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New name, same values

Bethlehem SCV launches rebranding campaign to refocus outreach efforts

Posted: December 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 28, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran voted to rename the church to Bethlehem SCV as part of a new rebranding campaign and reaching others. The change of name does not affect what the church teaches.

This Christmas season one long-standing local holiday tradition was missing from the usual celebrations around town. Bethlehem SCV, formerly Bethlehem Lutheran Church, made the final decision to no longer host the living nativity event “Follow the Star.”

The decision was in part made due to a lack of man power, but also as a part of a campaign to rebrand the church.

Bethlehem postponed the production last year after many key technical team members moved to other areas. At the same time the church lost many members, meaning less volunteers for a production that takes nearly 300 people each night of the event.

With that in mind, the decision was made this year to permanently suspend the production as an outreach ministry of the church.

“There has been some sadness about not having ‘Follow the Star,’ the congregation loves it,” said Pastor John Koczman. “There was also a sense of relief. A lot of people were tired and worn out from it.”

“Follow the Star” was a living nativity production which portrayed the birth, life and death of Jesus Christ. Nearly 7,000 people attended the event each year, which was set as a drive-thru event around the Canyon Country campus.

“Ending ‘Follow the Star’ was certainly tough. Many people came to the church through that mission,” said church elder and long time member Timothy Amey. “The amount of resources and effort needed for it could be directed in other ways to help more people in need.”

Rebranding and reaching others

In making the decision to no longer host “Follow the Star” the congregation decided to revitalize the church and began a rebranding campaign.

The congregation voted to rename the church to Bethlehem SCV, dropping the Lutheran title, but not the affiliation. Websites and emails were also changed accordingly, along with the church’s motto, “A place to belong, a place to become.”

“This is more of a way to be in touch with the community around us,” said Bethlehem’s business manager Rick Terwal, who has attended the church for more than 20 years.

The decision to drop the Lutheran name does not affect what the church believes and teaches, reassured Koczman. It’s simply a way to become more accessible to a community which may not known exactly what Lutheran means.

Other minor projects were also started. Members began volunteering to help repaint, repair and beautify the exterior of the church. Shutters were added and replaced and the exterior look, along with the feel of the church were revitalized to create a welcoming, loving church

The rebranding campaign will include new community outreach missions. Each month a new outreach will be focused on, along with several larger missions throughout the year.

“We felt God was leading us in a different direction and we wanted to be open to that,” said Timothy Amey, church Elder and long time member. “We are actively seeking ways to bring glory to God and help others. Rebranding ties it all together.”

The church will continue it’s efforts with the winter shelter, Help the Children, river clean up and other community projects. The congregation will also find other ways, in lieu of the Follow the Star production, to serve the community on a larger level.

“We want to be a more missional church that reaches out to people and loves people,” said Koczman. “We want to create a more inviting atmosphere for dechurched people.”

In addition, the preschool which the church operates, was moved from a nearby off-campus location directly onto the church campus itself. Members say it has made a big difference within the church.

“We are no longer restricted to being the church of the Follow the Star,” said Amey.

“If you’ve got a passion, we’re here to work together and help multiply those gifts.”


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