Bethlehem Baptist was founded over 50 years ago, but it was only 18 years ago that the church began to experience some dynamic growth. In 1990, Pastor Dickie Spargo was called to Bethlehem as the new Senior Pastor, and since then Gastonia has never been the same. Utilizing a unique style of contemporary music and relevant teaching, Bethlehem Church grew from an attendance 65 people to a church body filling multiple services. Eventually, the Family Life Center was constructed to accommodate the hundreds of new church families. With 900 people in attendance every week, the church moved into the new building in the summer of 1998.
Once worship services were moved into the Family Life Center, the atmosphere at Bethlehem became even more defined. People who had not attended church in years -- or had never even investigated Jesus Christ — were being drawn to worship services that were energetic, powerful, and celebratory. The church's growth continued as time moved on, especially in our children’s area. Attendance quickly soared to over 1600 people. Having maxed out our space even with 3 services, the search began for land on which to build a new campus.
In the fall of 2004, Bethlehem Baptist was able to purchase 76.5 acres of beautiful land on South New Hope Road. The cost of $1.8 million was paid off in less than eighteen months, and the process to design the new campus was begun. Attendance grew to over 1800 people per week as the final plans were being made for the transition to the new campus in the summer of 2008. We opened our new Worship Center on the Main Campus in August 2008 and now hold 2 services every weekend. Over 2000 people now call Bethlehem Church home. With many more acres to develop, we are eager to carry out Christ’s commission and continue the expansion as our church body continues to increase.
With a prime location in a growing area of Gaston County, we believe that God has many more expansions in the future of Bethlehem. As a church designed to reach people who are far from God, we believe that God will continue to draw people to Him, continually reaching more and more people with the love of Jesus Christ.