I've been at Bethel over a year now...feels so good to say that! Bill always says, "people come here searching for revival but they stay for the culture." I was back home during the summer and when people asked me about my experience, I was very clear in the fact that this was not heaven! I still went through some very real experiences and encountered some very real people. Not every situation or person was sunshine and roses. That led to the question, "So why would you want to go back?"
Honestly, let me just speak from the heart. First of all, coming here, I did not plan this at all, finding God and family in California has been the word in the deepest part of my heart since I first became a Christian 14 years ago, so being here, it feels to me, it's honestly just like I stepped into a wave God had already created 14 years ago.
Second, the way these leaders love and honor each other. They aren't all besties, but the way they talk about each other makes them seem like they are. There's such a high value for excellence and you can see it through Bethel Music for example and how everything they release is top notch. Even their offices, everything from the logo to the wallpaper to the desk lamps screams excellence and intentionality. Like I said, I've been here over a year, I promise you, there is genuinely no competition among the leaders, everyone is fully free to be who they are and they fully celebrate each other and never compete. Look at this video! Steffany is fully herself and Amanda is fully herself. Nobody has to shrink to maximize the other, nobody has to pretend to be bigger than the other. Everybody has their imperfections, but everybody is quick to clean up their mess - if not, it may just mean, you have to work on your own self -
It translates to students and visitors when you see how once a week 2000 students go out volunteer to help in schools, clinics, elderly people homes, cleaning up parks and weeding in the bush, all with no other agenda but to intentionally show love to the city that has opened up it's arms to us. Forget the organized volunteer spots, the sheer number of people who have no money and no time, give generously to needy people in stores and give an encouraging conversation to a homeless man on the street.
Honestly, I feel like the luckiest person in the world to get to experience this. From the bottom of my heart, Thank You Jesus!
If you want more information, I'd highly encourage you to get Danny Silk's book Culture of Honor which a lot of leaders have found useful in getting an idea of the vision.