During the fall of 2012, both Grant and Rachel had a series of profound moments with the Lord that initiated the process of what is now Bethel OKC. They were serving as youth pastors at a great church in Norman, Oklahoma but God began to speak about a calling to transition out of youth ministry and into church planting in Oklahoma City. In January of 2013, they took a 3 month sabbatical to pray and seek the Lord in regards to this new calling. By the end of those 3 months the Lord had made it very clear that He was calling them to pioneer a new church in the OKC metro area. It would be almost a year from the beginning of that calling in November of 2012, before they would make the move to OKC to begin this new church.
God had spoken several things that were on His heart for this new church. Specifically He began to place vision for an upside down church model. The typical American church for the last 100 years has been like a pyramid. The senior pastor is at the top, he hears from God, and everything in the church funnels down through him. While that has been a good model, it is not how church is laid out in the bible. For Bethel, the Wortmans felt the Lord leading them to take the typical church model and flip it on its head. Bethel would be a church where the leadership would be a team of people who embody the five fold ministry giftings of apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher. These people would serve the church by building a foundation for people to come and discover who God is for them by demonstrating the different ways God engages people of different personalities and giftings.
In September of 2013 the Wortmans moved to South West Oklahoma City to pursue this dream of a church that would look like the first church we see in the book of Acts. A place where people encounter God’s incredible love, are healed and restored, and then sent out into their own sphere of life to bring the Kingdom of God into their personal worlds. The goal was simple…follow God’s leading and let Him accomplish all that He said He wanted to do.
In October of 2013 a handful of couples joined the Wortmans in a weekly dinner party that would eventually become the first community group. At the end of 2013 the Lord began to put it on their hearts to start a prayer and worship night at their house and invite whoever was interested to come and be a part. At that time there was only one person who could play a guitar. Within a week, there was a 4 person band that emerged including a friend who offered to come and volunteer for a little while. During these prayer and worship nights God’s presence began to come with great intensity. Even though the group was small God was doing big things. There were a number of testimonies of people who had thought they knew God but struggled to truly connect with Him, and now were beginning to hear God’s voice and discover how amazing a real relationship with Jesus can be. These prayer nights also became the setting of some physical healings that took place.
By the summer of 2014 there were around 20 people who were calling Bethel OKC their home church. We began to shift the prayer nights to more stragic and targeted prayer for our church and the area of our city God had called us to. At the end of August in 2014 we launched our Sunday morning services and have welcomed many new people to the Bethel OKC family. As we begin the 2015 year we are a church of around 40 people from all over the OKC metro area. God’s presence is more tangible than ever, not only on our prayer nights, but on Sunday mornings as well. Physical healings are also common place, and we are praying that we will see an increase in the magnitude of those healings. Our story is very much still unfolding as our momentum is growing.
We believe there is not one church that will fit all types of people, and that is why God needs many different types of churches with many different strengths and abiliities. At Bethel, our main emphasis is to equip people to bring heaven’s ways to Earth. In other words, to practically live out the ways the Bible instructs us to live. You are so welcome to come and visit, receive prayer, or jump onboard with all that God is doing at Bethel OKC. For more information, or if you have specific questions for us, please email us at [email protected]