Our Church's Story | A Letter From Our Pastor

February 4, 2021

I am a family man through and through. My wife and I have three children, Rainy Jewell, River Josephine, and Ross Jax. We moved to the Baltimore area in 2009 after graduating from Bible College and have been here ever since. We live in the Dundalk Area, and when it became clear that it was God's timing to start a church, the plan was to start in our home. A house church around our dining room table sounded refreshing and organic, but God had other plans. Within one week of the decision to plant a church in Dundalk, my path crossed with Dr. Ron Wright, pastor of Merritt Park Baptist Church. Dr. Wright has been faithfully serving the Lord in the Dundalk community for 40 years. We had one conversation and I could sense the Spirit's involvement. After several meetings with the church leadership at Merritt Park, they graciously offered the use of their facilities and Bethlehem Church was born. What inevitably would have begun in our home, quickly gained traction in a local church, offering more space and expanding our outreach instantly. We are grateful for the kindness that Merritt Park showed us. After being in that facility for a year the Lord led us to an open door with a church in the Bowleys Quarters community in Middle River. We met with Peninsula Baptist Church and their Pastor Ray Slattery and discussed the potential of moving our church to that location. After a few weeks of discussion our church voted to move to the Middle River location. Within six months of moving to that location we merged with Peninsula Baptist and began stewarding the facilities that God had entrusted to us. Within the last two years God has provided and we have completed over $175,000 in renovations for a fraction of the cost. We are continuing to grow and have already expanded the worship center by 40 chairs. We trust that if we keep things “simple” about Jesus that is, that God will continue to grow our influence in Bowleys Quarters and the Middle River Area.

Some have asked me, "Why Bethlehem for the name?" My response has been that it is a place of beginnings. When I moved to Dundalk in 2009, I was immediately met with backboned, blue collar, hard working American people. I learned that Dundalk in particular is a place of great heritage. One thing in Dundalk's past that always seemed to surface was Bethlehem Steel. It was the beginning for so many in this community years ago because the steel plant provided jobs and a source of support. Considering this history and heritage, Bethlehem Church seemed fitting.  From the birthplace of our Savior, to the source of industry that built a community- our name is Bethlehem Church. Our motto is Simply Jesus.

In Christ,

Pastor Matt

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