HISTORY OF BETHEL BAPTIST CHURCH MINISTRIES
In the year of Our Lord, 1958, the late Reverend Levi A. Reid, was granted permission from the City to erect a tent in the Bethel Section of Kannapolis, North Carolina, which was called “Tin Top Alley”. The first service of the Bethel Baptist Church was held on July 4, 1958. Many came to Christ during that service and repented of their sins, their souls were saved and they were baptized and filled with the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. On September 2, 1958, the Church was organized with 12 charter members by the Reverend James L. Stowe as Moderator of the Guiding Light Missionary Baptist Association.
In May, 1960, there was a groundbreaking Ceremony. On July 4, 1960, the basement of the Church was completed so services could be held in the basement, the very first “Revival Service” of the Church was held. During 1971, the pews and furniture were purchased. In addition, the parking lot was purchased.
From 1972 – 1985 The chapel was completed, the Church Steeple was erected, a van was purchased, stained glass windows were installed, we purchased land for our Church Cemetery.
In June, 1988, the Lord called Reverend Levi A. Reid from labor to reward after a declining illness.
In 1989, Reverend Thomas W. Connors, Sr., was called to be Shepherd of our flock. He served as our Pastor for approximately eight years through October, 1997.
On July 23, 1995, a Groundbreaking Service was held for the Bethel Baptist Church Community Family Life Center. On April 1, 1996 demolition began on the grading and paving for the Family Life Center. The first beam for the Family Life Center was erected in March 1997 and not long afterwards, the roof was put in place. We received our Certificate of Occupancy and our vision became a reality!
Under the auspices of the Holy Spirit, in April of 1999 Elder Bryan J. Pierce, Sr., was called to serve as Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church and was installed in June 1999. In late fall of 1999, the “Manor” was sold and new parsonage located on Midlake Road in Kannapolis was purchased. Under the leadership of Pastor Pierce, a number of ministries have been birthed at Bethel. Through the powerful and anointed teachings of Pastor Pierce, we had numerous members receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, as we prepared for the next level that God was taking us. The vision of this Ministry is to impact the total man, spirit, soul, and body, developing strong and mature Christians who are “well balanced”. As we caught the vision of the awesome Man of God, we outgrew the original Sanctuary and began having services in the Family Life Center. God continued to add to this ministry as more new ministries were birthed in the years 2000 thru 2002.
At our Annual 2002 Church Meeting, we officially began our Finance Expansion Program—“Vision 2000 and Beyond”. We believed God for a new Sanctuary. In April of 2002, we “Possessed the Land” and were able to purchase the adjacent property on Centergrove Road & Dale Earnhardt Boulevard in preparation for building our New Sanctuary.
In May 2002, we continued the vision in preparation for our new Sanctuary and began an 8:00 a.m. service, Morning Manna, in addition to our regular 11:00 a.m. service.
In September 2002, the Bethel Baptist Mass Choir, now known as “The Voices of Judah”, recorded a live album that was just the beginning of what the Lord has in store for this Ministry, because we are a Church that’s committed to excellence, walking in the order of God, and driven to Possess the Land!
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we began 2003 by declaring that it is the year that we “Grow from Expectation to Manifestation”. At the end of 2002, our membership was over 700 and we were rapidly approaching 1,000. On April 4, our very first Possessing the Land TV Ministry was broadcast from WHKY in Hickory, North Carolina. It could be seen every Friday from 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm reaching households in the Gastonia, Charlotte, Hickory and Asheville areas. We also had prayer counselors available by telephone.
On September 21, 2003, almost one year to the day that we recorded our live CD, vision once again became a reality and our first CD presented by Pastor Bryan J. Pierce, Sr., and Bethel Baptist Ministries, “The Voices of Judah” with the title song, “They That Wait”, co-produced and written by our very own Pastor Bryan J. Pierce, Sr. and our dynamic Minister of Music, Cedric Thompson. Our 2003 Church Anniversary marked our 45th year of Service.
In early Spring 2004, we launched our website: www.bbc-ministries.org. In 2004, as we celebrated our 46th year, we proclaimed it to be the “Year of Acceleration” as God continued to bless this Ministry.
In 2005, in keeping with “The Year of Acceleration”, due to damage caused by Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Region, many families were displaced and it had far reaching effects within our own congregation. We began “Operation Standard”, a community outreach ministry that would not benefit just the Hurricane Victims, but will be beneficial to all individuals who find themselves in need in our local community and throughout the nation. The many donations and outpouring of love that we received from our church members, local churches, community members and others that heard about Operation Standard have been overwhelming; many lives were touched through these efforts.
In November 2005, Operation Standard obtained donations of food and monetary tokens that were distributed to families in need within the local community for Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were able to service over 40 families. Similar efforts continue every holiday season and the impact has grown. The Healthcare Ministry hosted a warm coat drive, which was an overwhelming success.
In February 2006, we launched our official ‘Killing Goliath Pledge Campaign” to raise $200,000 to accelerate the elimination of our outstanding debt. Our goal was accomplished and we pledged another $200,000 for the year 2007. In addition to the campaign, Men of Integrity Ministry was reorganized and continues to grow spiritually. The ministry involvement has increased dramatically, including men from our sister churches and the surrounding community.
In September 2006, Operation Standard Ministry sponsored the first Kannapolis Kares Community Project group of volunteers to complete minor repairs, yard work and fresh paint for a member of our Golden Years Ministry. In December 2006, we became one of the host churches for Samaritan’s Table sponsored by Cooperative Christian Ministries to provide meals to families in need during the holiday season. In January 2007, we partnered with Cooperative Christian Ministries and our Helping Hands Ministry was birthed to open a food pantry in our Annex Building that services families on Mondays and Thursdays. It is staffed by volunteers from our ministry and some of our sister churches.
In the fall of 2007, we opened a Free Clothes Pantry in the basement of the Chapel and the response was overwhelming. Donations of clothing and household items came in so rapidly and in large quantities and so many families visited the Pantry that the volunteers had to extend their hours of operation from twice a week in the mornings to the evenings as well. Our Clothing Pantry is now located in the Annex Building.
The Youth Ministry Conference a.k.a. “Next Generation Now ‘08” (currently, Young Life) was a huge success in July 2008. Events included were a Friday Night Talent show with Celebrity Judges, a big community cookout with food, open gym, games, and a D.J. There were young men’s/women’s health seminars and a College Fair. A wealth of information was provided from local college representatives and area Universities. The Daughters of Virtue Ministry (currently, Daughters with Purpose) sponsored their first Debutante Ball in August. The young ladies and their escorts represented themselves very well.
In July 2012 Pastor Bryan Pierce resigned to take a full time Senior Pastor position at Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Greensboro, NC. Elder Antonio D. Johnson, Sr. was asked to serve as interim Pastor until such time the decision would be made to install him as Senior Pastor or search for another candidate. After a meeting of the Congregation and by unanimous decision Elder Johnson was asked to serve as Senior Pastor.
In June 2013, Elder Antonio D. Johnson, Sr., was installed as Senior Pastor of Bethel Baptist Church Ministries. In June 2014, we celebrated Pastor Johnson’s First Pastoral Anniversary. In July 2014, we celebrated our 56th Church Anniversary during the Fourth of July weekend which was the original time of year the church began.
Our Ministry has grown to approximately 1,100 members. In expectation of future growth, the Main Sanctuary was constructed to accommodate a Balcony.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY FOR THE THINGS HE HAS DONE!