As a fifth generation pastor, Bill Johnson lives a life rich in the things of the Spirit, using Heaven as a model for his life and ministry. The Senior Pastors of Bethel Church in Redding, CA, he and his wife Beni have a heart to see a kingdom mentality overthrow the world’s perspective. Together they serve a growing number of churches that have partnered together to work toward global revival. This apostolic network has crossed denominational lines in building relationships that enable church leaders to walk in both purity and power.
He grew up in a very good Christian home and had a fear of God, but while he never lived in out-and-out rebellion, neither was he a passionate follower of Jesus. He never once considered becoming a pastor.
In 1968 at the end of high school, he moved from the LA area to Redding, California where his parents became the pastors of Bethel Church, and in 1970 the Holy Spirit began to move powerfully in this church community. It was around this time that Mario Murillo began coming and visiting his church to speak about being absolutely abandoned to Christ. One Saturday night, alone, Bill finally said yes to God – the absolute yes.
In 1978, he was invited to pastor Mountain Chapel in Weaverville, California, and he accepted with the conditions that this assignment was from the Lord, that he would be sent out from Bethel Church in Redding, and that he would still be able to come under the supervision of his father, who continued to pastor the church in Redding. He served in Weaverville for seventeen years. During this time the presence of God was so strong on his church family that they extended their times of worship, but in those first years they saw few miracles despite praying for many.
His greatest breakthrough in ministry came after attending two conferences in 1987 put on by John Wimber. He realized he needed to “put a demand” on what he believed – his risk factor had to line up with the boldness of his beliefs. As he did this there was an immediate change in his ministry, and healing and miracles increased.
He and his wife moved back to Bethel Church in Redding in 1996 after the leadership there unanimously supported his one condition: he would pursue revival. The outpouring when he started to minister at Bethel began almost immediately, although in seed form, and it grew rapidly.
The present move of God has brought Bill into a deeper understanding of the phrase, “on earth as it is in heaven.” Heaven is the model for our life and ministry. Jesus lived with this principle by only doing what He saw His Father doing. Learning to recognize the Holy Spirit’s presence, and how to follow His lead will enable us to do the works of Christ, destroying the works of the devil. Healing and deliverance must become the common expression of this gospel of power once again.
Bill and the Bethel Church family have taken on this theme for life and ministry. Healings, ranging from cancer to broken bones, to learning disorders and emotional healing, happen with regularity. This is the children’s bread. And these works of God are not limited to revival meetings. The church is learning how to take this anointing to the schools, workplace, and neighborhoods with similar results. Bill teaches that we owe the world an encounter with God, and that a Gospel without power is not the Gospel that Jesus preached.