Our Story

Just northeast of the town of Beavertown, PA, revival broke out in February 1932. The location was a little brick schoolhouse near Dreese’s Covered Bridge. Nelson Walter had been to the Pilgrim Holiness Church in Middleburg for revival meeting and heard the evangelistic team of Daniel Dubendorf and William Straub. He was impressed with their preaching and their emphasis on the message of entire sanctification. This Bible message had once been strongly preached in the Methodist Episcopal and Evangelical United Brethren Churches of the area but had been waning in emphasis and experience. Mr. Walter invited the men to his town to evangelize. When they consented to come, he searched the area for a suitable location and found the empty schoolhouse. The public school board members reluctantly agreed to allow the religious services to proceed.

From the first service, God honored the preaching ministry of Dubendorf and Straub and the singing ministry of the Dubendorf family. The meetinghouse was so crowded that many were forced to stand outside and look through the windows. The people were so hungry for God that they lined the altars seeking to be saved and sanctified. Many in the community felt the services were “off the deep end” and attended out of curiosity, to laugh and ridicule and even disrupt, but upon arriving at the meeting, they were struck with old-time conviction and were gloriously saved. Many of the people knew little of a salvation experience and much less concerning the work of sanctification, so Rev. Straub and Rev. Dubendorf preached regeneration until they felt the people were ready to receive the message of holiness, then by divine direction, they preached sanctification. Rev. Marlin Hain, in describing those early services, said, “The Beavertown area was an open field.” It seemed to be the time for God to do something great in the area. The meetings were marked with rejoicing and shouting and victory! The results were long lasting as men and women quit their old habits and families changed the courses of their lives.

The conditions were primitive. Until the 1940’s, gas or battery lights were used for services. A coal or wood-burning stove was used in the winter months. Eugene Zechman, an eighteen-year-old neighbor boy, tended the furnace for the first meetings. Little did he know that his family would be saved and brought into the church; that his father would be on the first General Board of God’s Missionary Church; that his son would one day become president of Penn View Bible Institute.

After seven weeks of unusual services, the meetings concluded and the evangelists moved on. People who had been converted in the meeting returned to various churches in the area, but they were not welcome. In the words of John R. Zechman, “These people had more fire, and being stirred up, were all fired up. The older churches could not stand too much fire.” Knowing nothing else to do, the Dreese’s School was rented again, and church services began twice on Sunday and once on Wednesday evening with Rev. Daniel Dubendorf serving as pastor. A tent was purchased and the congregation conducted tent meetings in the area. In 1933, a tent meeting held in Beaver Springs resulted in many souls being saved. In 1934, men from the church conducted meetings west of Mifflinburg, which resulted in the Millmont church.

In time, the Beavertown congregation made plans to move out of the schoolhouse into their own church building. John R. Zechman donated a plot of ground adjacent to the schoolhouse. The men of the church went into the woods and cut down their own logs and hauled them to the sawmill to be cut into correct lengths. John Keefer and Calvin Berge were the main carpenters, assisted by the men of the church. Everyone worked hard and within four months, the congregation was ready to occupy their first church sanctuary. The congregation gathered for a brief service in the old schoolhouse and then marched, while singing, to the new sanctuary where they held the dedication service, consecrating the new structure to the glory of God. From 1932 until 1935, the church operated as Crossroads Church.

The move of God in Beavertown was in conjunction with revival efforts by the Dubendorfs and Straubs in other locations as well, a number of which resulted in similar churches. In 1935, the Beavertown church sent representatives to a joint meeting at Caketown Chapel in Sunbury to form an association. Mr. Nelson Walter of Beavertown suggested the name, “God’s Missionary Church,” for the fledgling group. Membership was based on following the Wesleyan Methodist manual of government.

Following Rev. Dubendorf’s term of service, Rev. Marlin Hain served as the second pastor. Concerning his early involvement with the church, Rev. Hain distinctly remembers three church-sponsored tent meetings: Bannerville, Middleburg and Globe Mills. At the meeting in Globe Mills, crowds grew to such measure that the state police responded to the scene to direct traffic. In 1939, the Beavertown church was instrumental in starting meetings in Penns Creek which resulted in the Penns Creek Camp Meeting.

Also in 1939, Rev. George I. Straub accepted the Beavertown pastorate. He and his family were very instrumental in the formative years of the church. During this time the association, now referred to as “the conference,” also began to grow, and Rev. Straub served as General Superintendent while pastoring. Subsequent to Rev. Straub, Rev. John Noll, who quickly became a “pastor-beloved,” served as pastor from 1947–1955. Under his pastorate, the first addition was built to the church. This 1955 addition consisted of lengthening the sanctuary and adding to the sides of the platform, providing room for Sunday school classes on Sunday morning and for an orchestra area and “amen corner” during worship services. A seven-week revival was experienced with Rev. Dean Confer serving as the evangelist. Even though the sanctuary had been enlarged, the crowds exceeded the seating space and spilled over to stand along the walls. Services lasted until midnight and one o’clock in the morning with two or three altar services.

Rev. Earl Deetz, Sr., served as pastor following Rev. Noll’s first term. In 1957 Rev. Noll returned to the church but died during a revival meeting in December 1958. Rev. Truman Wise was called to pastor after the sudden death of Rev. Noll and served from 1958 –1963. (The Beavertown congregation has been honored and blessed to benefit from the pastoral ministry of Rev. Truman Wise and Rev. George I. Straub, both instrumental and able leaders in the conference.) In 1963 Rev. John White came to pastor the Beavertown church. Another building project was undertaken which added Sunday school rooms to the west side of the church in 1964. Rev. James T. Carroll began his tenure in 1966. In 1967 restrooms and a nursery was added to the rear of the church. A beautiful six-bedroom parsonage was built on Walnut Street in Beavertown.

The 1960’s were historic for the general conference and the Beavertown church as Penn View Bible Institute was founded. Many of Beavertown’s high school and elementary students were part of the school’s first student body.

In 1971, a six-week revival was experienced with Rev. Paul West preaching and the Keith Sheridan family providing the music. Many souls were swept into the kingdom at this time. In 1973, Rev. LaDette W. Cooley assumed the pastorate. His love for music prompted him to train numbers of young people of the congregation to play instruments. During his time, the sanctuary was painted and refurbished with wall-to-wall carpeting and new pews.

Under the direction of Rev. James Bates, who moved with his family to Beavertown in 1979 to serve the church for ten years, the church experienced sufficient growth that major building projects were explored. In 1989, Rev. and Mrs. George McIntosh moved to the parsonage. Under his capable leadership, the envisioned building project became reality. A new 325-seat sanctuary was built on to the existing structure. Sam Lantz served as general contractor. He and his family along with many in the church and community made this endeavor possible through hard work and sacrifice. Dwight Rine and others organized the first bus ministry during these years, resulting in three bus routes operating today.

In July of 1994, Rev. James Plank became the 12th pastor of the Beavertown church. The dedication of the new sanctuary was conducted that fall with General Superintendent Paul F. Miller preaching. Representatives of the Dubendorf, Straub, Noll, Deetz, Wise, Carroll and Cooley families were in attendance for this historic day as well as previous pastors, Rev. Marlin Hain and Rev. George McIntosh.

In the 1990’s the congregation conducted two tent meetings in the town of Beavertown with Evangelist Mark Hunter. During this time several new families were added to the church. A radio broadcast, “Heritage and Hope,” was commissioned in 1996. In 1997, Rev. Aaron McCarty became the first associate pastor and served until 2002.

Revival and growth continued to mark the church, and the sanctuary again filled to overflowing. Land adjacent to the church property was purchased for future development. In January 2010, the congregation began “the Faith Project,” which will bring into being a new sanctuary built on the acquired property. The services of Anthony Webb of Bedford, IN, were secured to assist the people in the building of the new church.

Missions has become a greater emphasis of the church with work teams and youth mission teams traveling to many different nations in recent years. Several missionaries consider Beavertown “home base” and are supported heavily, including Eric and Hannah Kuhns who were commissioned to Honduras in recent years. (Eric is a grandson to charter members, Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Kuhns, who were saved in the first revival meeting.) Before going to the mission field, Rev. Kuhns served as Beavertown’s first youth pastor.

One member, in recounting days past and present, stated: “There seemed to be always something happening.” From the early days when annual conference and general board meetings took place here to the establishment of various annual events: the large homecoming services featuring the Lebanon Valley Gospel Band, the Central Pennsylvania Youth Conventions, Vacation Bible Schools, the Central Pennsylvania InterChurch Holiness Conventions, the Christmas programs. All have been part of keeping the church full of life and activity. First and foremost, however, are revival services that still result in definite victories. Evangelists who have a heart for God and a passion for souls are sought to fill the pulpit in these important times. Large crowds, uplifting preaching and times of soul searching have always characterized revival services at Beavertown. Revival and outreach remain the heartthrob of the people.

Over these years God has had “an open field” with people who are willing to work. The current pastoral team, Rev. James Plank, Rev. Solomon Shaffer and Rev. Matthew Maloyed, together with the congregation, pledge to God’s Missionary Church at this historic milestone to continue that heritage of holiness so wonderfully entrusted to us.