The_Bethel_NetworkThe Bethel Network connects missional churches and church planters together to cooperatively plant and rejuvenate churches.

Almost 85% of the people in our communities are unchurched. For the Network, reaching these people and leading them to become fully devoted followers of Christ is paramount.

Affiliating with the Network, whether as a church plant  or an affiliate church, means that you are not serving alone.

For more information, go to their website at


  • Plant. Begin planting three new works.
  • Partner. Add two new affiliate churches.
  • Equip. Train church planters through our partnership with Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.
  • Explore. Follow God’s leading in planting in new communities outside of the St. Louis Metro East area.


SWIST (Southwest Illinois School of Theology)

SWIST is the ADVANCE Ministry Preparation (AMP) program offered by local associations and Gateway Seminary (GS) of the SBC in Ontario, CA. The AMP program provides Bible-based education without having to leave one’s ministry setting. The goal is to educate church members, leaders, workers and planters for work in the Lord’s harvest.

  • Classes can be adapted to your context and setting.
  • Eligiblity is based on a high school diploma or a GED (some exceptions may apply).
  • Diplomas are offered by Gateway Seminary so students can graduate on campus.

The SWIST AMP program is offered locally through Gateway Baptist Association and Metro-East Baptist Association of Illinois. SWIST is for ALL CHURCH MEMBERS. (You must be at least 21 years of age and have been a Christian for at least one year to enroll.)


Or call the MEBA office at 618-624-4444 to make an appointment to enroll in person. You will also need to complete the Church Endorsement Form with a $35 non-refundable application fee, plus $135 per course ($170 total for SWISTnew students). Make checks payable to MEBA. Cost for returning students is $135.

Director – Pastor Sherman Smith phone: 618-345-0770 Email:
0e5081798_1462986390_ggs-logo-2                                                   Sponsored by Gateway Seminary of the SBC