Building with Vision
by Michael Tate, Arise & Build Team • Photos by Mitchell McCleary
One late autumn evening in 1948, Evelyn Nugent sat on the steps to her house in Redding and prayed a dangerous prayer—a prayer for God to use her town to fuel revival across the globe. In those days, revival in Redding took the form of a group of friends who would gather weekly to pray for God’s presence to establish heaven on earth.
Only a few years later in 1952, a man called Robert Doherty opened the doors to a small Assemblies of God church called Bethel. At the time, no one knew what God was up to or what would come of their faithful prayers. At the time, all they had was faith.
Faith requires us to live outside our comfort zone. It calls us to trust and believe for something more than what is before us. Today, Bethel is not only a thriving church within our community, but by our relentless commitment to a missional approach, Bethel has become a forerunner in establishing heaven on earth all over the world. We count it an honor to serve such a role. To onlookers, Bethel appears to have growing momentum and endless activity. However, those who call Bethel home know that what exists today can only be described as a commitment to covenant relationship and a trust in God’s faithfulness to His people.
Bethel has received a mandate from heaven to build with vision. We believe that God has called us to run hard along the frontlines of revival, seeking Him for wisdom on how to steward with excellence what He has entrusted to us. It causes us to walk an unconventional path, one that requires that we go beyond the walls of our church to engage the world. From deploying our school of ministry students into our community to our willingness to engage every sphere and mountain of society, Bethel continues its commitment to developing a movement that will not build a kingdom, but propel the Kingdom of God.
As we look to expanding our own capacity to continue to support this movement, we recognize that it would be impossible for us to “build a new building within the limits of a broken city” (Kris Vallotton on Bethel in Redding). To create a center that exists to fuel revival requires that we invest in the ecosystem in which it lives. By engaging with our city and bringing prosperity to our region, we are cultivating that ecosystem, helping sculpt a community that exports a healthy culture. When heaven comes down, it brings peace to the land.
With these core values in mind, we hope to develop a legacy that becomes the floor for our children’s children’s children. As God continues to move, we must continue to expand our capacity to provide space for these values to manifest. It is, therefore, not out of a desire to manufacture growth, but a response to a call, that we must Arise & Build.