I am grateful to have walked with you through 2021 at Bethlehem! We spent much of the year navigating the “new normal” for our church and families. 2022 will be a great year of growing closer to the Lord and to one another.
Focus in 2022: Strengthen our Families and Facilities.
We need a peace-filled church and a strengthened church. I believe the best way to strengthen our church in 2022 is to strengthen our families and our facilities. Acts 9:31 says: “So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.” Don’t get me wrong, growing in number is important, but we must follow the Biblical order of church growth. Growing should always come second to having a congregation that loves each other. Carey Nieuwhof said it best when he stated, “In the church, more people is a good thing. But more love is even better.” Let’s build Bethlehem through the love we have for the Lord and for one another.
We have been given a great opportunity to reach families who live close to Bethlehem. A recent demographic study of our area shows that there are 4,597 households within a 20-minute radius of the church who have children and teenagers living at home. That is 53.4% of the households in our area! Following along these lines, most of our new members are younger families with children and teenagers. However, not all of our members are reflected in these numbers. The heartbeat of Bethlehem’s strong fellowship is found in many households who are not in this stage of life. There is a great need to strengthen all of our families both inside and outside the church! In response to this need, you can expect to see discipleship-based initiatives soon that will support all our families—both with and without children and teenagers.
By God’s grace and provision, we have zero debt. We also have over 20,000 square feet of heated ministry space to use to make disciples. In response to His goodness, we must be good stewards of this space. Maintenance and updating is important for keeping our facilities operational and aesthetically pleasing. Our next goal is to get the gym sealed up completely. Through your generosity, we paid cash to have the gym roof resealed – $22,000! (You should have seen all the 5 gallon buckets those guys carried to the roof!) We have a newly sealed roof, but a metal building that has been surrounded by beautiful trees for the past 30 years presents opportunities for water to creep in through the walls and anywhere else cracks are present. As for our main building, our Building and Grounds team will create work days focused on taking care of “low-hanging-fruit,” such as painting and updating fixtures. You will hear about those opportunities to serve soon.
2022 is looking promising and I am grateful to launch into the New Year with my family, my church family, our staff, and the people we have yet to reach for the Gospel!