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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Bethlehem Lutheran encourages youth involvement

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pastor Jim Steen
Bethlehem Lutheran Church sits up on the hilltop at the north end of Cherokee. Its pastor, Jim Steen, has been the leader of the church for more than 11 years and knows the church and its congregation as a second home and family.

"The people here are just very gracious and friendly," he said. "They are very aware of Gods gifts and they celebrate them."

One way the congregation has shared those gifts is by building an outdoor ministry building this past summer. The building will serve as a storage facility for the church parade float but the backside will also be used for outdoor ministry. There are plans for a portable altar to be made so that worship can be held on the lawn during the summer.

Youth Director Heidi Church
In the meantime, the youth director has been using the fire pit and picnic tables for fellowship with the youth of the church. Heidi Church, pastor of Youth and Family ministries in the church, has been with Bethlehem Lutheran since May, 2008 and is starting to rebuild old programs and strengthen new ideas she has for the ministry.

The church has started a new Wednesday night program called Pioneer Club under the direction of Church and she couldn't be more excited for the new growth she is seeing.

"Our motto is to take Christ into every aspect of life," Church said. "It's exciting to walk through the halls and hear the kids shout out a Bible verse and just having a blast here. It's humbling to see the kids learning about Christ."

Pioneer Club meets every Wednesday night starting with a light supper at 5:30 p.m. in the church basement and then activities start at 6 p.m. The club was started after Church experienced the same program in a pervious church.

This past Sunday the youth and their parents, along with congregation members, went caroling throughout Cherokee. After an hour and a half out in the cold, the high school youth held a soup fundraiser in the fellowship hall at the church.

"The money the kids earned will go towards a trip to New Orleans next summer to do mission work," Church said. "My goal is to just give family memories of doing things within the church because that was my favorite time of growing up in my church."

Together both Steen and Church would like to see new programs and more people becoming involved with Bethlehem Lutheran. Steen's goal for 2009 is to start a group for young adults to become involved with.

"I would like to see more done with the young people of our church. Those who are college age or in their twenties and thirties, whether they have children or not, just to give them something more in the church," he said. " I think we are missing out on doing more for that age group. They are very busy and it's a challenge to fit things in but we have quite a few young people who have become part of the congregation."

All in all, Steen says the best part of his job is seeing people's faith lived out in everyday lives.

For more information about Bethlehem Lutheran, visit their web site at www.lutheransonline.com/bethlehemcheroke....

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