Matthew 28:19-20 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Every Christian traces his or her roots back to Jesus Christ Himself, and when He began the call to spread His good news of forgiveness to the ends of the earth. Visible churches spring up when God’s Word is preached and His Sacraments administered, thereby providing an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work faith in people’s hearts. Once Christian churches are established, it is their duty to continue “teaching all things” that Christ has commanded through His Word. Therefore it is not surprising that this was the way in which Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church began over 50 years ago.
2 Timothy 3:14-17 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
It was a desire to remain faithful to what the Holy Spirit had taught them from early on that led several members of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hancock, MN to separate and form their own church. These members followed their pastor, Rev. Elton Hallauer, whose call had been terminated by St. John’s over a dispute concerning the teachings of Church Fellowship and the Divine Call. This small group of individuals formed Bethel Evangelical Lutheran Church on June 5th, 1960.
St. John’s of Hancock, MN was and still is a member of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). In 1961 Bethel joined the Church of the Lutheran Confession (CLC), a group of churches and individuals who had separated from the WELS and the Missouri Synod (LCMS) over the same doctrinal issues. As a charter congregation of the CLC, Bethel established Christian fellowship just as God desires and just as Paul prescribed for young Timothy – with complete agreement and unity in all of God’s Word. At Bethel we understand that it’s rare to see this type of unity in churches and synods today, but we believe that God clearly tells us through His Word that it is important.
Psalm 122:1 I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”
After moving around to various sites for many years, a permanent church building was finally erected in Morris, MN. The sanctuary was dedicated on June 15, 1975 and has served as Bethel’s church home since. A fellowship area and kitchen are also connected to the main sanctuary.
In the Spring of 2012, Rev. Hallauer announced his retirement from the public ministry. The members of Bethel will always be very grateful for Rev. Hallauer’s guidance and service throughout the years. In total, he served his Lord and members at Bethel as public minister for 52 years. The congregation then called Mark S. Tiefel, who graduated in May 2012 from Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in Eau Claire, WI. Pastor Tiefel was installed as full-time minister on September 2, 2012 and served Bethel until April 2015. Robert F. Sauers III was called to be Bethel’s next minister. He graduated from Immanuel Lutheran Seminary in May 2015 and was installed as full-time minister on June 21, 2015.