This church is a shining beacon of hope and love in its country.
Bethel Mission Church is making rippling impact within and outside the four walls of the church. Averaging at an attendance of 68 in 1979, the church has now exploded in growth to its current weekly average of 2,560 members under the leadership of incumbent, senior pastor Frank Godberg.
Buoyed by help from City Harvest Church in the form of scholarships to the School of Theology and monetary assistance in building a girls’ dormitory in Bangarapet, Bethel Mission Church has risen amid a climate of poverty and spiritual stagnancy.
Godberg challenges the members to pray fervently in awakening their spiritual man and to develop wholesome Christian values and disciplines which would help them in their daily walk with God. He also encourages them to be strong witnesses by being examples in doing good towards others and being effective role models in society.
No stranger to community work and volunteerism, Bethel Mission carries out extensive community work, most especially within the vicinity of Kolar Gold Fields. Slum dwellers—widows and children living on the streets—receive help in the form of food, clothing, education and funeral services; the lattermost through the distribution of stationery, uniforms and tuition fees. Physically- challenged people, both in the church and community, receive assistance in their medical expenses. Whenever possible, the church also conducts pro bono medical, eye and dental services to improve the overall health and well-being of the community. Ample, potable water is also available for residents through several well-building projects.
Furthermore, Bethel Mission also relates to local Auto Rickshaw and Taxi drivers by hiring their transport services for the church. Providing them with opportunities to earn extra, poorer drivers now have a reasonable source of income to support themselves and their families.
The church has also seen fruits through its Computer Center, which runs several programming courses; including hardware and networking, two-dimensional and three-dimensional animation. Hoping to equip youth with skills to advance to diploma and degree programs, the center was established in 2000. Starting out with a lone, outdated computer, the center now has 10 new Pentium 4 computers, courtesy of CityCare Limited; a Singaporean non-profit organization which promotes volunteerism, philanthropy and social responsibility. Youth trained in the computer center have found placements in several multinational corporations, governmental sectors and colleges as computing instructors and programmers. Godberg hopes to develop the center into one which caters to youth from different races, religions and economic backgrounds, enabling them to have good social-economic standing in the future.
|PHOTO: Bethel Mission Church|
Godberg’s childhood dream and passion was to become a lawyer to serve and advocate justice for the poor and needy. However, in his youth, Godberg was dismissed from his final year at high school for misbehavior and unlawful activities in 1972. Through God’s grace, Godberg became a Christian at 19 and was called to help his father in church work. After five years, he was ordained as a pastor and has been serving the church as the senior pastor for the past 31 years. Throughout his journey, he has developed the pastoral leadership and discipled hundreds of people in Bethel Mission Church and Kolar Gold Fields.
Recently, Godberg also decided to complete his law degree. Under the mentorship of a Senior Advocate, Godberg is now enrolled as a lawyer and member of the Karnataka Bar Council. He is currently practicing in Kolar Gold Fields as an advocate-in-training and observes court proceedings three times a week.
He shares his thoughts about his service to the church as a pastor and a lawyer to the community, “It is quite interesting to function both as a pastor and lawyer; it has raised many eyebrows of the intellects in our society. Through God’s grace, it is now a possibility that I can witness in the Karnataka Bar.”
Being a blessing to its community, however, does have its consequences. When asked about dissatisfaction amongst anti-Christians toward community work, Godberg hopes to maintain cordial relationships with them through prayer, assistance and without discrimination of caste and creed. “We try to relate to them in a friendly manner, with the love of Christ, through a co-operative and diplomatic approach and assure them that we care for them.” He also relates his sentiments toward the present socio-political unrest amongst the anti Christians, “Activists against Christianity are prevalent and have caused much political turmoil within the state of Karnataka. However, it is not as grievous as before.”