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October 23, 2019

All-Church Quarterly Strategy Meeting (October 20, 2019)

Amanda Knoke

Director for Communications

Meeting Highlights

  • Devotional from Elder Chair, Kurt Elting-Ballard
  • Membership Report
  • Treasurer’s Report
  • Report on Downtown and North Campus Facilities
  • “Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25” Update


Kurt reflected on God’s faithfulness to Bethlehem over the decades, leading us through transitions like the development of our mission statement and the provision a South Campus building. He encouraged the church to pray in the spirit of Acts 4:23–31, “... They lifted up their voices together to God and said, ‘Sovereign Lord …. Grant to your servants to continue to speak your word with all boldness, while you stretch out your hand to heal, and signs and wonders are performed through the name of your holy servant Jesus.’”

Membership Report

At the end of the meeting, Bethlehem membership stood at 2,702.

Treasurer’s Report

Adam Sexton presented the Treasurer’s Report to the assembly.

Third Quarter Summary

Giving was $2.20M

  • Down $317K when compared to Q3 2018 giving

Spending was $2.42M

  • Down $41K when compared to Q3 2018 spending
  • $180K below Q3 2019 budget

Spending exceeded giving by $222K

  • In Q3 2018, spending exceeded giving by $54K

Year-to-Date  Summary

Giving was $6.83M

  • Down $275K from 2018 when giving was $7.10M

Spending was $7.33M

  • Down $11K from 2018 when spending was $7.34M
  • $431K below YTD 2019 budget (5.5% of YTD budget)

Spending has exceeded giving by $501K

  • In 2018 September, YTD spending exceeded giving by $237K

Mortgage Update

Bethlehem Mortgage for North Campus

  • $1.88M Principal balance as of 9/30/19
  • Reduced by $320K YTD

Bethlehem Mortgage for South Campus

  • $6.84M principal balance as of 9/30/19
  • Reduced by $82K YTD (payments began in March)


Similar to Q2, finances are stable, but initiatives in our 2019 budget not being done that require additional financial resources.

Prayer ...

  • For continued wisdom in managing the finances of the church
  • For generous giving to meet our financial needs as a congregation

Report on Downtown and North Campus Facilities

Pastor Jon Grano shared a report on facilities at the Downtown and North Campuses and highlighted upcoming needs to replace the Downtown HVAC system and Commons roof this November, at an unbudgeted cost of $275,000. He also shared that we will also need to replace the North Campus roof in the next few years, at an estimated cost of $400,000 to $550,000. Jon reminded us how God met our needs to fully fund the gym and kitchen for the South Campus in 2018, and encouraged us that Bethlehem is a good investment for our “over-and-above” Kingdom giving.

‘Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25’ Updates

Church Planting

  • Cleon Engel shared an update on Bethlehem’s approval of Echo Church, led by JD Hettema in Chino, California.
  • Cleon introduced Bethlehem’s newest Church Planting Resident, Andrew Sheard, along with his wife, Lida; and son, Walter. They will begin planting next year in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Unengaged People Groups

  • Pastor David Livingston updated the church on the upcoming plans for Global Focus 2019: Bethlehem College & Seminary Chapel services, the Global Focus Meal & Kickoff, the seminar on worship in a multicultural church, and sermons from Pastors Jason Meyer and John Piper.
  • Pastor Brad Nelson recently took a trip to Greece and wanted to make Bethlehem aware of the growing number of refugees coming to faith.
    • A church in Berlin has 1,000 Afghan Christians.
    • The church in Iran is the fastest growing in the Muslim world.

Strengthening the Core

  • Pastor Jason Meyer shared the following statement from the elders:

    “In light of our vision to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ, the elders of Bethlehem have prayerfully discerned over the past few months that we are at a pivotal and exciting moment in the life of our church. Over the past several years, we have moved toward greater campus identity and strengthening in many good and healthy ways. This has included greater contextualization of ministry at each campus, greater shepherding by the campus elders, developing care and counseling (including domestic abuse care), and casting campus-specific vision. We also have a growing focus on carrying out the “one anothers” of Scripture as we focus on community, small groups, equipping, sanctification, and local and global evangelism. We also recognize that it has come with many challenges. Pastor Jason has shared with the elders that it is increasingly challenging for him to exercise both preaching and shepherding across all three campuses. We are asking the congregation to pray with us for the future structure and organization of Bethlehem, which includes possible campus specific QSMs and more regular live campus specific preaching. We also believe it is important to steward our many all church graces (e.g., Global Partners, Bethlehem College & Seminary, Bethlehem Ministry Initiatives, Church Planting, and Campus Outreach). We are eager to engage the congregation and to hear their thoughts and reflections.”

  • Pastor Jason unpacked the statement by sharing the challenges that led the elders to consider these changes and the benefits of increasing contextualized campus ministries through regular live preaching. Current considerations include Pastor Jason serving as preaching pastor Downtown, Pastor Steven Lee serving as preaching pastor North, Pastor Dave Zuleger serving as preaching pastor South, and Pastor Ken Currie serving in an all-church capacity in the role of strategic implementation/executive pastor.  
  • Campus Pastors Ken Currie, Steven Lee, and Dave Zuleger shared their approval of the statement and reflected briefly on what it could mean for their respective campuses. Other pastors from the three campuses also added their concurrence. 
  • Pastor Jason encouraged the congregation to pray with the elders and to participate in upcoming campus-specific Family Meetings to share their thoughts and to ask questions.

Thanks to Church Clerks Benjamin Holvey and Jacob Smith for their assistance in preparing this update.