Beyond the Church Walls

Bear Valley Church was founded in January 1959, and we have more than five decades behind us of serving locally in Lakewood, in the greater Denver metro area, in the state of Colorado and all over the world.

Early in our history, renown Christian speaker, author, and then Bear Valley Church Pastor, Frank Tillapaugh, wrote The Church Unleashed and modeled for the nation what was truly possible when a church empowered its people through a series of simple principles.

We have been in our current building overlooking the beautiful Kendrick Lake Park in Lakewood since 1991. It’s always been an important part of our church DNA to focus on Kingdom of God growth rather than building a Bear Valley Church kingdom.

Recent History

Jim Walters, who retired at the end of 2015, after serving as Senior Pastor since 2001, was only the third senior pastor in 30 years.

Over 1,000 people call Bear Valley Church their church home and approximately 850 attend each Sunday. The congregation is comprised of new families frequently choosing to call this their church home while other families have called it home for many years. Bear Valley Church has an excellent Sunday School program for newborns through high school. Adults from college-age to post-retirement choose from numerous educational and fellowship opportunities offered on Sunday mornings and throughout the week.

Bear Valley is a very diverse, multi-generational congregation. On average 250 children enjoy age-graded Sunday classes. As many as 70 youth and nearly 600 adults participate in Sunday classes and groups through the course of a year.

In 2015, 96 new members joined Bear Valley Church and 56 children and adults were baptized into Christ. Last year, over 150 men, women and youth helped change the world through 14 short-term domestic and international mission trips.

Our vision is to Connect, Mature and Unleash, and this continues to influence everything we do as a church. To unleash ministries, to set individuals free to listen to and follow the Holy Spirit’s leading and start new ministries that God is inviting them to take part in, has always been an important part of Bear Valley Church.

Below are a few words and some direct links to some of the different ministries that Bear Valley Church has helped start throughout our history. We count these ministries and churches ( along with many others at BVC)as vital parts of our current church family. We have volunteers from BVC serving in most of these different ministries, and we continue to support a majority of them financially.

Missions are close to the heartbeat of BVC. Historically and presently, we're very involved in reaching the Denver area and countries all over the world with the Good News of salvation, hope and life in Jesus Christ. We invest a large portion of our budget in supporting missionaries, ministries and different missions projects.

We joyfully accept the challenge from Jesus to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19). We participate in and support all elements of missions: evangelism, discipleship training, mercy ministries, education, mental health programs, water and sanitation projects, Bible translation, refugee assistance, family ministry, mentoring of at risk kids and youth, counseling, medical help, anti-sex-trafficking ministry, pastors’ training, church building projects, orphan ministry, worship training, prayer ministry, ministry to handicapped individuals, money management training, etc. If you have something on your heart that you would love for BVC to be involved in, we would love to hear from you!

Explore BVC Ministries

Mile High Ministries Logo

Mile High Ministries


Mile High Ministries was founded in 1988 and continues to serve the poor and marginalized in downtown Denver. Their vision is to “engage our communities and equip leaders for God’s transformational work among the poor.” Their threefold mission is:
Engage Our Communities: Provide spiritual formation experiences and resources to help faith communities connect with the poor and practice the most helpful and enduring responses to poverty.
Equip Leaders: Develop leaders from and for lower-income, higher-risk urban communities.
Empower the Poor: Address tangible needs of the poor in ways that strengthen their own capacities.
Open Door Fellowship

Open Door Fellowship Church


Open Door Fellowship Church was started in 1984 for the express purpose of reaching the low-income populations in the Capitol Hill neighborhood in downtown Denver. The church has always had a desire to help people with basic needs such as housing, food, clothing, education, job opportunities, etc.

Open Door Ministries

Open Door Ministries


Out of Open Door Fellowship Church grew Open Door Ministries as an outreach ministry with this mission: “to provide practical help and hope to people in urban Denver who are homeless or low income. Our primary objective is to move people toward self-sufficiency by helping change the circumstances and life patterns that have held them captive to poverty and addictions.”

The Denver Street School

The Denver Street School


Denver Street School was founded by BVC member Tom Tillapaugh in 1985. Denver Street School offers struggling students a second chance to earn a high school diploma through a fully accredited program in a small classroom setting. Denver Street School “believes that a quality education is the most effective approach to transforming many underprivileged members of our society into productive citizens, and serves the population of students in Metro Denver that have struggled with, dropped-out or been expelled from the public school system, helping them towards self-sufficiency through education.”

Inner City Health Center

Inner City Health Center


Inner City Health Center was started in 1983 in the historic Five Points community in Denver, which had the highest infant mortality rate, lowest income level, and least access to affordable health care in the Denver Metro Area. Inner City Health Center is “a Christ-centered healthcare home for underserved individuals where consistent, high quality treatment is provided in an atmosphere of genuine respect. We express our love for Jesus Christ and our compassion for those in need through our deep concern for their physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.”

Get Good Counsel Logo

Get Good Counsel


Get Good Counsel was started as Bear Valley Counseling, and got its new name in 2013. Get Good Counsel is an independent, Christ-centered Christian counseling ministry in Lakewood. They are “committed to a good, solid counseling approach that inspires reflection on past experiences, develops new skills to affect current life situations, and a trust in God to face the changes and challenges of each new day.”