In the early decades of the twentieth century, large numbers of people migrated from the rural South to work in the automobile factories of Michigan. During and immediately following World War II, a new influx of Southerners—many from West Tennessee and Arkansas—moved to the Lansing area to work in these factories. In August 1954, several of these families began meetings to discuss the need for an evangelistic Baptist church and a place to worship in the Lansing area. When the numbers attending these meetings outgrew private homes, they rented the C.I.O. Union Hall on River Street. On September 5, 1954, the 49 people present made the decision to constitute a new church named Bethany Baptist Church.
Reverends Fred Hubbs and Kenneth Day assisted in preparations for the organizational service was held at the Union Hall on October 16, 1954. On that date, 49 people brought their letters or came for baptism and four others came on the promise of a letter to become the first members of the church. By November 7, there were 67 charter members, and on November 27, 1954, Rev. Day became Bethany’s first pastor.
The building site at 1000 Lincoln Ave was purchased on February 1, 1955, at a cost of $6000, and on April 8 of that year, Bethany was accepted into the Motor Cities Baptist Association of churches. On February 19, 1956, the first worship service was held in the new building (which is now the Educational Building). Construction on the building that would house the sanctuary was started June 6, 1960, and would take 3 years to complete. The first worship service was held there on March 3, 1963. A dedication service was held on December 22 of that year with the guest speaker Rev. R.G. Lee.
In February 2007, Rev. Scott Hanson was called to lead the church. And on Feb. 7, 2012, the church membership voted to change the church’s name from Bethany Baptist to Discover Life Church.
From its beginning the church has been actively involved in building up and building onto the Kingdom of Christ. Although the methods have changed, the Church’s determination to share the message of the Gospel never has. Church planting and bus ministry were some of the first outreach ministries in which our church was involved. Through Sunday morning breakfasts, free community meals & donations to local food banks, the hungry have been fed. The Gospel continues to be shared with all ages through Sunday School, small group Bible Studies, Vacation Bible School and Backyard Bible Clubs. Movie nights, family fun fairs, school supply give-aways & community gardening have been used to present the love of Christ to our community in unique and powerful ways.
In our 60+ year history, the ministry of Discover Life has reached around the world, sending out pastors, missionaries, and leaders in the Southern Baptist Convention as well as through the personal witness of those whose lives have been changed by the Gospel. Our church has made a real difference in the lives of a great number of people through the years. And there’s so much more to come! “Look,” the Lord says through the prophet Isaiah, “I am doing a new thing.” Just as He has provided opportunities in the past, God is opening new doors into our community, inviting us to join Him in the work He has already begun.