A group of five families were meeting for church in the city of Grand Prairie. The fellowship looked toward the west and envisioned a church in the adjacent city of Arlington, which was growing rapidly. Mindful of this vision, John Collier, a member of the fellowship, approached Charles Savage in the fall of 1958, hoping that he would be able to assist them in their spiritual pursuits. Rev. Savage indicated that he would seek the will of God concerning their offer, ultimately confiding in John, "If they ask me to come, I will." In November of the same year, Charles Savage was elected by the fellowship and became the founding pastor of what was to be known as Bethel Assembly of God.
Under the leadership of Charles Savage, this fellowship held its first five services at Myrtle Thornton School until services moved into a building located at 1801 E. Park Row. The fellowship grew as the people became enthusiastic about what God had done and was going to do in the life of this young church. More families became a part of Bethel and its mission to spread the gospel and love of Christ. Five years was the maximum time that could contain the people in the small building. Savage and the families of Bethel sought God in prayer as to the next step He would have them take. The people committed to see God's work continue and for Bethel to be a light in the darkness of a lost, hurting world.
In 1964, while our nation experienced division, a new church building was erected at 2300 E. Park Row in Arlington to show that there is always hope in God. Amazingly, the work was done primarily by members of the congregation as they made sacrifices. They weren't laying bricks, and simply building a sanctuary, they were making a difference for future generations.
In 1966, concerned about the need to effectively train children in Biblical principles, Bethel Christian School was born. All of the classes were held in the church building. The land that would eventually be occupied by the fellowship hall and kitchen served as the playground. Through this time of sacrifice and growth, it was amazing to see that no ministry suffered neglect. The people realized that as they sacrificed, God gave the increase and multiplied their efforts, but this was not the end. God continued to show Himself faithful.
The 1970's were a time of continued growth at Bethel. The playground had to give way to a new fellowship hall and kitchen, built adjacently to the sanctuary building. A parsonage was built on the southwest portion of the property. As the Savage family moved into the parsonage, a new school building was being constructed. Pastor Savage's wife, Gwen, remembers the time well: "I was able to watch the new building go up just outside my window."
In 1991, after pastoring Bethel Assembly of God for 34 years, Charles Savage accepted an offer from the North Texas District Council of the Assemblies of God to serve as District Secretary-Treasurer. Shortly thereafter he was named pastor emeritus of Bethel Assembly of God.
In 1991, Rev. Leonard Ward became the pastor of Bethel and served until 1994. In October of 1994, David Barrett became pastor and served faithfully until May 1999. In August 1999, Dr. Bruce Page became the senior pastor and served in that capacity until December 2002. During his tenure, Bethel Assembly of God sold its property at 2300 E. Park Row Dr. and purchased 19 acres of land at the corner of S. Collins St. and Sublett Road in southeast Arlington. The congregation held church services at a nearby elementary school while they pursued their dream of building a facility on the new land.
Rev. Mike Benson accepted the call to become Bethel's 5th pastor in April 2003. Bethel Christian School was closed during this time of transition. Under Rev. Mike Benson's leadership, the dream of a new church building became a reality in January of 2005. With the new building and new location at 6000 S. Collins in SE Arlington the church name was changed to New Bethel Assembly of God. The church theme became "The Place For New Beginnings". Due to growth in attendance New Bethel began having two morning services by June of 2005. In 2007 the church building had to be enlarged to include a youth/children's chapel with a kitchen and offices, meeting rooms and rest rooms. The building project also included a large covered pavilion with rest rooms, playgrounds, and a bricked 2 car garage for storage.
In the fall of 2008 the New Bethel marked its 50th year of ministry. The founding pastor, Rev. Charles Savage and his wife, Gwen are attending the church, now in their retirement years.
God has blessed the church with a great pastor and staff: they along with many faithful people continue to write its history. Many of those who labored to make New Bethel Assembly of God a place for new beginnings are no longer with us, but their work and labor of love will live on. To God be all the glory!
Updated Feb 3, 2011