Our Mission, Vision, Beliefs and Values
“Through God’s abundant love we invite, welcome, and serve as a light in the world.“
“We strive to be an all-welcoming, relationship-enriching, Christ-centered church, partnering with our community, sharing God’s love through worship and service, and inspiring everyone to seek, know, and follow Jesus.
We believe and teach that:
- Jesus Christ embodies God’s love for creation, extending grace and life to all of us.
- The Spirit of God empowers us to do good works in response to God’s grace in our lives.
- The Holy Bible is the inspired Word of God and is the source of our faith and life together.
- God inspires people throughout history and the Christian church especially in: the Lutheran Confessions, Baptism, Communion, creeds, and our faith partners.
- All people are created in God’s image and all are welcome in this community.
- Christ-Centered Relationships – We value time spent with believers and seekers in worship, fellowship, and service. The core of these relationships is Christ-like love showing mutual support and accountability.
- Profound Inclusiveness – We value the deliberate and counter-cultural ways Jesus includes people. We follow Jesus and invite others to follow Him by living compassionate and loving lives.
- Growing Generosity – We value God’s abundant creation and seek to grow in giving our time, talents and treasures in response to God’s generosity.
- Selfless Service – We value meeting and serving our neighbors wherever they are. We trust God to lead us in mission and outreach throughout our community and world.
- Transformative Faith – We value spiritual growth through worship, Bible study and continued learning. By God’s grace we boldly embrace our differences, walk daily with Christ, and grow together in our spiritual development.
Our Mission, Vision, Beliefs and Values are pending congregation approval. These statements have been formed by the Strategic Planning Team throughout 2020-2021. These are living statements, meaning they may change as we change.
Bethlehem is a “liturgical” church. That means our worship has a set pattern to it handed down to us over the centuries. But within that Lutheran tradition, we worship in many ways—blue grass, gospel, jazz, Taize, in addition to traditional Lutheran liturgies. At Bethlehem, we share the Lord’s Supper at every Sunday worship service.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
2022 Synod Assembly Update
Reflections on the 2022 Rocky Mountain Synod Assembly
May 9-11, 2022 in Loveland, CO
Mike and Sue Smith
What a wonderful Synod Assembly!
The joy was shared– the joy of a new beginning and being together. The enthusiasm of Bishop Gonia, the presenters and panels, and all the attendees was apparent and shared.
The Assembly began with worship and sermon by Pr. Steph Lord from Christ the Servant in Louisville. This was paired with an excellent video on the Marshall fire and the effects this had on Pr. Lord and other members of their congregation. (Video links below)
The assembly was divided by five plenary sessions as well as interest groups as follows:
- Classic Church — Church Becoming
- Classic Church is recognized as emphasizing staff, building and program. This emphasis served the church well in the 20th century.
- Church Becoming recognizes a change towards a church which emphasizes Values, Mission, and Vitality. In terms of worship it would not be limited to the Sanctuary/ nave only. Sacred space can be found wherever we choose it to be where we do God’s work. We must go where the people are and not just be available for them to come. The church should serve a vital role in the community and a community gathering place for fellowship, mission and worship. In order to serve our community and before we can serve our community, we must know our community.
- It is becoming apparent that we must also cooperate with other congregations in mission and worship. There are currently 50 congregations in transition and whereas in the past there may have been 4 pastoral candidates we may see 2 candidates. There is a shortage of pastors and deacons which will increase the number of congregations which share a pastor. Cooperation among congregations may become necessary for congregational survival.
- Normalizing the Unexpected (Racial)
- The big problem in getting along with others (differences) is fear. We tend to be fearful about groups (racial, ethnic, etc.) but become friends with individuals when we meet as human beings.
- Valerie Alexander states “The human brain is a remarkable achievement in evolution. Unfortunately the brain activity that kept us alive is the same brain activity that keeps us from equality today.”
- Normalizing the unexpected is a slow wade into conversation and engagement that will assist participants in recognizing our biases and lead us on a road to truly embracing “love one another as I have loved you.”
- Several programs including Excellence in Leadership, Vital Right-Shaped Ministry, and Generosity and a Mindset of Abundance are fully or partially funded by the 3E grant from Eli Lilly.
- Excellence in Leadership.
- Leadership is difficult, it takes courage, resiliency, and faith
- Courage to look at and consider ourselves honestly
- Resiliency to stare at repeat failures and start again
- Faithfulness because we have to learn to see the world through the eyes of God
- Vital Right-Shaped Ministry (VRSM)
- How can our ministry shape itself for the future?
- What does vitality look like at Bethlehem?
- VRSM provides tools and fits into “Church Becoming” by asking congregations and leaders to become self aware, adapt to a thriving future and set a course for the pastor and those with whom they serve for the journey ahead.
- Generosity and a Mindset of Abundance
- Do we act from a mindset of abundance or deprivation? Our background has a long lasting effect on our attitude towards positive or negative thinking regarding our attitude about wealth.
- It is important to build a culture of generosity which brings joy rather than a culture of prosperity. Wealth for a purpose, not as a goal unto itself. Building a culture of generosity is a 3E program for stewardship, which when subsidized costs $150.00
- Interest group informal meal conversations
- Faith formation; The same old, same old no longer works; Used to doesn’t count; Social media and Covid isolation has had a negative impact on children, teenagers, adults and families; The church needs to become one with the community and a safe place for all; The gospel has not changed but our method of sharing it must adapt to the current generational circumstances.In lieu of the ELCA youth gathering this summer, the RMS is planning
- “Wonderfully Made- An RMS High School Summer Experience July 21-23 in Denver.”
- Covid has prevented group involvement at the state house level the past 2 years however advocacy still exists
- Peter Severson is the Director of Advocacy for Colorado
- The current advocacy agenda includes ending hunger, poverty reduction, access to housing, criminal justice reform, public health, migration and refugees, and environment— a large agenda reflecting a broad array of concerns.
- Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations
- Mr. Vance Blackfox, a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and Director of Indigenous Ministries and Tribal Relations, ELCA
- A very interesting topic with a real lack of knowledge on our part for tribal relations.
- 575 sovereign tribes in the United States today
- Repudiation of the Doctrine of Discovery. ELCA, Presbyterians, and The Christian Reformed repudiated the doctrine in 2016, with the Episcopal Church and the U.N in 2012
- It is estimated that there were over 100 million indigenous people in the Americas during the time of Columbus landing in the Americas, this was roughly 1/5 of the world’s population at that time
- The acknowledgement and a healing of all the Indian Schools in the United States; one recently made news in Colorado. Canada did this 20 years ago.
- We need to acknowledge that we are on their land – it was theirs first.
- We need to be educated in the Indigenous people ways if we are to be able to help with the problems of the reservations.
- Acknowledge them in our services by prayer, worship, and tribal recognition of the land the church is on. We can do this by acknowledgement, education, and commitment.
- The old way of service is “for others” which is charity – the new way is “with others” which is a covenant. Lots to learn.
Marshall Fire Videos
About the ELCA
We feel blessed to be a part of the ELCA, a Lutheran denomination of 5,000,000 believers and 10,000 congregations. The ELCA connects us to the larger Lutheran community and its outreach: ELCA World Hunger, Lutheran World Relief, Lutheran Disaster Response, Lutheran Family Services, Lutheran Global Church, among many others.
As part of the ELCA, we believe that the Bible is God’s living and inspired word. We try and live out God’s unconditional grace in word and action. We recognize the dignity of all human beings regardless of their race, age, national origin, gender or sexual orientation. Our denomination calls and ordains men, women, and LGBTQIA+ people. The communion table is open and welcoming to all.
Bethlehem is truly blessed with a wonderful, energetic and compassionate staff. They are able to teach, assist, enable and encourage us to live out our calling, “Blessed to be a blessing.”
Meet our staff
Longmont was without a Lutheran Congregation in 1900. When people of Scandinavian heritage made their way here from Chicago in 1901, they found that Longmont had neither a Lutheran congregation nor church.
Read more about our history