Past and Future at the Bethlehem Conference Reunion

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Founder & Teacher,

On Tuesday, June 29, after the evening meeting of the Baptist General Conference annual meeting in Kalamazoo, Bethlehem hosted a reunion for friends and former members of the church. Over 100 people came to enjoy refreshments and fellowship and a brief report from the pastor. All of us who were there (almost 40 present members and children) give Olive and Arnie Nelson and Jean and David Mueller a hearty thanks for making this happen. They did the work.

I want the rest of you to know the good things I shared about BBC.

New members 1980-82: 296
by baptism 1980-82:     
Deletions         1980-82: 231
Total membership now: 843

Average morning attendance January-June 1982:
Average morning attendance January-June 1983:

Total gift income
(up 53% over 3 years)
$279,000 $396,000 $427,000
Total missions giving
(up 107% over 3 years)
48,000 82,000 99,000
Gifts to BGC
(up 144% over 3 years)
28,000 56,000 69,000

These figures include the 37% of Project ’84 that goes to our Conference Decade Growth Fund. But the earnings of the BBC Church Foundation are not included.

The growing generosity of BBC has enabled expanded staffing and facilities for ministry. In February, 1981, Glenn Ogren and in September, 1982, Tom Steller were added to equip the saints for ministry. Dean Palermo has been called to lead us in music and worship ministries beginning August 9. And the search committee is still seeking a full-time minister of evangelism and discipleship to encourage us and mobilize us to make disciples out of unbelievers in the Twin Cities, that Christ might be magnified as Lord. Besides these, your giving sustains the ministries of Florence Martin (Asians), Cory Dahl (senior high), Gregg Heinsch (junior high), Mike Rowe (children), Brad Soukup (outreach), Leah Harding (organist), Carol Steinbach (church secretary), Elsie Viren (church missionary), Neil Grover and Jack Photisanh (custodians).

BBC generosity has also sustained and expanded facilities for ministry. A new roof was provided. Remodeling of restrooms for the handicapped and office expansion for another minister are soon to begin. The house at 1212 8th St. was moved and our parking lot was renewed and expanded. The trustees are presently negotiating for the house next door. A new smoke alarm system has been installed, four places for wheel-chairs have been provided among the pews and the parking lot of Professional Litho Art has been rented for our Sunday parking.

As pastor I feel like the last three years have been the beginning of a foundation for a fruitful future with God. I think the next year at least will also be foundational. Things are not quite in place for the great harvest of the 80’s. Keep praying; join the “Morning Watch” at 6:00 a.m. Wednesdays. Seek God over and in all. Hasten the day when the lost in our midst are reborn, sins are forsaken, businesses are made just, marriages are healed, leisure is purified, bitterness is melted, grudges are forsaken, greed and luxury are replaced with a war-time simplicity for evangelism. Come, Lord Jesus!

Thankful for you in the past,
hopeful with you in the future,

Pastor John