Pastor Dave spent roughly twenty years in missions to Muslims before beginning a more local pastoral ministry five years ago. He and his wife Cheryl served in the Arabian Gulf for several years, then planted a ministry team in Minneapolis, followed by a season of leadership as VP of IT in a large mission agency, and president of two smaller mission agencies.
Pastor Dave is author and contributor to four books with more on the way. He enjoys hiking, gardening, and all things outdoors with his five children.
You can follow Pastor Dave at x.com/davidcross
Growing up in Bethany Church, Pastor John now has the joy of being the Youth Pastor since 2016 leading students to life in Christ. With that chief desire comes the opportunity of loving on students, offering the same hope he was offered, and reinforcing the truth that God is calling EVERYONE to him.
John experienced a chase from God while he spent many years running himself. He now points people back to God with the message, "God is running after you with open arms!!"
Loves: His beautiful wife and son, Bears football (forgivable), Cubs baseball, Bulls basketball, smoked meats, and community of friends and family!
Verse: “For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:3-5
Stephanie came to faith and was baptized right here at Bethany. She has been our church secretary since 2016: "Best job ever!!" (Her words, really!)
She loves to spend time with her grandchildren, binge watch seasonal food shows and veg out watching movies. Shopping and Facebook garage sales are on top of her list as well.
We believe that the Bible is the Word of God, fully inspired and without error in the original manuscripts, written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and that it has supreme authority in all matters of faith and conduct. (II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21; Psalms 19:7; Proverbs 30:5-6; Matthew 4:4; Psalms 119:105)
We believe that there is one living and true God, eternally existing in three persons; that these are equal in every divine perfection, and that they execute distinct but harmonious offices in the work of creation, providence and redemption. (I Peter 1:2; Mathew 28:19; Ephesians 2:18, 21-22; Matthew 3:16-17; Jude 20-21)
We believe in God the Father, an infinite, personal spirit, perfect in holiness, wisdom, power, and love. We believe that He concerns Himself mercifully in the affairs of men; that He hears and answers prayer; and that He saves from sin and death all who come to Him through Jesus Christ. (Matthew 5:45; 11:25: John 3:16; Ephesians 2:10)
We believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten son, conceived by the Holy Spirit. We believe in His virgin birth, sinless life, miracles, and teachings. We believe in His substitutionary atoning death, bodily resurrection, ascension into heaven, perpetual intercession for His people, and personal, visible return to earth. (Matthew 1:18-25; 3:17, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 24, 25; Luke 2:7; John 1:1, 14, 17:11; Hebrews 5:5-10; I John 4:2; I Timothy 3:16)
We believe in the Holy Spirit who came forth from the Father and son to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment, and to regenerate, sanctify, and empower all who believe in Jesus Christ. We believe that the Holy Spirit indwells every believer in Jesus Christ, and that He is an abiding helper, teacher, and guide. (Psalms 139:7; Genesis 6:3; Ephesians 5:22-25; Matthew 12:28; John 3:8; Romans 8:9-11; Hebrews 9:14)
We believe that all men are sinners by nature and by choice and are, therefore, under condemnation. We believe that those who repent of their sins and trust in Jesus Christ as personal Savior are regenerated by the Holy Spirit. (Romans 3:23; 5:12-21; 6:23; 8:9-11; II Corinthians 5:10; 17; Colossians 2: 13, 14; I John 1:8)
We believe in the universal Church, a living, spiritual body of which Christ is the head and all regenerated persons are members. We believe in the local Church consisting of a company of believers in Jesus Christ, baptized on a credible profession of faith and associated for worship, work, and fellowship. We believe that God has laid upon the members of the local Church the primary task of giving the gospel of Jesus Christ to a lost world. (I Corinthians 10:32, 12:13; I Timothy 3:14; Colossians 1:18; Ephesians 2:20)
We believe that a Christian should live for the glory of God and the well being of his fellowmen; that his conduct should be blameless before the world; that he should be a faithful steward of his possessions; and that he should seek to realize for himself and others the full stature of maturity in Christ. (Hebrews 6:1,2; Colossians 3:17; I Peter 2:11, 12; I Thess. 4:1-7)
We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ has committed two ordinances to the local Church, baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. We believe that Christian baptism is the immersion of a believer in water into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. We believe that the Lord’s Supper was instituted by Christ for commemoration of His death. We believe that these two ordinances should be observed and administered until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Matthew 28:18-20; I Corinthians 1:22-25)
We believe that every human being has direct relations with God, and is responsible to God alone in all matters of faith; that each Church is independent and must be free from interference by any ecclesiastical or political authority; that therefore Church and State must be kept separate as having patronage of the other. (I Timothy 2:5; Romans 13:1-7)
We believe that local Churches may best promote the cause of Christ by cooperating with one another in a denominational organization. Such an organization, whether regional or district conference, exists and functions by the will of the Churches. Cooperation in a conference is voluntary and may be terminated at any time. Churches may likewise cooperate with interdenominational fellowships on a voluntary, independent basis. (Acts 15:13-18; I Corinthians 16;1-4)
We believe in the personal and visible return of the Lord Jesus Christ to earth and the establishment of His kingdom. We believe in the resurrection of the body, the final judgment, the eternal deliverance of the righteous believes, and the endless suffering of the wicked unbelievers. (Matthew 25;31; Acts 1:11; I Corinthians 15:51; II Corinthians 5:10; I Thessalonians 4:16-18; Revelation 20:11-15; Revelation 20,21,22)
Bethany Baptist Church was formed in August 1979 by the union of two churches, the “The Church of the Open Door,” an independent evangelical church, and a second church that stood under the Converge Midwest banner, “Bethel Baptist.” Upon the merge, the site of “Bethel Baptist,” which was in Harwood Heights Illinois, was chosen to create the church as we know it today, “Bethany Baptist Church.” This marriage of the two churches was facilitated by a Pastor named Fred Lutz, who would become the first Pastor of Bethany.
As Pastor Lutz was only a part-time pastor at that time, a man named Pastor Bernard Tanis was hired as the Associate Pastor in 1982. Later on, following the retirement of Pastor Lutz, Pastor Tanis would go on to become the next Lead Pastor of the church. Under Pastor Tanis’ leadership, Bethany would grow in not only attendance but also in our building's structure. The church engaged in a major project to build a new west wing, which includes Sunday School Rooms, a nursery, the pastor’s office, a kitchen, and the community conference room we refer to as the “Friendship center”. And while numerical growth was fantastic to see, the heart of Bethany Church remained in missions. During Pastor Tanis's time as lead pastor, we would begin Bethany’s long history of both supportive long-term missionaries as well as sending out short-term mission teams. Under this model, our missions team has thrived and still remains a focal point of the church today. After pastoring Bethany for 13 years, Pastor Tanis would go on to take a leadership position with Converge Midwest.
In 1994, a man named Pastor Rob Nelson took on the role of Lead Pastor at Bethany. With a passion for relationships and mentoring, Pastor Nelson led Bethany’s congregation which would continue to be a thriving body. With our congregation realizing that more ministerial opportunities were needed and desired within the church itself, Pastor Rob led the church through two more major building projects. Discerning that both our children’s ministries and adult ministries alike found community in physical activity, the first project consisted of building a new gymnasium. Since its inception, the gym has gone on to be host to our AWANA program, weekly youth group ministries, open gyms, housing for visiting churches, and so many other event possibilities. The second major project was the overhaul of the basement, which aside from simply needing more space, created new Sunday-School rooms, storage and organizational spaces, and an updated and bigger youth room. Alongside that, we were blessed with being able to even make the basement ADA compliant with an elevator for possible access purposes. Building growth aside, it was during the time of Pastor Nelson’s leadership that the worship style gradually changed from a solely traditional format to a more contemporary style of service. After 20 years of service at Bethany, Pastor Nelson entered retirement in 2015.
In 2017, Pastor Rick George became the fourth Lead Pastor in Bethany’s 40-year history. During his tenure, Pastor George was able to guide the church through a change in the church’s polity by helping update our church’s bylaws as well as leading a transition to an Elder-Lead congregation. Further guidance was needed as Pastor George was also able to help the church through the terrible reality that was COVID-19. With his expertise in technology and a vision of what the congregation needed throughout that period, we were able to navigate through a time that consisted of Zoom worship, masks, and a sometimes overwhelming mentality of fear that perpetuated so many people. With prayer, dedication, and sound leadership, Bethany Baptist persisted through a hard time, and amongst the hardships, blessing shone through. Bethany saw no staff cuts, salaries were able to be managed and met, and all commitments to missionaries were maintained and satisfied. Following the pandemic and the fulfillment of his vision at Bethany, Pastor George felt the Lord calling him out of the church and resigned in early 2022.