Bethel Church of God In Christ began in Abilene, Texas during the month of December 1922. Elder J.C. Bennett, founder, with his family being the first members. The first meeting was held at Fourth and Ash Street. Later the church moved to Sixth and Plum Street.
In May of 1923 the present lot at 634 Cottonwood was purchased. Services were held in a tent from May 1923 until September 1923. In September 1923 the first building was built.
Elder J.C. Bennett was pastor from 1922 until 1925
Elder C.M. Bennett became pastor from 1925 until 1932, son of founder Elder J.C. Bennett. Second to pastor Bethel.
Elder A.L. Lee became pastor from 1932 until 1933
Elder W.O. Anderson became pastor from 1933 until 1934
Elder G.N. Pauldo became pastor from 1934 until 1940
Elder H.B. Facuett became pastor from 1940 until 1945
Immediately following Elder Facuett, Elder W.W. Fields became pastor and continued God's work for twenty two years, (from 1945 until 1967).
During the year of 1955, under the pastorship of Elder Fields the church was given the name "Bethel" which means "The House of God."
Elder Brown served as pastor from 1967 until 1969 at which time Elder R.L. Williams was appointed in the month of August 1969.
During the years that Elder R.L. Williams was ministering God's Word, the Lord was continually blessing Bethel. We were able to accomplish many things. In 1981 we remodeled the old building to make it a comfortable place to worship. A short time later a small kitchen was added. In 1987, we completed our Note on the church. In 1989 we purchased a van. Another blessing came when we completed and dedicated the "Kelly Hall Dinning Area" in 1995.
In May of 1995 Deaconess Drones, also President of the State Hospitality was recommended and accepted as a member of the International Hospitality Committee.
As a result of Elder Williams teaching and relying on God's Word, Deacons and Deaconess were appointed and continued as a working force along with Elder Williams. Bethel also has members functioning in distinguished position locally, district and State wide.
Pastor Williams continued to labor with Bethel and do God's work until God saw the need to call him home to rest in June of 1996.
Elder Walric Girvin Christie was appointed pastor of Bethel Church of God In Christ in the fall of 1996 by Bishop W.H. Watson, Texas Northwest Prelate. Pastor Christi had the privilege of pasturing the oldest Church of God In Christ in the Abilene District for approximately two years. He and his wife Missionary Catherine Christie have been praying and teaching God’s word without ceasing.
Evidence of how God was blessing his work, he had already been given many visions as to how Bethel was to progress. On January 1, 1998 Pastor Christie, through God's command and the approval of Bishop Watson, our State Mother and her acceptance, desire, and calling of God upon her life, recommended Deaconess Dorothy Drones for the field of Missionary Work. On this same day, Deacon J.C. Johnson was issued his Ministers License and hereby recommended as such to the Brotherhood and the field of Ministry.
Elder Christi saw it necessary for Bethel to begin a weekly Radio Broadcast Ministry with its main purpose, to reach out and meet the needs of those who are hungry for God's Word.
Even through Bethel was blessed under the leadership of Pastor Christie, yet there were other Former Associate Ministers that gave great contributions to the continued existence of Bethel, such as Elder Clem Daughtery, Elder J.T. Cotton, Elder Robert Taylor, Elder Tommie Louis, Minister Curtis King and Elder W.L. Burnett.
Bethel was not only blessed with great pastors over the years, but devoted members such as Sister Bertha Mae Stevenson, whom served as District Secretary and Church Treasurer for many years. She also served these position under the leadership of many of these fine pastors. Sister Bertha Mae Stevenson's membership tops the list as one of the first members of this church.
On February 27, 1998 Bethel held it’s First Annual Fellowship Banquet with a theme that spoke for the entire Bethel Family: "Unity; Upholding One Another."
In November 1998, God spoke to Elder Christi and he was again led back into the field of Evangelism. Receiving this news, Bethel and the Prayer Warriors continued to seek God, with Fasting, and Prayer while waiting on God for another leader.
In November 1998, Minister J.C. Johnson, Sr. began leading the flock with the assistance of Superintendent Samuel Tabor. Minister Johnson did a tremendous job and continued to seek God for guidance. After much praying, fasting and relying solely on God for wisdom and understanding, Minister Johnson received his ordination as an Ordained Elder in January 2000.
Under God's Anointing, he continued to lead and direct the members of Bethel. Then on October 27, 2000 during Elders Johnson's Fellowship and Retirement Banquet, Bishop W.H. Watson, lead by God appointed him Pastor of Bethel.
During 2000, Bethel's congregation was able to purchase and remodel the property at 618 Cottonwood for office space, presently known as the Church Annex.
Prelate, Bishop W.H. Watson, installed Pastor Johnson as the official pastor of Bethel Church of God In Christ, Abilene, Texas on February 25, 2001.
March 2001 Bethel had the honor of hosting Texas Northwest State Women's Convention and Banquet.
Missionary Dorothy Drones successfully completed classes, and passed the Examination Board, receiving her Evangelist Missionary License in early October 2001. She is a graduate of the first Evangelist Missionary class in the Texas Northwest Jurisdiction.
November 18, 2002 a Special Dedication Service honoring Sister Bertha Mae Stevenson for 50 plus years of service and commitment to God and Bethel Church of God In Christ.
Under the leadership and spiritual guidance of Elder J.C. Johnson, Sr. the Bethel family has been truly blessed. Elder Johnson has made great progress and tries to involve all members. His main focus is to see that God's work is done and souls get saved.
He recently felt led by God to appoint a pioneer in the Gospel, Elder W.L. Burnett as Assistance Pastor. New members have also joined the Bethel Family. The first Baptism Ceremony initiated under Elder Johnson's leadership was performed on August 17, 2003.
Other aspects of his ministry include:
Organization of Bethel's First Male Chorus
Bethel Church of God In Christ became one of several churches who helped organized the AMEN Alliance . An organization comprised of pastors and members whose focus is to minister needs to those needing help, both naturally and spiritually.
The first Baptism Ceremony initiated under Elder Johnson leadership was performed on August 17, 2003.
In July 18, 2004 Elder Johnson was again led by his spirit and a word from God, to appoint three more Deaconesses. His spirit led him to appoint Deaconess Lela McNealy, Deaconess Gussie Nicholson and Deaconess Deydra Williams.
In February 2005, the Bethel Family was deeply saddened by the going home of a true pioneer, Sister Mae Dell Young. One who spoke God's Word with wisdom and knowledge. She was a true and sincere Prayer Warrior, and could get a prayer through whenever the time would arise.
In 2005 Missionary Dorothy Drones was inspired to fulfill Sister Mae Dell Young's dream by providing the opportunity for youth to pursue higher education. The establishment of the first "Mae Dell Young Scholarship fund" for the Abilene District, which is highlighted each year in February with The Mae Dell Young Scholarship Banquet to honor the recipients . The first banquet was held February 2006 in the Kelly Fellowship Hall and awarded two scholarships. Because of the overwhelming love for Sister Mae Dell and the desire to fulfill her dream the banquet outgrew the fellowship hall the first year, and had to be moved to a larger facility.
In August 2005 Pastor Johnson appointed two more Deaconesses. At this time Deaconess Jan Stevenson and Deaconess Eloise Watkins were official appointed.
In November 2005 a new facelift began on Bethel's Church front. With much praying, fasting and trusting in the Lord, the remodeling made a huge impact on the church, since it was first built in 1923. This was a reminder to Bethel that God keeps on blessing us over and over again. Through the Blessing of God, prayers of the saints, and keeping faithful to God's Holy Word; Bethel has great faith that by doing the Lord's work we will continue to grow.
During the entire year of 2006 many months of hard work and preparation went into getting the new addition ready. Careful planning and financial consideration was made daily. Through the guidance of God and His wisdom, prayers, tithes, offerings, and donations from the saints, the new addition was finally completed and upon completion, there were no financial obligations pending.
On January 14, 2007, as an official dedication to the completion of the new addition, each able bodied member walked around the entire church seven (7) times, and those unable to walk remained on the inside in prayer. On that same day, the new addition was dedicated in honor of Senior Deacon Justice Huff. The new addition is now known as the “Justice Huff" entrance.
In 2007, after much prayer, approval from Pastor Johnson, Bishop Watson, and State Mother Mackey, Deaconess Deydra Williams accepted God's call on her life and successfully completed Aspiring Missionary classes, passed the Examination Board, and received her Evangelist Missionary License in October 2007.
On November 14, 2007 Bethel was deeply saddened by the home going of another devoted church pioneer. Deaconess Shirley Burnett worked diligently at Bethel with the Pastor Aide Department, Hospitality Department, Sunshine Band Department, and held other positions within the Abilene District and Texas Northwest State District. Deaconess Burnett was a prayer warrior, a true beloved Sister In Christ, and sincere Woman of God.
On February 5, 2008 God looked down from heaven and picked yet another Bethel church pioneer, another rose for his garden, our beloved "Church Mother" Mother Pauline Thompson, prayer warrior, a truly devoted pioneer and sincere women of God, Her legacy of love and wisdom lives on through all the lives that she touched while here on earth, and at Bethel.
In May of 2008 God's choir was still missing an Angel, so knowing how much our church Senior Deacon loved to sing and the joyful noises that he made while singing God's ministry, God decided that he wanted Senior Deacon Justice Huff to come and sing in His Heavenly Choir.
When God removed one Deacon from our church, in July of 2008 he gave us two other Deacons and a Deaconess. Deacon Frank Drones, Deacon Robert Williams and Deaconess Linda Gailes were appointed to their positions.
August 3, 2008, Mother Julia Taylor was named as the Bethel Church of God in Christ Official "Church Mother."
January 2009, Bethel Church of God in Christ began the new year full of God's Spirit and eager to continue to spread God's Word and do God's Will.
March 1, 2009 Missionary Dorothy Drones was installed as Assistant District Missionary for the Abilene, Texas District. The Lord still had another blessing for Bethel and Missionary Dorothy Drones, on November 15, 2009 Missionary Drones was officially installed as the District Missionary for the Abilene District, for the Church of God in Christ Texas Northwest Jurisdiction
The year 2010, had already began to show Bethel God's blessings, by increasing it's flock and giving it's members the Grace and Mercy to carry on.
October 31, 2010 Pastor and First Lady Johnson officially celebrated their 10th Anniversary as Pastor and First Lady of Bethel COGIC - this was their first official anniversary service and program since installation.
The year 2011 continued to be a blessing for the Bethel family. While God continued to bless with new members and willing workers for the Lord. God continued to shower his Grace and Mercy on Bethel Church of God in Christ.
On December 17, 2011, God looked down from Heaven and picked another Bethel COGIC rose from the garden, our beloved Brother - Deacon Charles E. Nicholson. Deacon Nicholson worked diligently at Bethel and was a mentor to many.
In 2012 two more Deacons in training received their training certificates.
On August 18, 2013 Deacon Roy Hill and Deacon Billy "Buck" Stevenson were ordained and appointed into their positions.
On December 28, 2014 Deacon Joe N. Redd, Jr. and Deaconess Stephanie Parker were ordained and appointed into their positions.
October 25, 2015 Pastor and First Lady Johnson officially celebrated their 15th Anniversary as Pastor and First Lady of Bethel COGIC - this was their second official anniversary service and program since installation.
November 2015 - Minister Patricia Watkins was appointed as Youth Pastor.
The year 2016 continued to be a blessing for the Bethel family. While God continued to bless with new members and willing workers for the Lord. God continued to shower his Grace and Mercy on Bethel Church of God in Christ.
March 20 2016, Deacon Joe N. Redd, Jr. accepted the called into the Ministry. He preached his first sermon during the morning service before the Church's 94th Anniversary. He was issued his Ministers License and hereby recommended as such to the Brotherhood and the field of Ministry during the Church's 94th Anniversary.
On June 12 2016, Minister Joe N. Redd, Jr. was appointed as the assistance youth pastor.
On April 6, 2017 God looked down from heaven and picked yet another Bethel church pioneer, another rose for his garden, our beloved Assistant Pastor, Elder W.L. Burnett, prayer warrior, a truly devoted pioneer and sincere man of God, His legacy of love and wisdom lives on through all the lives that he touched while here on earth, and at Bethel.
Associate Minister Matthew Thomas, Jr. joined Bethel on November 12 2017.
On May 17, 2018 God looked down from heaven and picked yet another Bethel church pioneer, another rose for his garden, our beloved Mother Corine Prince, a truly devoted pioneer and sincere woman of God. She was a member of the choir, served as president of the Sunshine Band, and secretary of Sunday school. Her legacy of love and wisdom lives on through all the lives that she touched while here on earth, and at Bethel.
God has many blessings for Bethel under the leadership of Pastor Elder J.C. Johnson, Sr. We look back on where God has brought us from but however with great expectation we look forward to where God will take us in the future for His Glory and up-building of His Kingdom!