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January 23, 2023

Highlights From the All-Church Annual Meeting and the Downtown & North Special Meetings (December 18, 2022)

Amanda Knoke

Director for Communications

All-Church Annual Meeting Highlights ...

  • Transition Blessings (Prayers & Song)
  • Membership Report
  • Motions Related to All-Church Positions
  • 2022 Financial Update & 2023 Budget Update
  • Fill These Cities 25 x ’25: Reports

Transition Blessings

Six pastors/elders (from the Downtown Campus, North Campus, and South Cities Church) offered prayers for each congregation, which can be read in their entirety here (including two that had audio issues, which were not heard at all meeting locations). Following the prayer time, a final “all-church” worship team led in a song of blessing for the congregations to each other.

Transition Pray-ers

  • Dan Holst: For Bethlehem (Minneapolis)
  • Steven Lee: For South Cities Church (Lakeville)
  • Bruce Power: For The North Church (Mounds View)
  • David Livingston: For Bethlehem (as “sending” church)
  • Kenny Stokes: For South Cities Church & The North Church
  • Bud Burk: For All Three Churches (to-be)

Membership Report

  • At the end of the October 16 Business Meeting, the membership stood at 2,270.
  • Since that time, 13 members have been added and 50 members were removed.
  • Total membership at the start of the December Annual Business Meeting = 2,233
  • Today (December 18), 296 members are being recommended for removal.
  • Vote to remove South Cities Church members and former South Campus members per the membership report. The motion was affirmed.

Motions Related to All-Church Positions

The following motions related to all-church positions, and were adopted by the assembly:

  • Call Bryan Rohde as Deacon
  • Elect Steve Walmsley as Financial Secretary
  • Elect Bryan Rohde as Treasurer
  • Elect Bobby Ratliff as Church Clerk
  • Reaffirm Joe Krekelberg as Deacon
  • Reaffirm Joby Morgan as Deacon

2022 Financial Update & 2023 Budget Update

Pastor Jon Grano presented a 2022 Financial Update & 2023 Budget Update

  • God-dependent generosity: We recognize how dependent we are on God for everything, including generosity, and that the victory belongs to him. This year we launched South Cities Church on December 1, and we join them in praying for extraordinary December generosity so that they start the new year financially healthy.
  • We also pray for a strong 2022 finish for the North & Downtown campuses. The prayer goal is to receive $2.0M in December to cover 2022 ministry expenses and replenish our operating reserves. Since November 30, ~$450K was given. So as of this weekend (Dec 18), our goal is about $1.55M.
  • A 2023 “working budget” or “functional budget” was presented that would encompass the Downtown & North campuses between January 1 and February 1, 2023, when North becomes a separate and distinct church.

‘Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25’ Reports

‘Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25’: Global Outreach Report

Nick Whitehead, Ministerial Coordinator for Global Outreach, North, presented the Global Outreach report, including ...

  • Reports from nine global partners spanning the Downtown and North campuses, and the South Cities Church (formerly the South Campus), including front-burner prayer requests.
  • A video update from a global partner serving in Papua New Guinea.

‘Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25’: Church Planting Report

Pastor Kenny Stokes presented the Church Planting Report.

  • In 2022, Bethlehem elders approved two church plants: the Good News Church of Eagan (Haddon & Karlyn Anderson) and the South Cities Church—formerly Bethlehem’s South Campus (Dave & Kelly Zuleger).
  • Those churches were #15 & #16 since the inauguration of the 25 x ’25 vision to pray for 25 new churches/revitalizations to be started by the year 2025.
  • Thanks for Cleon Engel. Since about 2008, Cleon has assisted Bethlehem’s church planting ministry by shepherding pastors at church plants affiliated with Bethlehem.


On Sunday, December 18, the Downtown and North campuses each held a Special Meeting to conduct campus business prior to the All-Church Annual Meeting held on the same date. See highlights from each campus below.

Downtown Special Meeting Highlights

  • Membership Report
  • Financial and Pastoral Report
  • Announcement: Change in Office Hours
  • Reaffirming & Calling Elders

Membership Report

Coordinator for Vision and Operations Jake Wood presented the Membership Report. The congregation approved the report, which removed 15 people from membership for a remaining count of 996 members affiliated with the Downtown Campus.

Financial and Pastoral Report

Pastor Kenny Stokes presented a financial update.

  • The current budget need as of today is $1.5 million dollars by the end of 2022 in order to cover all expenses for 2022 and to replenish our operating reserve. We are praying for the Lord to cover this need as it will affect how the Downtown Campus (Bethlehem) is set up as an independently operating church starting February 1, 2023.
  • The positions of a number of Bethlehem staff will conclude at the end of the year. We would like to honor them as they have been diligent to keep doing their work even knowing their roles were coming to an end.
  • We have not changed the 2023 working budget as of yet. This budget is presented now as required by the church bylaws. In January we should have 2022 actuals and can make final changes at that time as needed.
  • Looking back at 2022, it was a year of transition. We experienced a decrease of staff and we worked toward the multiplication into three self-governing churches.
  • We are looking to implement a vision template that would help us check in on our short-term vision and goals on a 90-day cadence. The plan is to present this to the elders January 7.

Announcement: Change in Office Hours

The Downtown Campus church office will change its hours at the beginning of the year to be Monday to Thursday, 9am to 3pm; and closed on Fridays.

Reaffirming & Calling Elders

Motion carried to reaffirm/call the following elders for a three-year term:

  • Pastor Chuck Steddom as a staff elder
  • René González as a staff elder
  • Elder Candidate Mike Lane as a non-staff elder

North Campus Special Meeting Highlights

  • Membership Report
  • Reaffirming Elders
  • Reflections & Updates

Membership Report

Pastor Steven Lee presented the Membership Report. The congregation approved the report, which removed 35 people from membership for a remaining count of 901 members affiliated with the North Campus.

Reaffirming and Calling Elders

Motion carried to reaffirm the following elders for a three-year term:

  • Pastor Steven Lee as a staff elder
  • Aaron Rothermel as a staff elder
  • Kurt Elting-Ballard as a non-staff elder

Reflections & Updates

  • The South Campus launched to become South Cities Church on December 1, 2022.
  • The North Campus launch is anticipated for February 1, 2023.
  • The North Church domain name will be
  • The new Chair of the North Elder council will be Tim Johnson, and the Vice-Chair will be Ryan Dembeck.

Special thanks to Bobby Ratliff, Jon Grano, and Stephen Clayton for the preparation of this post.