Category Archives: bible study

Bonhöffer Haus Trip, 19. February

Join a Thursday 19. February for a one-hour guided tour (auf Englisch) of the Bonhöffer Haus — the home of Dietrich Bonhöffer’s parents and the place of his arrest in April 1943 by the Gestapo.  Learn about this influential theologian known for his stand for “Christian community” and his resistance to both “cheap grace” and the Nazis.

Meeting time is 18:30 h at the S-Heerstrasse platform.  We will walk to the Bonhöffer home and then afterwards to the home of Thorsten and Heide John for time of fellowship.  Space is limited, so first come first served.

Register by completing the registration form below or contact the tour coordinator Pun — hpchong7(at)gmail(dot)com.  For more information see

Serve in Ministry: Examine My Experiences

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

 “Now I want you to know, brothers, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel.”  Philippians 1:12

shapeThe “E” in SHAPE stands for your life EXPERIENCES.

One of the best resources for future ministry is your past experiences.

Think about it:  your experiences have provided opportunities for growing, healing, learning, and serving.  When you look back over your life experiences and put them together into your “life story” you discover your “life message.”  God wants to use your “life message” to make a difference in the lives of others.

For example, think about the hurts and problems you’ve been through and overcome with God’s help.  Some of your greatest life messages come out of your weaknesses, your hurts, and your problems.  God never wastes a hurt!  He wants you to be open to ministering to people who are going through what you’ve already been through!  This is what Paul says about it:

“God…wonderfully comforts and strengthens us in our hardships and trials. And why does he do this?  So that when others are troubled, needing our sympathy and encouragement, we can pass on to them the same help and comfort God has given us!”  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So take some time to reflect on your growing, healing, learning, and serving experiences.  Write down your thoughts and feelings about …

  • Your Spiritual Experiences—meaningful decisions or times with God
  • Your Painful Experiences—problems, hurts, and trials that have taught you
  • Your Educational Experiences—favorite subjects, special training or equipping experiences
  • Your Ministry Experiences—previous areas of meaningful service

Examine your experiences and reflect on the lessons you’ve learned.  Ask yourself how those experience might benefit others.  For example, what past ministry experiences brought you significant joy?  What training or work experiences have equipped you for making a difference in the life of the church?  When you put all of these experiences together you come up with a life message that God wants you to use for serving others!

Serve in Ministry: Personal Style

“O Lord, you have searched me and you know me…you are familiar with all my ways.” Psalm 139:1-3

The “P” in SHAPE stands for your PERSONAL STYLE.


God has given each of us a unique personal style.  Each of us engage one another in a way influenced by our view the world around us, how we process what we take in, and our preferred style for interacting with the world.  Psychologists call this our personality or temperament.

Personal style assessments are common and used for a variety of purposes.  At IBCB we use a modified Myers-Brigs to help us better understand ourselves, our relationships with others, and our preferred ministry.  Like all assessments, this one helps you understand where you fall on two scales:

1. Degree of people orientation

2. Degree of structure orientation

Some of us are “people persons” — energized by people — while others are “task persons”  — energized by tasks.  Knowing your “people orientation” helps you find a place that fits your personality.  If you’re a “people person” we would rather you serve as a “host” than on the “counting team.”  If you’re a “task person” we would rather you serve on the “counting team.”  Both contribute to the life of the church in a way fitting their personal style.

Want to find out your personal style?  Check out and complete your free online inventory.  You’ll receive an explanation of your four-letter “personal style.”  Use it to help you find a place of service in the church that fits your SHAPE.

Budget 2015 — Q & A (Updated 24 Nov)

Church Family Meeting — Sunday 7 December (After Worship):  Vote on Budget 2015

At yesterday’s Budget 2015 Q & A session, the Finance Committee and I fielded and answered questions regarding next year’s budget.  Below you will find brief responses to these and other questions.

Why can’t we include our “local missions partners” (i.e. Stadtmission, YoungLife, Simsek) in this year’s budget?

Our Budget 2015 is based on our actual giving.  As a result we have had to make many difficult choices including cutting out of our budget ALL of our non-institutional missions partners.  Our “tithe” goes to our institutional partners.  Our plan is to collect a Finance Committee approved special missions “offering” of 9,800 Euros to be given to our European Baptist Federation church-planting partners.  Other missions giving will be financed the same way.

Are there other means of collecting missions funds besides a “special offering”?

Yes.  Although our fundamental commitment is to the biblical method of “tithes and offerings,” the leaders are exploring other ways of funding our ministry and missions and will coordinate those through the Finance Committee.

What was the 3% vote about in October?

In order to limit our expenses and to improve our financial position, the Ministry Council at the recommendation of the Finance Committee asked the church to stop our 3% of receipts contribution to the Nordic Baltic LEAD Team (Church Planting) fund at the IBC (Convention).  The church voted to discontinue that payment for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2014.  The Budget 2015 reinstates that 3% but reduces the contribution to the IBC by that same amount.

Our personnel expenses are the largest percent of our budget.  Have we consider reducing our staff salaries?

It’s true.  Our personnel expenses make up over 60% of our budget — the recommended threshold for a church our size.  Our Staff Relations Committee (SRC) has reviewed the figures and asked that we freeze salaries at the 2014 level and that we do a task/time analysis to make sure that we are focusing our resources on priority needs.  At this time, the SRC is reviewing the staff job descriptions and assignments and will be bringing recommendations to our staff.


IBCB Budget 2015 — Proposal and Procedures

Each year IBCB’s Leaders Council along with our Ministry Council reviews our MISSION as the basis for proposing how we will invest our MONEY (budget) in the lovegrowservegocoming year.  Our MONEY serves our MISSION!  So, when we look at our budget it should reflect the priorities of our mission.  Here’s our mission:

Mobilize and Multiply Disciple-Making Followers of Jesus Christ

This year, in response to our survey/study, the Leaders Council has identified four priorities to take us to the next level as a church during 2015:

  • Improving our worship experience
  • Increasing the number of bridging/connecting events
  • Integrating participants into a disciple-making process
  • Invigorating our small groups ministry

You’ll see that our proposed Budget 2015 attempts to do this by devoting our monies to events and assigning the responsibilities of “events” and “connecting” to staff.

Based on our God-given MISSION, the Leaders Council, the Ministry Council, and the Finance Committee (FiCo) present the following proposed preliminary budget for your prayerful consideration.  Below you will see a brief explanation of this budget that calls attention to the major features of this proposal.

Proposed Preliminary Budget 2015 (Download your copy by clicking here:  2015 IBCB Budget Preliminary Budget 16 Nov)

Fact-Based Budget — This year’s budget is based on the facts of our giving over the past few years.  The FiCo set a finanical limit of 190K€ a number that corresponds to our giving history.  This means that this year’s budget is approximately 40K€ less than last year’s “faith-based” budget.  This caps our spending, stops the downward trend in our reserve fund, and makes our budget a giving goal.

Staff Salaries Frozen — Staff salaries have been frozen at 2014 levels.  Though on the high-side of percent budget (65%) we are close to the recommendations for a church our size.  The Staff Relations Committee is reviewing the staff task and time allocation and working alongside the pastor to reallocate staff assignments to fit our current priorities and needs.

Missions Partnerships — One of the biggest changes to our budget is in the area of missions partnerships.  Our INSTITUTIONAL partners are included in our budget as IBCB’s “tithe” to God’s Kingdom work through our partners.  Our INDIVIDUAL partners have been removed from our budget.  The FiCo has approved the collection of a MISSIONS OFFERING with an initial goal of 9800€ for the purpose of continuing our support of our Europeans Baptist Federation Missions Partners in Slovakia, Hungary, Israel, and Iraq.


Prayerfully, review the budget and be prepared to ask your questions — see the schedule below. The FiCo and Leaders will answer your questions and hear any recommendations that you have regarding the proposed budget.  Your recommendations — if any — will be incorporated into the budget and you will receive a Proposed (Final) Budget 2015.  The church will meet officially as a body to vote on that budget on 7 December or 14 December depending upon the recommendations of the church.

  • 23 November — Q & A After Worship
  • 7 or 14 December — Church Family Meeting (Members Vote)

If you have any questions about the budget or the procedure, please, feel free to contact the FiCo or the Leaders Council (leadership(at)ibcberlin(dot)org).  The more open we are and the more you participate, the more ownership and responsibility we share in supporting our MISSION with our MONEY.

May God use us to accomplish his mission for the sake of his Kingdom beginning right here in Berlin.