ONE UNIFIED CHURCH
Bethany Bible Church has united with Phoenix Bible Church as one church. On this page, you'll find key dates, and answers to frequently asked questions regarding this unification.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why Are We Unifying As One Church?
Over the past several months, we have sensed God leading both congregations to this decision. Leadership teams from both congregations have spent ample time praying, seeking wise counsel and deliberating the merit of this union. At the end of October 2022, the leadership teams unanimously voted to unify both churches as one church. The reasons for this decision are many, but a few of the key factors are:
- Kingdom Community: Multi-generational discipleship reflecting the New Testament church, the kingdom of God, and the city we are committed to reaching.
- Kingdom Outpost: to more effectively equip the body of Christ, raise up leaders, and serve our community
- Kingdom Impact: most importantly, a conviction that we can reach our city better together, rather than apart.
How Will We Unify As One Church?
- The unified church will retain Phoenix Bible Church’s leadership, mission, vision, and values.
- Phoenix Bible Church will be the name of the unified church
- The Bethany Bible Church statement of faith will be adopted as the statment of faith for the unified church
- Current missionaries, membership, and much of the ministries of each congregation will be integrated with wisdom and humility
- Bethany has experienced difficulties over the years, and such, there will be ongoing efforts of repentance, reconciliation*, and healing.
*Click here for a special note from the Bethany elders regarding this reconciliation process.
What Will Be The Name of the Unified Church?
The name of the new unified church will be “Phoenix Bible Church”.
As a name, Phoenix Bible Church honors the legacy of Bethany as the birth ‘mother’ of the Valley’s Bible churches while also signifying an expansion of the Gospel ambition for the combined church being inclusive of the entire city of Phoenix. The name continues the positive association already established by Phoenix Bible Church’s commitment to Jesus, scripture, discipleship, community, and investment in the Central Corridor of Phoenix and its surrounding communities (e.g. Grand Canyon University, Arizona State University).
Who Will be the Pastor?
Who Will be the Elders?
The Elder Team will be a group of shepherds and servant leaders, functioning differently than a “corporate board”, wherein new Elder candidates can only serve after completing an extensive qualification process. The Lead Pastor and Executive Pastor will serve as voting members of the Elder Team, and the initial Elder Team will comprise a team of eight (representing 4 leaders from both merging congregations).
- Tim Birdwell, Lead Pastor
- A.C. Caswell, Executive Pastor
- Brian Vaccaro
- Chris Johnson
- Graham Saunders
- Greg English
- Keith Cowan
- Phil Liles
Non-Voting Wise Counsel
- Dr. Dan Lind
- Dr. Rick Efird
Who Will be the Main Preacher(s)?
Sermons will be delivered by Lead Pastor Tim Birdwell, Executive Pastor A.C. Caswell, and at times, additional staff and pastors who express the gift and desire to grow in preaching.
What Will the Worship Music Be Like?
At the core of our musical choices and liturgical moments, we would desire to help people worship God with Scripture-backed words and participatory, singable melodies. We will honor the past with timeless hymns while embracing the present with modern songs. Practically, our musical style will represent elements embraced by many and yet, will not be preferred by some. We will embrace shifts in modern musical styles while also periodically including elements like classical instruments, kids’ choruses, and other adult ensembles.
What Happen to Current Pastors and Staff?
The current pastors and staff of both churches will continue as members of the united team with a few roles adjusted to best serve the new united church. New roles not yet filled are also being considered.
What Will Happen to our Supported Organizations/Missionaries?
We are excited to continue our support of a variety of missionaries and organizations, in Phoenix and around the world. We will continue our current partnerships with regular periods of review.
Will Our Denomination/Affiliation Change?
Both churches are non-denominational. The new unified church will retain an affiliation with Converge Network.
How Will Current Membership Be Transferred?
Members of both congregations will have their membership transitioned to membership of the unified church.
What Will Change?
There will be a number of tangible and intangible changes now that our two congregations are becoming one unified church. This includes gathering locations, facilities enhancements, staff adjustments, leadership changes, budget refinement, ministry evaluations, and mission partnerships. We are excited about the possibilities many of these changes bring. We are also aware that both congregations will double in size in this union. We continue to value deep connection in gospel community, and we will have to adjust some of our methods to best serve a larger congregation – all while continuing to pursue deep connections for every member of Phoenix Bible Church.
What Will Happen to the 18th Avenue Campus?
Phoenix Christian Preparatory School owns the campus on which Phoenix Bible Church has been gathering. Both congregations will join together as our Sunday gatherings fully move to the 7th Avenue campus according to the union timeline (referenced below this section). Both congregations have partnered with Phoenix Christian over the years and desire to continue a relationship moving forward.
How Will the Budget Be Decided?
The Elders and staff will continue to be responsible for setting and managing the annual budget. In addition, there will be a Finance Team implemented to periodically review financial reports and ensure sufficient record keeping.
I Have More Questions. What Should I Do?
Email our leadership teams. We would love to talk more about this exciting next season as one unified church. Fill out the form linked below and we’ll follow up with you as soon as possible.
February – April
Initial meetings begin with Phoenix Bible Church’s leadership team and Bethany Bible Church’s leadership team regarding the potential of the two congregations unifying as one church. Pastor Tim Birdwell shares at a Vision Night in March about the early conversations about the possibility of a union with Bethany Bible Church. Bethany’s leadership team shares with the congregation that a exclusive phase of exploration has begun to examine the potential of a union with Phoenix Bible Church.
May – July
Pastor Tim Birdwell preaches at Bethany’s Sunday service in May. As the union discussions progress, both congregations hold evenings to pray and ask questions of the respective leadership teams. Pastor A.C. Caswell preaches at Bethany’s Sunday service in June. In July, Pastor Tim Birdwell, Kyle McLain, and PBC Worship lead an entire Bethany Sunday service.
August – September
Leadership teams begin meeting every Monday night to work through key factors of the potential unified church and regularly share affirmed details with both congregations. Both congregations come together to serve alongside each other in August. The college and young adults ministries of both congregations plan a joint mission trip together.
October – December
The leadership teams of both churches unanimously vote to approve the union of both churches as Phoenix Bible Church. A celebratory night of music and prayer is announced along with the official unification timeline. Christmas Eve service is scheduled as one unified service on the 7th Avenue campus.
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT?
We would love to help you get connected with Phoenix Bible Church. You can click the link below to fill out our Digital Connect Form, and we’ll follow up with you.
Give generously to the mission God is calling us to in this unique next season as a unified church. This is an exciting opportunity to establish a foundation on which we can see the love of Jesus move in Central Phoenix. You can give in-person, online or by mail.
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