When my wife and I moved to Austin in 2013 we knew that God was up to something big. We had never been to Austin. We didn’t have any family there. We weren’t quite sure why God highlighted Austin to us, but we felt like this was where God wanted us to move next.
We’ve visited a lot of churches over the last ten years, and we’ve always felt most connected to Bethel Church in Redding, CA, even though we’ve never actually been to Redding! When I first had an encounter with the power of Holy Spirit in 2006, the first book I read was When Heaven Invades Earth, by Bill Johnson, Senior Pastor of Bethel Redding. That book totally blew me away, and rocketed my faith for the supernatural into the stratosphere. I immediately felt a connection to Bethel’s ministry and teachings.
So, when we learned that Bethel was launching a church plant in Austin, some five years after we moved here, we were overjoyed! Everything started to make a little more sense as to why we moved all the way from the northeast to Austin, TX. God is moving in Austin!
Recently, I had the chance to catch up with Joaquin Evans, Senior Pastor of Bethel Austin, to chat about what God is doing in Austin and the upcoming launch conference for Bethel Austin.
Here’s what Joaquin had to say…
Me: Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been in ministry?
Joaquin: I was born again in college at a David Hogan meeting and then baptized in the Holy Spirit through a radical encounter shortly after.
Me: What were you doing before God called you to launch Bethel Austin?
Joaquin: I was living in Redding, CA for 15 years. I attended 3 years of BSSM and then was on staff at Bethel Church for 12 years. During that time I held many different roles including developing the Healing Rooms.
Me: When and how did you feel God urge you to leave Redding and launch Bethel Austin?
Joaquin: There was a feeling that God was calling us out of our current season but there was a year of praying, waiting and resting before it became clear that God wanted us to plant Bethel Austin. It was hard for God to get our attention that He was actually asking us to leave Redding. God, in His Kindness, actually addressed this through a few different prophetic words.
Me: Tell us about the vision for Bethel Austin.
Joaquin: We are a church that passionately pursues the presence of God and seeks to continually be led by the Holy Spirit. We are passionate about equipping believers to become empowered saints and to raise up leaders who will influence cities, regions and nations for Kingdom purposes. Our heart is to foster vibrant families and a thriving community. We are generous people willing to do whatever it takes to see lives transformed and revival sweep the nations, so that Jesus gets His full reward.
We want a church that has real impact in the culture and communities around us, not just within the 4 walls of the church.
Me: How is Bethel Redding going to be involved with the ministry of Bethel Austin?
Joaquin: Bethel Redding is our apostolic oversight and Eric Johnson and Danny Silk are on our Board of Directors. We want to make sure that our vision and mission always stay in alignment with Bethel Redding’s. And from a Board of Directors standpoint, they are involved in the larger overarching decisions of the Church. They are also our Fathers and mentors so we reach out to them for continual support and direction.
Me: Will you be collaborating closely or will Bethel Austin be operating as a fully separate ministry?
Joaquin: Closely in vision and direction, but more independently on the weekly operational level. They will continue to have great influence in our environment through their involvement on our board and also through regularly sending guest speakers and leaders through. We also send our leaders out as often as we can for training and connection.
Me: What is your vision for how you will impact the city of Austin?
Joaquin: We want to offer a non-hyper religious environment that moves in love, wisdom and the supernatural. We believe people are looking to be genuinely connected to God and to have a personal encounter with their creator even if they don’t yet know it. They don’t want to just hear theory about God from someone else. When people have a genuine encounter everything changes. And when we are able to carry the supernatural with wisdom it will open doors with the influential people of the city. Jesus wants to be welcomed in every vein of society.
Me: Tell us what is special about what God is doing through Bethel Austin?
Joaquin: God is special, so if God is showing up then it is special. But it is not meant to be unique. Throughout history God has always shown up where He is invited we need to learn to understand who He is and get out of the way. So, God is showing up weekly and people are having genuine encounters, people are finding freedom to be who God has called them to be and miracles are happening on a weekly basis. We are really blown away by How strongly God is already pouring out His presence on our community.
Me: When is the official launch and how can people get involved?
Joaquin: We are celebrating with a launch conference on Sept 21 & 22 with Eric and Candace Johnson. All the registration info is on our website bethelchurchaustin.com. Regular services commence the following Saturday at 6pm. All the info can be found on our website.