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Serving the Nations from Texas


Serving the Nations from Texas

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In December of 2011, while John Aniemeke and his wife, Chidinma, were both in the middle of medical residencies, God called them to plant a multicultural church in their hometown of San Antonio, Texas. Obediently, the Aniemekes began to take steps to fulfill the mission to which they felt the Lord had called them. Despite many years in the medical field, Aniemeke was no stranger to ministry. In fact, he delivered his first sermon at 14 years old. Born into a pastor’s home, Aniemeke grew up surrounded by the things of God and started helping serve in various capacities in early elementary school.

Like her husband, Chidinma Aniemeke was also born into a minister’s home. But even though both John and Chidinma were familiar with the church and ministerial roles, areas of uncertainty remained in their minds when thinking about church planting. The biggest question they had as they began to take initial steps in the church planting process was, “Where will the people come from?”

The Aniemekes knew they had to start somewhere. “We started as a small prayer group of eight people from two nationalities and met in our living room,” states Aniemeke. The small prayer group continued to meet and intercede on behalf of the church that would formally commence as Bethel Covenant Assembly of God just a year later.

In 2013, the first official service of Bethel Covenant AG was held in a hotel ballroom. Yet, it would only be a few months before the church would outgrow the ballroom and move to a storefront location close by. “We quickly saw that this was not a question of where the people would come from, it was a question of how we will accommodate all the people who are coming,” Aniemeke says. With divine forethought, in 2015 as Bethel Covenant AG swelled to nearly 400 weekly attendees, leadership decided to begin a fundraising campaign to purchase land and build a permanent home. By 2017 enough money was raised to break ground on a 70,000-square foot space, the International Worship Center.

Over the next two years, Bethel Covenant would continue to experience exponential growth. Aniemeke recalls, “We had to begin holding multiple services in our storefront location and ended up running four services a week by 2021.” The Aniemekes knew that this multi service model would soon be outgrown but due to COVID-19, the construction, which was scheduled to take two years, was not completed for five.

The time finally came for Bethel Covenant to move into their space and with attendance now at over 800, the church was more than ready. An official building dedication event, entitled, “7 Days of Greater Glory,” was held at the end of June 2023, with over 4,000 attendees passing through the doors of the International Worship Center.

“Bethel Covenant Assembly of God, under the leadership of Brother and Sister Aniemeke, is a true example of a healthy local church,” states Doug Clay, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, who spoke at the event. “The men and women who serve this congregation also serve their community and the blending of those two worlds, the church and the community, is what is making this church such a success.”

Growth continues at Bethel Covenant. The church now regularly hosts a congregation of over 900 members with representation from over 35 countries and 37 nationalities. “We had no idea that this small thing we were doing would grow to be a global ministry,” Aniemeke states. Yet the weekly attendance numbers are not the things that excite the Aniemekes the most. “We were honored to be fourth in giving at this past district council in South Texas. We have dreamed of a day when we won’t just be the people receiving, we will be the people giving,” he shares.

Bethel Covenant’s mission is to continue to expand to accommodate more children, youth, and every other age group. “We want to be a full-service ministry,” Aniemeke shares. “We want to take care of all components of the family and do ministry on a full spectrum, the way God does it.” But most of all, the staff and leadership at Bethel Covenant hope that their story will serve as a model for other small churches and church plants. “God can do great things even through things that start small,” Aniemeke states.

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