I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,
but you are fellow citizens with the saints
and members of the household of God,
built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone,
in whom the whole structure, being joined together,
grows into a holy temple in the Lord.
In him you also are being built together
into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
I admit that when my firstborn son was six months old, he was a bit hefty. Of course his mom and I thought he was perfect. At his first checkup, the doctor told us that he was very healthy and doing well, but by age five, at this rate of growth, he would be bigger than the hospital. “Don’t be concerned,” the doctor smiled. “He is growing well. You have a fine son.”
That was 20 years ago, and my son has grown well (not nearly as big as the hospital, mind you).
Bethlehem has grown, too. A new Downtown sanctuary and education space have been built, a full-service North Campus is thriving, and a South Site congregation is ready to become a blessed 24/7 ministry to the South Metro and beyond. We are reaching out to the Twin Cities and blessing the nations together. God has been good to us.
For almost a decade, Bethlehem has grown with a multi-site strategy we call “Treasuring Christ Together.” Because some of our people are worshiping in the North Metro (Mounds View), some are worshiping Downtown (Minneapolis), and some are worshiping in the South Metro (Burnsville), we have been able to reach out strategically to more of the Twin Cities as we grow.
Bethlehem is healthy and growing, and it is now time for the next steps of Treasuring Christ Together—providing a 24/7 church home for our South congregation, reducing current Bethlehem debt associated with TCT’s multi-campus strategy that launched our completed North Campus, and giving a generous tithe for church planting and for the world’s poor.
For the next 30 months, we will strive for these goals, as the Lord provides, in a campaign we call “Building One People.” It is an honor for me to serve with the task force overseeing “Building One People.” We have labored many hours in prayer and planning already and, as of September 25, we thank God that the 30-month campaign, with a goal to raise the needed $18 million, has begun.
“Building One People” is about more than buildings or any one person. “Building One People” is about seeing our 5,000 people over three campuses—and the many more who, by God’s grace, may be added—built together by God and serving the Twin Cities together with a passion for Jesus.
Twenty years ago, my first son was dedicated at Bethlehem. (He was the only child in the dedication service, but so far this year, more than 110 children have been born or adopted into our church!)
During the dedication service, Pastor John asked to hold my son to make a point about how Jesus cares for children. “Now this boy is like a Piper baby!” he commented as he hoisted the lad into his arms. Hefty at the time, perhaps, but I know that my son is a beautiful gift from God.
Bethlehem, too, is a growing gift of God. If you are part of Bethlehem in the Twin Cities or a friend of Bethlehem around the world, please pray with us as we “Build One People” on the cornerstone—Jesus.
Chairman, TCT Funding Committee