200 Years of Ministry
Bethlehem Baptist Church began in 1818, when 18 members gathered together to establish a place of worship in Habersham County, which had just been formed in the mostly unsettled hills of north Georgia. Over the next 200 years, Bethlehem would become a church home for thousands of believers, a pillar of the local community, and home base for missionaries to all corners of the globe.
The first meetings took place in the Wat Adair School House a few miles north of Clarkesville. Bethlehem was one of the first churches in the new county, and soon after, it moved into a permanent building near its present location just outside the city limits. This first building was simple and constructed of rough materials. With many upgrades and additions over time, the original structure served as Bethlehem’s home until 1971, when a new sanctuary, the initial phase of the current facility, was completed. Although recently expanded, this sanctuary remains part of the church’s current facility.
Bethlehem has a rich history of serving the community and beyond, with a strong spirit of cooperation with other churches in the region. At one time, Bethlehem owned an academy, and in the late 1800s the church provided space for a public school. Local outreach and missions programs have long been a vital part of Bethlehem’s calling as a church body, while also supporting missionaries around the globe, both foreign and domestic.
In 2018, Bethlehem celebrated its 200-year anniversary, celebrating the blessings of the Lord throughout its history while continually looking forward to His plan for Bethlehem’s future. As the church steps into the next century of service, Bethlehem’s renewed focus is to meet the ever-growing need for the Gospel and spread the love of Jesus throughout our throughout community and beyond.