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We journey with God, to serve with love

Our Mission, Vision & Values

Our mission statement is built on our welcoming values:


“We journey with God to serve with Love”


WE: As a community of faith, using the pronoun “We” to begin our mission statement was not a default  choice of "marketing". Rather, the word “we” emphasizes our togetherness and the belief that ministry cannot be done alone – whether in worship, mission or in daily relationship. The word “We” is built into our Nicene Creed ("We believe in one God...") and the scriptural words of Hebrews 12:1-2a ("Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.") Perhaps the best modern usage of this word, however, comes from the famous remarks of (Anglican) Archbishop of Cape Town, Desmond Tutu: “I am because we are.”


JOURNEY: Faith as journey lies at the heart of the Christian story. The symbol of the early Christian church was that of a boat – a vessel where believers gathered to embark on a spiritual voyage together, facing the elements of life and weathering the storms together with boldness and care. Today Bethlehem embraces a renewed journey as a welcoming community because of an inspired sense of purpose, adventure and faith…for whatever life brings our way.


WITH: Perhaps the third most important word in the bible (Next to "Jesus" and "God," of course!) is the word "With." With denotes presence and accompaniment  ("Lo, I am with you always," says our Savior at the end of Matthew's gospel) and is part of the very name of Jesus himself (Emmanuel, which translates as "God with us.") We believe so strongly in the power of being "With" God and one another that we put this word in our Mission Statement...TWICE! :)


GOD: God is at the center of our mission, and our lives of faith. You might say that "center" says it all.


TO SERVE: Years ago the word "service" was synonymous with the worship experience. Now many churches (and faiths) see the act and faith practice of serving our neighbors at home and abroad not as an extension of the church, but as a primary component of it. Christ came to serve, showing and teaching us to do the same. We really need look no further than his call for serving the hungry, the poor and the forgotten in Matthew 25:34-40 - "...For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me..." More than anything, at Bethlehem we want you to feel welcome as a neighbor, and empowered to serve in a way that feels true to yourself and God's call to discipleship in your life.


(WITH) LOVE: God is love. Yup, that's in the Bible! But maybe even more important than that is the importance of putting love above all else. If our lives of faith are like a hike into the mountains, everything below love is a simply a "false summit" - perhaps a higher place than others, but not where our vision meets our highest calling. The apostle Paul says it best in his famous letter to the folks in ancient Corinth:

"If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love." (The Message translation, 1 Cor. 13:1-3)


To read more about our Vision, click here.

Our Vision Statement:

As a community of believers journeying with God together, we at Bethlehem are called to serve with love by growing a premier youth ministry; enlivening Christian discipleship through lifelong learning, care, and spiritual formation; fostering a vibrant and inspiring worship experience; utilizing our natural setting and location for faithful creation care and outdoor ministry; and opening our doors always to be a “campus at the crossroads” for the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.




We are a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America. To learn more about the ELCA as a whole and our denominational values, please click the image below. 




Bethlehem Lutheran Church
1050 Peninsula Drive
Traverse City, MI 49686-2799
Phone: 231.947.9880