Bethlehem United Methodist Church
Monday, December 10, 2018
Mission Statement: To give of ourselves so others may know Jesus Christ.


















Dear Friends in Christ,

  Recently, Sean Garner and I attended a seminar in Lewisburg, PA featuring speakers who have been at work creating what they called a Discipleship Pathway. It was a helpful day, and there were several ideas that can be translated for use here at Bethlehem. But... oh no, here it comes... but it seems that most of the educational events I have attended recently feature speakers from churches less than 20-years-old. In our locality, we seem to be surrounded by a number of churches that are relatively young, and several of them seem to be thriving, often at the expense of long-established churches.

  The problem, as I attend these events, is that we are not hearing from churches that have been around 75 years and more. New churches are very different animals than long-established churches. Its hard to translate sometimes. Change comes hard in established churches because there are more traditions and a longer institutional memory. Convincing congregations to embrace what may be a new normal is just not easy. Ideas born in new churches often do not translate into established churches. Oh, I wish it were easy. But its not. I often come away from those events frustrated.

  So, imagine my surprise when I heard a conversation extolling the strengths of the established church and why we should love them.

Some observations are:

  • After a church has been around for more than a decade, it becomes an established church.

  • When you inherit an established church, you often inherit 4-5 generations in a church.

  • A healthy established church will have people who are involved and integrated into the health of the


  • Not only do established churches have buildings, they are often in strategic locations in their town.


    The six reasons we should love the established church are:

    1. They are often multigenerational.
    2. They have generations of gospel stories.
    3. They are often anchors in their community.

    4. Many of them have buildings in strategic locations.

    5. Many of them have stable finances.
    6. They have a history worth saving.

   Do you like what you hear in these bullet points? Good. So, lets stop a minute and celebrate who we are and the strength we have. We have been serving the community of Dallastown since before 1850, when our first building was constructed across the street. That is remarkable. Remarkable! Lets resolve, as we follow Jesus, to remain a healthy, servant people of God.

               Better Disciples, More Disciples,