The first recorded minutes of Open Bible in Rapid City were dated June 8, 1931 with C.G. Rothermel as the first Pastor. In the first few years the small congregation worshipped in homes, rented space in the 800 block of Fairview, shared the First Evangelical Free building on 11th and Kansas City St and then moved into the annex of the Harney Hotel.
In 1938 the congregation paid $160 for land on 6th and North Streets and in May of 1939 they bid $106 for a large hotel building near Keystone, and made an agreement with the land owner to tear the building down for salvageable materials to be used in building the new church. The congregation moved from the Harney Hotel Annex to 6th and North Streets as soon as the basement was usable. The dedication service of the new church was on September 3, 1944. The building (pictured above) included living quarters for the pastor and his family.
Under the Pastorate of Ray Smith, the next move for the Open Bible congregation was in 1960 where a two acre plot of land was purchased for $5,000.00 on Space Street. Ground was broken on April 16, 1961 and work commenced on a new church and parsonage. Services at Space Street began in August of 1961. The church began to grow and an additional wing was added to the church in 1964. The mortgage burning on the Space Street church was held in 1971.
The vision for the decade of the 80's came when Pastor Ed and Betty Wood accepted the call to come to Rapid City. Retreating from the "Neighborhood" church image the congregation in May of 1981 purchased 14.5 acres of land along E. Saint Patrick Street, which was the former home of Trailer Sales Warehouse. Soon after purchase, construction began on the new facility. The first services were held in March of 1982 and in the next few years the congregation grew from around 150 to an average attendance of 380. The mortgage was burned in May of 1989, retiring a note of $420,000 within an eight year period.
Following Ed Wood in January of 1987 Pastor Les Potts and family came to Rapid City. Growth continued and church leadership began to plan the next phase of church construction. Ground broke for an educational/office wing in 1990 and occupancy was in 1991. Construction was done with mostly volunteer labor at a cost of around $200,000. This project was completed without having to borrow money. On Sept. 11, 2002 we completed a 2.5 million dollar, 54,000 square foot Family Life Center which will more than double our capacity and expand our options for ministry.
What began as a small group of 20 now numbers close to 2500 in constituency and an average weekend worship attendance of 900. Under the leadership of Pastor Les Potts, we are now embarking on the next phase of Open Bible's history. Only God knows where we go from here.
For over 77 years these memorial markers testify to the fact that we have had considerable impact for the kingdom of God in Rapid City. God has been good to the people of Open Bible Christian Center. By His Grace we have come this far and with His Grace we will continue to press on.