Staff Member

Photo of Larry Shantz

Larry Shantz

Founding Pastor

Sharon and I began our journey at Bethany in July of 1975 as newlyweds. Sharon had just graduated from Western University with her degree in piano and I had just graduated from Wheaton College in Chicago with a master’s degree in theology. My initial goal was to get some pastoral experience here at Bethany and then to move on to teach in a Bible College. But it did not take long to fall in love with the people here at Bethany and with the passion that they had to fulfill a great purpose. It was only two years later in 1977 that we purchased the six acres where our present facility resides.

Sharon and I both grew up in strong Christian homes where authentic Christian living was not only taught, but it was lived out. We both have a strong desire to know, communicate and live out God’s Word. When I was 16 and I had a turning point in my life where through a farm accident I lost my right eye. As I was confronted for the first time with my own mortality and frailty, I made the decision that I would be a passionate follower of Christ.

It has been the joy of my life to be part of this church family for 35+ years, to raise my five daughters here, and to see all of them take ownership of their faith and become passionate followers of Jesus Christ. This church family, through the Children’s Ministry and Youth Ministry, have enhanced the reality of the Christian faith that we shared with our children in our home.

Bethany has been known to be true to our mission: “…to be a CARING community, GROWING in Christ, LOVING others and SERVING a hurting world.” It has given me great joy to see the many ways that are church continues to reach out to our community, to our region, to our country, and to our world in ever-increasing ways. I really do believe, in a world that has become so self-centered and so self-focused, that Christ is the only hope of this world. I love to watch people grow in the faith and knowledge of Jesus as Lord of their lives and see them discover the passions and gifts God has given them to impact our world.

I can honestly say if I had to live my life over again there is not much that I would change. I love the life that God has given me to live – I’m incredibly thankful for my wife and my family. I love being with people and working together to accomplish what we could never accomplish alone. I love the outdoors – biking, hiking, tennis, baseball, and racquetball. My two favourite movies would be Fiddler on the Roof and Chariots of Fire. Two books that deeply impacted me in high school were Lord of the Flies and To Kill a Mockingbird. My favourite Christian author would be Philip Yancey. My best friend would be my wife Sharon who has been my constant encourager, critic, supporter. She is a truly authentic Christ follower and the love of my life.

Someone has said “as long as we live we learn, and when we stop learning, we stop living.” My desire is to continue to grow in the grace and knowledge of my Lord and Saviour as long as He gives me life.