Three Campuses for Treasuring Christ Together

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Founder & Teacher,

Treasuring Christ Together
is Bethlehem's strategy for
spreading a passion for the supremacy of God
in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ
by multiplying campuses
planting churches and
supporting the Global Diaconate
for the poorest of the poor.

Out of every dollar you give on the envelope line marked Treasuring Christ Together, 10% goes to Church Planting and 10% goes to the Global Diaconate. The remaining 80% pays for campus expansion. Phase one of the Mounds View Campus will be fully functional, Lord willing, on June 26 when we have our first worship service on the new campus. The financial needs to pay for the new campus are great. We will communicate more soon about how we are seeking the Lord's help to meet that need.

Most of you probably heard on Sunday about the decision to delay the South Campus startup until the fall of 2006. For some of you this is a sigh of relief, because the pace to make it happen seemed undoable, and for others this is a disappointment. We feel both ourselves. I had hoped and pressed for a fall of 2005 launch. Basically what this decision means is that we are giving ourselves one more year of planning and preparation before we start the South Campus.

Behind this decision was the sense that too many things were still up in the air to start this fall. First, the Lord did not give us peace or unity around a specific location. Second, and even more important, the staffing configuration has not yet come together. The “face-with-the-place” pastor has not emerged. And the worship leadership is not in place. Third, it is not yet clear which elders will align themselves with the south campus, partly because the campus could swing east or west in the south, and thus be nearer to different elders. Fourth, one other factor that did not come in for much discussion but may also be relevant is that I will be on sabbatical for five months from roughly March through July, 2006. This might have not been the best way to launch a new campus and have me disappear from five months of its early life.

This decision is not a vague postponement into an unspecified future. This is an intentional repositioning of our launch with a concrete intention to give 15 months of concerted effort to have all the unanswered questions answered by next spring so that we are ready to go next fall. We think this is realistic.

To all of you who have dreamed with us and attended planning meetings, please don't let up in prayer and dreaming. Fifteen months is not a long time in God's economy. It will go by very fast. A lot must happen. Let's pray earnestly that by this time next year everything is in place.

As I have sought the Lord in recent weeks for wisdom to be a good leader at Bethlehem, I have been convicted most by James 3:17-18. In God's mind wisdom has more to do with purity than with mental powers. “The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” Would you pray for me and the other elders that we would each be this kind of man? Wisdom will flow where purity and peace and gentleness and teachableness and mercy and sincerity and impartiality flow.

Pastor John