The Rev. John Green, pastor of Bethel Assembly of God in Savage, plans to preach Sunday about the God-inspired vision for his congregation in 2005.
Green and about 26 church leaders and their spouses are in York, Pa., today and tomorrow praying about and agreeing on goals that God wants Bethel to achieve next year.
"We will be [discussing] what God has for us [the church] and what is going to be for the community," Green said before the trip.
"Casting the Vision," as Green called it, lays out plans for the church, including helping people in discipleship, ministering and community outreach.
He said the biblical reference comes from Exodus 33:13 in which Moses asks the Lord for guidance to lead the children of Israel through the wilderness.
"When we talk about discipleship, we want to teach people how to follow Christ," he said.
As believers become ingrained in God's word, the goal is to teach them how to "minister" to people, or help those who don't know Christ to accept Him," Green said.
As for outreach, Green said, the church has a long tradition of involvement, including sponsoring events to bring the community together; helping the homeless and less fortunate in Baltimore and Washington; and preaching at missions around the world.
"We recently held a harvest event, and my wife and I just got back from Ecuador and we were preaching there. We've also been to Thailand and Jamaica," he said.
Green said that Christian believers don't have to be ordained ministers to lead people to Christ.
"We had a young lady here who's 14, and she led her friend [to Christ]," he said.
Bethel Assembly is celebrating its 75th year.
In 1929, the Rev. Bennie M. Slye held the first church meeting in the upstairs room of Pickett's store on Baltimore Street. Bethel soon became known for its joyous preaching, singing and worshiping.
Green was installed as the church's 14th preacher last year.
About 300 people attend Bethel's 10:30 a.m. Sunday service. Sunday school begins at 9:30 a.m. A continental breakfast is served at 9 a.m.
Green said that under his leadership the congregation aims to be "informative, relational and factual, based on the word of God."
Love, the essence of God, is of the utmost importance, he added.
"We've got to show love," he said.
"In 1 Corinthians 13:13, it says `And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love,' " said Green, quoting a book of the Bible.
There is a saying at the church that evokes a call and response when Green is preaching: "We say, `When you're here, you're home. ... Welcome home,' " he said.
Green said the church offers about 50 ministries, including the Royal Rangers and Missionettes for boys and girls ages 5 to 14, respectively; a drama group and nursery are included.
A school, Bethel Christian Academy, was established in 1984 and is geared toward children in prekindergarten through middle school.
On Wednesday nights, the church offers finance and parent classes, and Green is teaching a preaching series on the book of Exodus
"We get into every word and dig, and I have some scholars in the class who are keeping me on my toes," Green said.
Chris Noullet, Bethel's youth minister, said the church has greatly influenced its youth in positive ways.
"They're all growing spiritually and interacting well with one another," he said.
Joy Hemler, the children's pastor, said Bethel is "raising spiritual champions ... who understand that God has a purpose for their lives and that they are to share that message."
Information: 301-498-3344, or bethelassembly.org.