BRIEF CHURCH HISTORY
In September 1997, while in Bosnia Herzegovina, a province of Eastern Europe, God placed on the heart of Bishop R. Ray Gatewood, to start a ministry that would focus on Christian education and individual spiritual development. Bishop Gatewood's first task was to find a name and design a symbol that would accurately portray this vision. Jata Jordan was the artist for this great vision. God placed upon our Pastor's heart the name Bethesda meaning a "house of mercy" or "house of healing". This name signified the healing of the spirit, soul and body. The word fellowship gives us our identification as a body of baptized believers who believe in being in community with all people of all races, creeds, and ethnicities.
After undergoing all the legalities and initial purchases, the doors of Bethesda Fellowship Church of God In Christ were opened in December 1997. Bishop Gatewood and the Bethesda family held their first worship service in the living room of the Gatewood home. Services were held at that location for fifteen months. Because of the rapid growth of the church, the Pastor and members prayed for a larger building. In February of 1999, God led us to our second location at 330 Cove Terrace. We held our initial entrance service March 7, 1999. In April of 2000, the church voted to become an independent entity. Praise God! Bethesda would take on a new face lift and the true identity of our church would come to light when our name was changed to Bethesda Fellowship Ministries. On April 27, 2000, a contract was signed to purchase 6.39 acres of land, which began phase 1 of our pastors Vision 2010 plan, establishing Bethesda as a spiritual force in our community. As a result of continual growth, Bethesda has worshipped at three different locations before finally breaking ground at its current location. In August of 2005, the Bethesda Bible Institute and Seminary, a fully accredited bible college in Central Texas was established.
Currently Bethesda has begun executing Vision 2025 which has three primary points:
Renewal – to open once again an avenue for creative and innovative methods of ministry that impact traditional ideas.
Revival – to bring back life into old ways, outdated methods, and bring renewal to people’s lives.
Reformation – to bring realignment and relevant changes to outdated concepts and designs.
The final aspect of Vision 2025 is building expansion that will add 8000 square feet of worship space and a Family LIfe Building.