Our story begins over 36 years ago on March 9th 1975. It is a glorious story of God’s faithfulness to a people that set out to plant a New Testament Baptist Church in the historical State of Rhode Island.
Being one of the New England states, Rhode Island is rich in early American history. Providence, its capital city, is known as the place of the First Baptist church in America, founded by Roger Williams in 1634. Though a place of spiritual roots and great revival, Rhode Island with its 38 towns and cities, along with the other 5 New England states has suffered a spiritual dirth for over a half century. Religious, but without regeneration. Churched, but without Christ. Great cathedrals, great statues, great culture, great education, but without our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. It is not surprising that some have said that New England in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, was one of the greatest mission fields in America.
On March 9th 1975, Pastor Crichton, his wife Ginny, and their 5 children, along with 20 curious people, held the first service of the Greater Rhode Island Baptist Temple in the Pied Piper Nursery School in Johnston. Surely the hand of the Lord was revealed from the beginning as the Gospel was preached and personal evangelism practiced. Souls were saved, followed by baptism, and the Lord began to add to the church gradually but continually.
By the Fall of 1975, the church had outgrown its nursery school facilities and moved to an elementary school in North Scituate, Rhode Island. Nearly 5 years were spent at that location, which saw the membership grow significantly. New outreach ministries were born, in addition to the already growing bus ministry – a ministry that has proven to be a mighty arm in personal evangelism, reaching boys and girls that would never come if someone did not bring them.
It is estimated that the bus fleet of GRIBT has for the past 36 years traveled a combined mileage of over 90,000 miles – over 3 trips around the world. GRIBT bus workers have transported in that same time over 125,000 bus riders.
The Sunday school ministry, which is our greatest arm, has its roots deep in the outreach ministry of the GRIBT. From the very first Sunday, it as been vital to reaching and spiritually developing toddlers through adults. From the Sunday school have come workers to teach, assist and serve the Lord in some capacity. Additional ministries began, which include the deaf ministry, teen ministry, rest home ministry, music ministry, and other outreach ministries.
In 1978, the church was approaching 4 years of existence, and the Lord opened the door for a tract of land to be secured as the location of the future home of the GRIBT church family. Great lessons were learned as the Pastor and people stepped out by faith to purchase the 10-acre parcel of land. Faith won the victory, and in June of 1978, a dedication service was held on the land with a spirit of anticipation as to what God would enable this body of believers to do next. For the next several month, prayer meetings were held by the men on the land, asking the Lord for enablement and financing to proceed with plans to build the new church facility.
Then came the news from the North Scituate School Board that the church would have to move from the school facilities within 30 days. God had closed a door, but not without opening another. Within one month, the congregation of the GRIBT had secured and prepared the vacated Williams School in Johnston. It would be the temporary home for 1 year. It would be obvious in a few months that God was doing something behind the scenes. It was during this same time of moving and accomplishing the massive task of making an abandoned building a temporary place of worship that another door opened.
A bond issue was chosen as the means of financing a church building that was at that time on the drawing board. Within 2 weeks after launching the bond program, nearly all the bonds were sold, and in June of 1980, the first shovel of dirt was turned over, and in the following 2 weeks, a great hole was in the ground, a cavity for the first level of the new home of GRIBT. In the days that followed, there would be much toil and long hours by God’s people to maintain the ministry operations and to construct the massive project. The dedication and physical investment of the many members of the GRIBT are known best by the Pastor who is grateful to all those who faithfully worked beside him until the project was completed.
In June of 1981, the first service of the GRIBT was held in the new facility, and in August of that same year, the building was dedicated to God, to be used to reach souls and raise up disciples for the glory of God. For the past 31 years, on the God-given site, hundreds have come, some only to visit, being curious, some searching for the truth.
In September of 2012, Pastor Jeff Amsbaugh and his wife Karen came to us to be only our second Pastor in 37 years of ministry. Pastor Amsbaugh brings with him over 25 years of Pastoral experience.
People have found and experienced something far beyond the riches and wonders of this world. They are those who have by God’s loving grace discovered a life they knew not existed. They have received Christ as their personal Savior. They have been born again from above. They know their soul is secure in the finished work of Christ. They are people who believe in the infallible word of God. They are people who witness to a lost world, to their friends, their neighbors, their family. They are people who work for God.
This is our church family. This is our story, a people saved by grace, blessed of God, endeavoring to rescue sinners with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Our family is never too big or too busy to have you come and join us through Christ Who makes it possible.
The ministry of the GRIBT extends beyond the borders of Rhode Island and New England. Believing that it is God’ mandate to the local New Testament church to evangelize the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the GRIBT has expanded from supporting 1 missionary 24 years ago, to presently supporting over 100 missionaries and missionary endeavors. Each week many of the members of the GRIBT give a faith promise offering, over and above their tithes. God has abundantly blessed our ongoing outreach ministry of missions.
“And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” We rejoice in the lives that God is using that have gone out from us to reach lost souls for Christ.