Bethel Baptist Church was planted by Pastor Max Mills in 1972. The church was originally located in a downtown storefront building in Cicero, Indiana. Over the next several years, the church saw many families come to Christ, many of them eventually leaving Bethel to launch out into other ministries of their own.
In 1979, Brother Max felt led to relocate the church to Lapel, Indiana, very near the area where he grew up. Bringing a core of families with him to begin the work, he converted a large farmhouse into a facility suitable for church use. The Mills family lived on the second story of the church for six years until the church grew large enough to need the additional space.
As the church continued to grow, Brother Max had the vision of building a new facility that would be attractive to the community and establish Bethel’s permanent place in the area. Bethel Baptist Church broke ground on a new facility in June of 2002. Sadly, Brother Max would go home to be with the Lord early in 2003 and would not see the facility completed.
In June of 2003, the church called Pastor Dillard Cole as its second pastor. Pastor Cole carried on Brother Max’s dream of a new facility, leading the congregation to complete much of the building work themselves over the next two years. The first services were held in the new church in March of 2005.
The church continued to see steady growth under Brother Cole’s leadership, with new families coming and new ministries added. In December of 2014, Pastor Cole was diagnosed with a serious illness and Brother Jimmy Gilbert, the church’s associate pastor, stepped in to fill the role of Interim Pastor.
Brother Cole went home to be with the Lord in July of 2015. Sensing the clear leading of the Lord, the congregation voted overwhelmingly to call Brother Jimmy as its pastor in August of 2015.
Bethel Baptist Church has a rich history of Godly men boldly preaching the Word and loving the lost. The adversity, loss and grief they have experienced as a church have served to form an even more loving and unified congregation, with an even greater sense of urgency to shine the light of Christ’s love in the Lapel community and beyond.