Bethel Baptist Church has enjoyed over forty years of history with only three pastors.
Pastor Lipford (the founding pastor) followed by Pastor Jackson provided the church with a good doctrinal foundation that was loyal to the Bible. After many years of faithful service, Pastor Jackson unexpectedly went home to be with the Lord in March of 2012, and the church found herself without a pastor. During their time without a pastor, the Lord used the existing leadership to lead the church of approximately 15 members to keep the church doors open.
Pastor Jim Ghanayem, a native Marylander, was in transition and praying about his next place of service. In 2011, he began praying about the possibility of planting a church in the Maryland area. With counsel from godly friends and other pastors, he considered several locations including Silver Spring, Towson, and North Laurel. While he was praying and seeking counsel, he began to pray that the Lord would provide a core group of believers who desired to plant a church.
By February of 2012, the Lord had not yet provided that core group. One day during his morning devotions, Jim prayed, “Lord if there is a small church in the area that could use help while I’m waiting on you for the next step, please show me.” During the summer of 2012, the Lord revealed such a church, Bethel Baptist Church, through a mutual acquaintance. Little did Pastor Jim realize that the Lord would essentially answer both prayer requests in His own way through BBC. After filling the pulpit a couple of times, Pastor Jim met with the leadership to discuss possibilities.
It was clear to Pastor Jim that these men earnestly desired to follow the Lord’s leading. The church leadership expressed their desire to be faithful until the Lord directed them, and they explained their desire for God to use and grow the church for His glory. It was at this juncture that Pastor Jim expressed his desire to plant a church. Alternatively, he proposed an interim/relational growth period of 8 months so that the church could receive immediate pastoral help, while getting to know Pastor Jim and his approach to ministry. Jim realized that, despite doctrinal agreement, practical differences would exist between a pastor in his seventies and one who was in his thirties, and he desired to prepare the church for those differences. The interim period provided a time for the church to observe Pastor Jim’s leadership approach, agree upon a Biblical philosophy of ministry, and prepare to launch a fresh new vision to fulfill a Biblical mission statement based on the Great Commission. Also during this time, the Lord provided several young couples with Bible College and seminary level training and ministry experience to help BBC move forward for the cause of Christ.
On June 2, 2013 the congregation voted on a constitution that included the new mission statement, and also voted to move Jim’s status from interim pastor to senior pastor, affirming their agreement in ministry philosophy. While being careful to honor the history of the church and those who faithfully served, by God’s grace and with His strength, BBC is launching a new, fresh initiative to make and build Christ-like disciples for God’s glory.
Since that time, the Lord has continued to bless Bethel Baptist Church with many opportunities to reach and disciple people. In December 2017, Bethel moved locations and began meeting for corporate worship at 416 Wellham Avenue. This higher-visibility location afforded more room for activities, parking, and many practical areas of ministry.
If you’re looking for a warm and friendly, gospel-centered church with expository preaching, we'd love to have you join us as we continue to grow and reach out to the community for God's glory.