Our Story

How it all started...

Hillside Bethel Ministries traces its roots back to October 1, 1961, when Pastor Donald E. Horath founded the congregation of Hillside Bethel Tabernacle, Inc. as an independent, non-denominational community church. With a dynamic range of adult, youth, and children's activities, programs included Worship Services, Sunday School, Children's Church, and Youth Meetings. Right from its inception, Hillside embarked on a self-sustained journey, experiencing growth and expansion over the years. A pivotal moment came in 1986 when Hillside introduced Hillside Tot's Learning Center, a nurturing haven for children. Through a determined effort, Hillside triumphed over challenges posed by the state of Illinois and rebranded the center as Hillside Bethel Christian School. The transformation from a daycare center to a comprehensive pre-school, elementary school, and before/after school program remains a lasting testament, firmly rooted in the principles of faith-based education.

The ministry of Hillside took a significant leap in 1999 with the completion of a state-of-the-art worship facility that is still in use today. The campus is one of the reasons Hillside can offer so many programs and opportunities. This multipurpose space with modern equipment seamlessly integrates a sanctuary, classrooms, and a gymnasium. All services and school classrooms are now housed within this one facility, with plans to convert the original separate building into a youth activity center. Throughout the calendar year, the church also hosts a myriad of special services and events that enrich the spiritual journey of its congregation and community.

A remarkable milestone in the history of Hillside was celebrated on October 1, 2021, marking 60 years of devoted ministry under the pastoral leadership of founding pastor Bishop Donald E. and Vickie D. Horath. This occasion also heralded the installation of Kevin P. Horath as the Lead Pastor. Together with his wife, Kathy, they serve the congregation and the wider community, continuing the legacy of dedicated service and spiritual guidance to the Decatur area.

As new educational endeavors in 2023, Hillside operated its first 12-week "Summer Camp" program for over 50 students in the Decatur area. Hillside partnered with the Decatur Public School District to help provide much-needed educational activities and structured care for students during the summer months. It was an amazing success. Hillside also partnered with Macon-Piatt Special Education District to provide internship opportunities for students with special needs, giving them real-life job experiences in the preschool setting during the school year. This program is expanding with more students into 2024 and beyond.

Additionally, Hillside partnered with Crosby Care, International in 2023 to clothe over 400 individuals in the Decatur area with brand new clothes. The retail value of this giveaway was over $60,000. As Hillside looks for opportunities to do this again, a partnership has been extended with Crosby Care, International to host a "Clothe a Child" program in the Decatur area.

As you can see, Hillside loves and is so honored to serve Decatur and our surrounding communities in so many ways, all the while sharing the love of Jesus.

Since our founding in 1961 by Bishop Donald E. Horath, Hillside Bethel Tabernacle has existed for one purpose - to lift up Jesus. Hillside strongly believes in following the charge that Paul gave to Timothy in II Timothy 4:2. "Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine."

To that end, Hillside equips people to help build God's Church. We realize that the Church is not a building, not a denomination, and certainly not a set of rules and regulations. Rather, the Church is an organism - a living Body. It is not just an organization. We are blessed to have many individuals involved in the ministry of Hillside Bethel Tabernacle. This website will introduce you to some of the staff and ministries of Hillside.  By no means is this information exhaustive, but it will help introduce you to the staff, leadership and ministry of Hillside Bethel Tabernacle.

There truly is something for everyone at Hillside. You've read our history - why not become a part of our present and future?  Come and worship with us at Hillside.

Expanding the vision...

Our Founding Pastor and all those who have gone before us have left us a legacy life, knowing that what we do for Christ are the things that will last for eternity.  As we are turning the page to new things, the mission of taking Jesus to the whole world remains our focus.

Where we are headed...

While we are at a turning point in our history, we will stay the course that has been set before us.  Building upon the rich foundations of our past, we are confidently and boldly living in the present and actively working toward the future until Jesus comes.

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Sunday as we gather to worship together at 9am for breakfast, 9:30am for Bible Study, 10:30am for Morning Worship, and 6:00pm for Small Group sessions.