Start Here!

Attending a church for the first time can be intimidating.  “Will they accept me?… I know very little about the Bible… I think God exists, but I have my doubts”.  We get all that!  So, here are a few thoughts that might help break the ice.

At Bethany, we are all on a journey.   As we travel this road called life most of us find this internal knowing that, “I have potential to be more!”   With that idea in focus we strive to create a come-as-you -are culture – a place where people are authentic and accepting.  We welcome each individual wherever they may find themselves on their journey.

Being real about ourselves, our lives, and even our "junk" (let's face it, we've all got it!) is where it starts.  Not only do we strive for acceptance but we also desire Bethany to be a place of growth for each person:  wherever 'here" is for you in your journey, we hope to walk along side of you to get "there" and beyond!
 
So here's where all this is going: God is for you.    In our world of job reviews, Monday morning quarterbacking, tv vote-to-win competitions, and talking heads, it's hard to believe that someone loves you simply because you're you.  But we find that until we grasp that God is for us (He is good, loves us, wants only the best for us…), we will be very prone to running and hiding,  never feeling like we measure up.

We get that in a world filled with evil, suffering, pain and abandonment it is hard to embrace a good God who is in control of life.  Doubt is ok, and even welcome as an inevitable part of the journey with God.  Alfred, Lord Tennyson said it well, “There lives more faith in honest doubt… than in half creeds.”      While affirming what we do know, we will be honest about what we don’t.  

So should you decide to give us a shot - a warm welcome awaits you!  You most likely won't find a "perfect" church - and definitely no perfect people - but hopefully you'll find a place to grow.

Some FAQ:

  • What can I wear?   Clothes –  come as you are - be who you are!  (shorts,  flip flops, jeans, business casual, ties, t-shirts – you’ll find it all) 
  • How long are the services?  Our Sunday services are 1 hour & 15 min.
  • What do you do?  A typical service will have some singing and music lead by a band, some announcements and a  greeting, giving an offering, relevant teaching from the Bible focused on Jesus, life and how to live life to the fullest.  Also random video clips and other media.
  • Where do I go?  Straight through the main doors (car port) you will find a lobby and auditorium.


Our Mission

OUR MISSION: to introduce people to Jesus, embrace them as family, and help them to grow!

We strive to model Jesus' heart and desire:
               “The Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost” (Luke 19:10).

People matter to God – and they matter to us, too.  Jesus came to redeem our broken world and when He returned to Heaven, He asked a handful of guys to carry that heart forward.  We simply stand in a long line of people attempting to carry out that mission.

Our mission is to help people become fully devoted followers of Jesus by loving God and loving people.

Carrying out this mission puts us in contact with a broken and hurting world - this is where our name (Bethany) comes into play.   Bethany literally means “house of misery and suffering” – a place where misery and suffering are listened to and cared for.  We are not a group of people that separates itself from the world.    We desire, ultimately, to be a place where followers of Jesus are equipped to show genuine compassion, justice and love in our world.
 


Our Beliefs

Try to picture driving across a river bridge without a guardrail or cement barrier.  The drive is sure to be cautious and slow with all eyes focused on the road.  It is the guardrail that allows us to run fast and enjoy the beauty of the water. That same imagery is what guides our view of the key truths we hold.  These beliefs guide us in our mission, help us run fast and enjoy the beauty of life. 


Read further for our "guardrails" for life:

About The Bible: 
Contains everything God wants us to know for now
Can be trusted
It is the final authority on all matters of faith and practice

About God:
He is the creator of all
He is complete and lacks nothing
He knows everything & is everywhere
He is in complete control of life
He is loving, good, patient, just, and does nothing wrong
He is one but exist in three persons, Father, Son (Jesus), & Holy Spirit

About Jesus:
He is fully God and fully man
He was born of a virgin girl named Mary
He never did anything wrong, perfectly obeying God the Father
He died by crucifixion willingly, to right everything we have done wrong
His death paid the price for the sins of all people and satisfied God’s justice, bringing salvation to all who trust in Him alone
He rose three days later and is currently in Heaven talking to God on our behalf
He will come back one day to fully make everything right

About People:
Every person is created in the very image of God
This means we were created to be a friend of God – in a close relationship with Him
Humans defied God by going their own independent way
This resulted in alienation from God and the innate inability to please God
This happened in the beginning of human history
All people since suffer these consequences

About Salvation:
Salvation refers to saving or putting that close friendship back together between God and people
It is completely a work of God’s free grace
It is not in any way a result of human works or goodness
Anyone and everyone can receive it through repentance of sin and faith in Jesus
We are assured that God will continue His saving work in them forever

About the Holy Spirit
He is God
He helps people who do not know Jesus by helping them see their need to be saved
@ salvation He moves into a person’s life and helps them understand and apply the Bible
He is also a Christ-follower's source of assurance, strength, wisdom and gifting for building up the church

About Heaven and Hell
All humans will experience a bodily resurrection and a judgment
People who believed in Jesus will be welcome into eternal friendship with God
People who did not believe in Jesus will suffer eternal condemnation apart from God 

(Click here to read our full and official statement of faith)



Our beginnings

The Story of Bethany Grace Fellowship

Desiring to free themselves from the legalism of the Lancaster Conference Mennonite Church, six couples pulled together to dream of what church could be.  Their vision was of a church that would preach and teach the true word of God, unhindered by rules added by men (known as legalism).  In September 1957 these like-minded families joined together to form Blue Ball Mennonite Church.

As the years ticked by that little church of 6 families grew. Along with growth came necessary location and name changes – but the heart stayed true (avoid legalism & preach God’s word):

Blue Ball Mennonite Church - Sept. 1, 1957 – meeting at the Blue Ball Fire Company.

Bethany Mennonite Church - Sept. 8, 1959 – meeting at the former school building at corner of West Black Creek Rd & 625.

Bethany Mennonite Church – April 30, 1961 – Meeting at our present location, 625 and Union Grove Rd.

Bethany Grace Fellowship – Sept. 16, 2001 the congregation voted to change the name to further step away from perceived legalism and / or liberalism that the Mennonite name can carry.

Bethany’s goal has remained true from the beginning – to Preach and teach the whole word of God, free from manmade rules – a church that encourages life and life to the full (Jn. 10:10). We have always strived to live out our faith in a tangible way.   Bethany embraces the idea of mission - going into our world and sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.  We strive to uphold the sanctity of life and family, remembering that we are adopted into God’s family, encouraging fostering, adoption, and orphan ministry.  We seek to minister to those in need, banding together to make a difference in our world, sharing our lives, and our resources, to the honor and glory of God. 

In short, Bethany is here to fulfill the Great Commission (make disciples of Jesus) through the Great Commandment (Love God, Love others).