert Pollat serves with folding bulletins. | Left: Gwen Hladky & Debbie Wenz made banners, inspiration and much prayer went into their making. | Doug Wenz serves as an usher. | Gary Gammel and Mary Jo Bratton serve as part of the Worship team; | Ministry comes in all forms
26: Above left: Dan & Lisa Pomajzl; Bryce Betke; Duane Roth; Guy Jones; Kelly Miller; Eric Nagel & Mark Mussman Above: Jaime Degon, Ron & Ann Hoback Left: Becky Degon; Alan Moyer &Kellie Moyer; | Adult Sunday school classes provide opportunities to examine the Scriptures and apply Biblical truths to life.
27: Clockwise: 1996-97 Buzz Vance's group, Nursery 1996, Sunday School 1997, Sunday School 2009, Kid's Club | Children's Sunday school classes & Kids Club (held during the sermon) help parents train up their children in the way they should go, believing that when they are old they will not depart from it.
28: Men's Ministry As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. So says Proverbs 27v17. Believing this to be true, several small groups of men meet throughout the week over breakfast or lunch to sharpen one another through accountability, Scripture, and study. Men have also been encouraged to attend special regional events like Ron Brown's Freedmen conference as well as events sponsored by Crete Berean like a clay target shooting event. | Kindred Hearts Women's Ministry The women of Crete Berean have a heritage of faith that finds root with Claudine Lehman and her vision for women’s ministry. Through Claudine’s leadership “Kindred Hearts” was started and has flourished in the 10 years of the church. Many leaders including Bev Jones, Ann Shrewsbury, and Linda Dennison have encouraged women through Bible studies, mentoring programs, special events like Women of Faith conferences, spring teas, Christmas brunches, and Crete Berean's own weekend retreat just for women.
29: Missions | Crete Berean hopes its members will have a Great Commission Conscience, one that preaches the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Not only does the church tithe 10% of it's offerings to support missionaries like Aaron and Lori Luse, The Clevenger family, Emmaus Road church plant, and For His Glory Adoption Outreach, but the church also encourages its members to explore missions in a first hand way. Church members have served in a variety of countries including Haiti, Peru, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka, and Hondurus.
30: Vacation Bible School provides an opportunity for Crete Berean to reach out to churched and unchurched families in our community. Children spend a week learning Bible stories, memory verses, and worship songs all while having fun. | Vacation Bible School
31: Vacation Bible School also provides an opportunity for church members to be a part of a mission trip experience right in their own community. Scores of volunteers work together to serve Jesus and make V.B.S. a success. From teachers to helpers to administrative help and prayer warriors, there are many ways for people to serve. | Serving in the kitchen at meal time, from left to right, Phyllis Kohl, Kim Betke, Patty Krasser, and Marcy Kremer.
32: The OASIS youth ministry has grown tremendously since its inception in 1997, and is now serving more than 40 teenagers from Crete and nearby communities. | Missions Statement oasis youth ministries invites all students by reaching Out into the world to worship and Adore Holy God, Serve in the church and community while being Instructed in God’s Word (the Bible) so we can Share our salvation in Jesus for all eternity, in love, with others, until He returns. | Vision So that God will be made famous through our lives!
34: Outreach | Summer, winter, spring, or fall, Crete Berean has participated in a variety of events centered at reaching out into our community. From living nativity scenes (top left corner), to hosting movies in the local theater, booths at the Blue River Festival (center right), children's Christmas programs (bottom left) Leather and Color Sundays for bikers (bottom right) to picnics, Fall Festivals and Easter egg hunts (opposing page), Crete Berean desires to share our God with others.