A Brief History of Bethel Fellowship Church (Minneota, Minnesota)
As early as 1962, a handful of Christians hungry for more of God began to gather for Bible study and fellowship in rural Lincoln County. Several couples attended the same country church, where they were leaders or teachers. By the first Sunday of September, 1965, the group began what would become weekly Sunday afternoon meetings in the living room of the Harvey Sternke farmhouse.
As more people began to attend the afternoon meetings it was decided to move the meetings to a regular Sunday morning meeting. These early meetings were led by a visiting pastor from Sacred Heart, MN. Much of the weekly ministry was done by either Harvey Sternke or Henry Teigland, and Wednesday night Bible studies were added.
By March 3, 1969, this little flock was formally recognized (i.e. incorporated) by the State of Minnesota as a church, thereafter known as Bethel Fellowship. It was also around this time that Harvey Sternke took the pastoring duties of the church.
Harvey Passed away suddenly in 1978, and leadership was assumed by Henry Teigland, David Myrvik, and Tom Nomeland. In 1979 the church hired a fulltime pastor, who led the group until 1980, at which time Henry, David, and Tom assumed the leadership role again.
In late 1980 and early ’81, the church moved to Minneota, Lyon county, and purchased a building and property from a general contractor. At this time the church invited a church leader from Wales, David Patterson, who with his wife Patience and their four children moved to the US, living in Minneota. David was the leader of the church for 15 months, after which time he returned to the UK due to immigration problems.
After David Patterson’s departure in 1982, the church voted and asked Tom Nomeland to lead the work here with the help of two other elders. Over the years the eldership has changed a bit and has consisted of Tom Nomeland (pastor) and several others at different times.
In 2009, due to growth and the desire to better serve and reach out to the community, the church voted to build a new facility. Land was purchased next to the present location, and the construction began in May of 2009. The great majority of work done on the building was accomplished by members of the church.
The new church building was completed, and the first service was held on May 30, 2010. God has been faithful to this church, and we acknowledge that His ways are above our ways. We stand in awe of His love and care, and we fully trust Him for the future.
Why Two Crosses?
That's a very good question and one we are glad you asked.
The two crosses are by design, and here is our purpose:
They represent two important aspects of the gospel and the Christlan life.
1) Christ's work. This is the great message of the Scriptures.
The primary, larger cross is representative of Christ's work on the cross, our place of redemption.
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace. Eph 1:7
Having canceled out of the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. Col. 2:14 NASB.
...and (that Jesus) might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. Col. 1:20
2) On a much lesser scale, but yet infinitely important because it is the outflow, the fruit of Christ's cross, is the cross of our responsibility, the believer's cross. We believe that the Christian life is more than just being forgiven; it must go beyond that to discipleship, a dying to self, and a submitting to His Lordship.
And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Lk. 9:23
Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be my disciple. Lk. 14:27 NASB.
So having personally experienced redemption through the blood of His cross, the forgiveness of sins, we by God's Spirit and grace desire to live lives pleasing to him, and as John the Baptist said,"we must decrease and He must increase" (John 3:30).
This is our belief and desire.