Why Bethlehem, PA?
Simply put, we couldn't say "No." Have you ever felt that irresistible pull? It's like a magnet for your thoughts. We were struck with an undeniable sense, "This is where we need to be. This is where it all begins."
Sometimes you know something before you understand it. Perspective comes over time and here's what we've discovered....
Bethlehem is a 75,000 person gem sitting along the banks of the Lehigh River. Bridges and bike paths connect the historic Northern and revitalized Southern neighborhoods with Lehigh University and the 1700s-established Moravian College peering at each other from across the water.
Paved with cobblestones leading you from boutique shops to corner cafes, this town has a rich culture and heaps of potential. It has a strong community identity without any sense of isolation from the rest of the world. (Oh! They also have a Wegmans!)
Partitioned by green foothills to the West is the city of Allentown with Easton sitting just a few miles to the East along the New Jersey border. This greater tri-city area with Bethlehem nestled in its center is commonly referred to as the Lehigh Valley and possesses one of the Northeast's fastest growing economies.
Major metro areas are a stone's throw away, with Philadelphia an hour below and NYC 80 miles to the right, strategically positioning this accessible Eastern PA crossroads for significant movement. We envision the L24 family eventually growing, spreading, and spilling over into these neighboring cities.
A Mission Field
Not everyone gets excited about planting a church in an area of the Northeast with less than a 3% evangelical population. We do! Why? Because we'd rather grow slow than through transference of religious consumers. (But that probably needs to get unpacked at another time in another blog.)