Church growth and development
In 1976, a few more members united and the deacon board along with the general membership began to grow. The size of Bethany was comparable to that of a house; there were various colors of carpet, a building that needed lots of work, and a small but determined congregation. God graciously blessed the members to pay off the building. A note burning ceremony was held to celebrate.
As Bethany continued to flourish, improvements were made to the sanctuary; pews were purchased, and the choir stand was widened. These are just a few of the many enhancements that occurred within the early years.
With the membership still growing, many of the members did not have transportation. Pastor B.R. Hodge and other members pitched in to assist members in getting to church. Although the cars would be crowded, we always seemed to make it to church (be it in or out of town) and by the grace of God we would all return home in one piece. Later, we were able to purchase choir robes, a baptisry, and add a fellowship hall and kitchen.
A legend called home…
In 1999, God called Pastor B. R. Hodge home to Glory. His oldest grandson Pastor Jeffery Hodge would continue to carry the mantle after his passing. Pastor J. L. Hodge accepted the task according to the will of God and continued the heritage of preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone who would receive him at Bethany Baptist church.
The mantle is passed
Under that Pasturage of Pastor J. L. Hodge, and the leading of the Holy Spirit, the name was changed from Bethany Missionary Baptist Church to The Bethany Church. Besides the name change, new ministries were birthed; The In reach/Outreach Ministry, Women’s & Men’s Ministries, Singles Ministry, and the Praise Dance Ministry to name a few.
Bethany Outreach Ministry
The Bethany Church In reach/Outreach Ministry has assisted many people in our community. On Thanksgiving, members and friends would donate turkeys and canned food items to distribute baskets to be a blessing to those in need. During the Christmas season, we would also accept donations for clothing and toys, (new and gently used) to give to those who were less fortunate. We also allowed people from the Gospel Mission to come and take whatever they were in need of during their visit. Each auxiliary (and some individuals) would sponsor a family, to try and meet the needs of that family and also to be a blessing to their children. We are thankful to God that He has placed us in a position to help others.
A church with vision and purpose...
Today, The Bethany Church is still growing and still reaching out to many in the community, endeavoring to do all we can to see that the Gospel of Jesus is spread throughout all nations. Because we are a church with vision, we arduously believe what the bible says in Hebrews 11:1, and just as our church motto says, we believe; “Our Faith Will Produce Our Vision.”
An unexpected move by faith...
On August 3, 2007, there was a major power outage at The Bethany Church on Rudd Street. Leading up to this event were several offers for the Bethany church to move in and occupy the Southside Christian Center Church at 6851 Wichita Street in Forest Hill, Texas. Pastor was resigned to taking his time and waiting on the Lord for the date of the official move, but due to the unexpected power outage (what we deem as God’s way of saying – move!); we were forced to move and begin services at the Southside Christian Center on the first Sunday in August, which was August 5, 2007. The Senior Pastor and founder of the ministry was Pastor Nolan Yancy.
August 26, 2007 marked the first “official day” of our services in new sanctuary took place on with Pastor J.L. Hodge as the Pastor of Southside Christian Center and Pastor Nolan Yancy held the position of Sr. Pastor. Along with acquiring a larger worship facility, we gained multiple classrooms, childcare facilities, a larger kitchen area and a state of the art Media Center which includes CD/Audio capabilities, a projector and a video camera booth. We are thankful to God for where He has brought us from; and because of His purpose for this ministry, we are progressively moving toward every vision that God has designed for us.
After much contemplation and prayer, Pastor Jeffery L. Hodge accepted the call to be consecrated as Bishop and he also accepted the position of Western Jurisdictional Bishop over Rehoboth Fellowship International Ministries, an anointed fellowship of churches and believers from all over the United States. Bishop Hodge was consecrated on Sunday, October 26, 2008 at 4:00pm at Pilgrim Valley Baptist Church, in Fort Worth, Texas. This was truly a blessed event and definitely the will of God for his life.
Possessing the Land
After the move to Southside Christian Center on August 26, 2007, God gave us a vision and a desire to possess the land. Southside Christian Center had been up for sale and on the market for quite some time now, and we believed that it was the Lord’s will for the Bethany church to “Possess this Land by Faith.”
Throughout the process to purchase the building, we faced many obstacles, many distractions and much opposition. There were many days when we wanted to throw up our hands and walk away, but God gave us the strength to endure. Every trick the enemy could use against us would surface during this trying time, but we continued to stand against Satan’s plots and we refused to turn back.
Finally, after enduring everything our process brought us to, and after overcoming the traps that the enemy set ahead of us, we were able to sign a contract finalizing the purchase of Southside Christian Center on august 18, 2009. This was a time of release, refreshing and rejoicing.
RECLAIMING OUR NAME
With this purchase and after two years of co-laboring with the Southside Christian Center, the Lord opened the door for The Bethany Church to reclaim our Name and History!
With great honor and appreciation, Bishop Jeffery L. Hodge along with his wife, Prophetess Abesa L. Hodge announced the rebirth of “THE BETHANY CHURCH.” Although we had been in transition for a few years, we are thankful to God that He has allowed us to preserve almost 40 years of history and an enduring legacy started by the late Pastor B. R. Hodge. We rejoice in knowing that he is looking down from heaven celebrating this monumental occasion with us. We are excited to see where our pursuit to follow God will lead us in the coming years.
Shield of Faith Fellowship
God blessed Bishop Hodge with an awesome opportunity to become President of the Shield of Faith organization on Saturday, June 29, 2013 at 11:00 A.M. We were all extremely excited about this wonderful opportunity that God has blessed Bishop Hodge to lead into the next season.