Our Story

A rich history bringing glory to god in Phoenix


In 1954, a group of people had a desire to establish a non-denominational Bible church in north central Phoenix. Andrew and Mary Tell donated land at 7th Avenue and Bethany Home Road and ground was broken on Thanksgiving Day. At the time, this location was a mile north of the Phoenix city limits. The dedication service for what had become Bethany Bible Church was held on Easter Sunday in April 1955 with Dr. J. Vernon McGee preaching the dedicatory message.

The church called Dr. John L. Mitchell to be its founding pastor. The next three decades were an incredible time for God’s work under his leadership. During those years, the church grew rapidly and had an impact on the community. It helped start several other Bible churches: Camelback Bible, Scottsdale Bible, Trinity Bible, Grace Bible, Biltmore Bible, Faith Bible, Desert Springs Bible, and Community Bible Church in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. A strong interest developed in worldwide missions, and, as a result, a number of people from the church have gone into missionary service.


Following Dr. Mitchell’s retirement in 1984, Dr. David Walls was called to be the Senior Pastor. Under his dynamic preaching, the church once again grew rapidly and the Elder Board decided to expand the campus by adding the present Worship Center. First services in the new Worship Center were held in January 1990. The dedication service with Dr. Joseph Stowell, President of Moody Bible Institute, was held on Palm Sunday 1990. During the construction process, Dr. Walls accepted a call to a church in Elyria, Ohio.


In 1990, a call was extended to Dr. William Bjork. Dr. Bjork continued until he was called to become the Senior Pastor of Grace Bible Church in Sun City, Arizona in July 2001.


In 2003, Dr. David Gudgel was installed as Bethany’s fourth Senior Pastor, having served as Interim Executive Pastor since 2002.


In 2006, the Elder Board approved the addition of a Spanish-speaking congregation to the BBC family. Pastor Ricardo Felix was called to serve as the founding pastor of Iglesia Bíblica Bethany, which held its first service in September.


In 2009, Dr. Gudgel accepted the call to become the Senior Pastor of First Baptist Church in Los Altos, California.


Dr. Kent DelHousaye was called as Bethany’s Teaching Pastor in 2010. In 2012, Dr. DelHousaye was named Senior Pastor and assumed the mantle of leadership for all areas of the church. The English and Spanish congregations both grew significantly during his tenure. Dr. DelHousaye left Bethany in February 2017 to pursue other ministry opportunities.


In the interim period, Dr. Ted Wueste, Executive Pastor of Spiritual Formation, assumed responsibility for preaching and provided senior leadership to the staff until Dr. John Vawter was called as Interim Senior Pastor in October 2017 to serve while a search process is conducted for the man God has chosen to be our Senior Pastor. Dr. Vawter completed his interim role in April 2018.


In May 2018, Pastor Brad Pellish was asked to expand his role at Bethany by taking leadership of the staff and ministry of Bethany Bible Church as the Interim Executive Pastor. The Elder Board asked our friend Dr. Rick Efird to temporarily join the staff as the Interim Teaching Pastor to provide consistent, quality Bible teaching during our Sunday services. Both of these men will continue in their roles until our PastorNext is appointed!