Through the JumpStart Program, Bethlehem Baptist Church aims to assist a church experiencing decline or plateaued growth in four ways:
Generally speaking, declining churches that meet the following criteria make good candidates for the Bethlehem Jumpstart program:
Past experience tells us that allowing 2–3 years for the transition is best: starting with the application process, continuing through a congregational affirmation of a new pastor and new vision, and then concluding with the installation of the new pastor.
Churches in the JumpStart Program will pursue covenant membership in the Treasuring Christ Together Network. Most TCTN churches are also affiliated with other denominations and/or networks.
In 2011, leaders from Hayden Heights Baptist Church in St. Paul, MN, requested help from Bethlehem Baptist Church. Building on the decades of fruitful ministry of Hayden Heights Church, we then sought to find a pastoral resident suitable to lead the church in a new vision that, by the grace of God, might result in revitalization.
Through our search process, God called Weyland Leach into our pastoral residency. As a pastoral resident, he began getting to know the people of the church and casting a vision for the future. Then, in July 2013, the congregation affirmed the new vision, installed Weyland Leach as pastor, and shortened the church name to “The Heights Church” (theheightschurchmn.org).
The original members welcomed the new leadership, and new people came to partner together for renewed growth. Soon, church attendance more than doubled as God renewed the life and ministry of the church under the new leadership. Join us in praising God for his more than 90 years of faithfulness to The Heights Church, and pray for many more years of faithful and fruitful ministry in the years to come.