Bethel Missionary Baptist Church began on May 4, 1983 in the home of church members with 39 individuals. The church was named Bethel Missionary after the story of Jacob’s ladder and a mission to support missionaries. As God blessed with growth, Bethel moved to the Tri-County Tabernacle and rented that property until the completion of the present location.
Foundations of Bethel
Rev. Tommy Thomas served as the original interim pastor. Rev. Luther Carver, from Banner Elk, NC, was elected pastor in August 1983 along with his wife, Phyllis, and his children Tommy, David, and Robin. That very same year, the church broke ground on land near the Mitchell-Avery County line. The church and the parsonage were built, and the fellowship hall would follow. During the construction of the church, many of the men would meet on Saturdays in building the church. The women would cook dinner and serve it on the grounds. The original sanctuary was completed in September 1984.
The Austin Center
During the tenure of Pastor Carver, the church was blessed with the construction and completion of the Robin Austin Memorial Center. The center is named in memory of Robin Carver Austin, the daughter of Pastor Luther and Mrs. Phyllis Carver, who was tragically killed in a van accident on the way back from a church youth activity on April 16, 1998. She was singer, pianist, teacher, and a heroine of the faith. The dedication and use of the Austin Center commenced the following year.
A new millennium brought new changes to Bethel. In January 2001, Pastor Carver resigned after nearly 18 years of dedication to the church family. The man that would succeed him was Darrin Waldroup who took the pastorate of Bethel in April 2001 with his wife Jeanna, and his children Shelby and Luke. Under Pastor Darrin’s leadership, the church elected to expand their sanctuary in 2005. The church took out a loan of $1.9 million to finance the expansion. During the renovations, the church temporarily moved into the Austin Center. The new sanctuary more than doubled seating capacity from 220 to 500. It allowed the sanctuary to be turned clockwise and added a vestibule and a baptistery. On April 1, 2007, the new sanctuary was dedicated to the Lord.
Bethel Christian Academy
Growth continued over the years, and in 2013, the church elected to launch a new ministry, Bethel Christian Academy, which began with 19 students.. The growth since has multiplied. The Christian School is housed in the Austin Center, with nearly 120 students. The school services grades Kindergarten through 12th grade.
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