Our senior pastor is a pioneer church planter with over 30 years of ministry experience. He is a graduate of Bob Jones University
, and in 1980, under BJU’s Church Planting program, planted a church in Connecticut where he pastored for over 14 years. Heeding the call of God to plant a new church, Pastor Bickel completed further preparation in the field of Jewish-Christian Studies (including training in Israel) and set out for Brooklyn, New York where he was used of God to plant Bethel Baptist Fellowship in 1997. Bethel is an exciting, growing church located in a Russian-Jewish area; Bethel also started a Russian-speaking congregation in the fall of 2004. During the summer months, Pastor Bickel is engaged in a very active internship program training future pastors in urban church planting. A former participant in this program, Tim Richmond, returned to work with Pastor Bickel after graduation from Bible college, and in the fall of 2008, Bethel launched its first mother-daughter church plant (Grace Baptist Church) in the borough of Queens with Tim as its pastor. Another mother-daughter church plant in the Bronx is currently now in the process of being launched, under the leadership of Pastor Ben Hamilton, also a former pastoral intern. Pastor Bickel and his wife, Nancy, have been married for over 40 years. They have seven children, six of whom are married, and a number of grandchildren.