As Pastor Kraai assumed the role of executive pastor in 1976, the neighborhood and the church began a time of revitalization. Government monies helped to slow the spread of urban deterioration and many of the homes in the neighborhood, while still rentals, were refurbished. The new residents were more transient and did not develop the same relationship with the church as the former neighbors.
The changes in the church continued as well. As many of the original members passed away they were replaced by younger more mobile members. Some lived in the neighborhood for a time and then moved on. Others were attracted to Bethany by its ministry and drove across town to get there. The drop in numbers slowed and the membership took on a new diversity.
During Rev. Kraai's tenure Bethany first began to explore neighborhood ministry in a new light. No longer would the goal be to attract large numbers of new members from the immediate neighborhood but rather to serve the needs of the neighbors while supporting the programs with members attracted from throughout the entire city. For a time this was successful. Bethany was able to continue supporting its traditional foreign missionaries while becoming a new missionary church to the city.
The seventy-fifth anniversary of the church was celebrated in 1980. It was a time of celebrating the old and the new, reminiscing and planning for the future. The congregation recognized the leadership of God in their plans and rededicated themselves to carrying out His will in south central Kalamazoo.
When Pastor Kraai left in 1984 the church and the neighborhood were on the edge of change once again. As the Rev. Rick Oppenhuizen became the pastor in 1985 the neighborhood began a slow descent. As federal programs were terminated, assistance for the area became scarce. Absentee landlords did little but collect the rent. The persons willing to live in such houses were increasingly needy. As the 1990's dawned, south central Kalamazoo became the poorest area in the city.
Bethany continued to respond to the needs of the neighborhood by increasing the number of help programs it offered. Vacation Bible School no longer offered just cookies for snacks, whole meals were served. Traditional fund raisers like ice cream socials and dinners became free events to serve the neighbors. The parsonage became "Friendship House" where neighbors could come to find not only a kind word but groceries and help with other financial problems. Several nights a week Narcotics Anonymous met there as well. Bethany began to be a brighter light in an ever darkening city.
Bethany was undergoing changes as well. As the building aged maintenance costs increased. Older members on fixed incomes were less able to respond financially. Other members left to attend churches that had fled to the suburbs. Some potential members found the neighborhood too threatening, but others saw the need for God's work in the neighborhood and stayed. The Reformed Church, too, saw the need for mission in the city and began to provide funding for urban churches that remained. Under Pastor Oppenhuizen's leadership, Bethany entered a new era by returning to its roots. It was once again a mission church, but with a new mission to new neighbors.
When the Reverend Robert Terwilliger was called in 1998, Bethany was well established as an urban ministry church. Under his direction, however, Bethany has added the Restore Ministry, an outreach to prisoners and those recently released from incarceration. In addition, the Christian Resource Center has made the Friendship House their home as well. The congregation has remained stable and shown some growth. As the congregation prepares for the centennial, the building is being refurbished. Bethany is looking forward to the next 100 years of God's leading.