Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Warrensburg was officially organized in June, 1939, but traces its roots to a Lutheran mission which was started in 1880. Services were regularly held starting in 1928, first in the old Woodmen Hall and later in the hall above Vernaz Drug Store on Pine Street.
After years of worshiping in rented halls the members of Bethlehem dedicated their first church building on South Street in 1941. Sixteen years later the present colonial-style edifice, complete with while pillars and a tall steeple, was dedicated on North Maguire Street.
Since its early years the congregation of Bethlehem Lutheran has reached out to the students of Central Missouri University. In 1946 Gamma Delta was established as the first official Lutheran student organization at the University. The basement of Bethlehem's first church building provided meeting facilities for that group and Bethlehem's pastor served as pastoral advisor for the group. When Bethlehem moved to its present home (1957) the Missouri District of L.C.M.S. purchased the building to serve as a Lutheran Campus Center. The facility continued to serve in that capacity and Pastor Adolph Meyer continued as pastoral advisor until 1967 when the Missouri District appointed a Warrensburg Area Board for the Campus Ministry.
In 1983 the congregation took a leading role in beginning a mission congregation in Knob Noster, Missouri. Faith Lutheran Church, our daughter congregation, holds regular Sunday services at 9 a.m. During the early years, our pastor, Roger Beese, often preached at both churches on Sunday mornings.
In 2006 Bethlehem built a new addition which provided additional classroom and office space, new kitchen facilities, new heating and cooling system, an elevator, and new entry way. During the construction period, which included new windows and much-needed repairs in the sanctuary, worship services were held at the Lutheran Campus Center.
History of LCMS
The Missouri Synod emerged from several communities of German Lutheran immigrants during the 1830s and 1840s. In Indiana, Ohio and Michigan, isolated Germans in the dense forests of the American frontier were brought together and ministered to by missionary F. C. D. Wyneken. A movement of Confessional Lutherans under Martin Stephan created a community in Perry County, Missouri, and St. Louis, Missouri. In Michigan and Ohio, missionaries sent by Wilhelm Löhe ministered to scattered congregations and founded German Lutheran communities in Frankenmuth, Michigan, and the Saginaw Valley of Michigan.