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.
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 38 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.
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 months, there on the newly purchased land, prayer meetings were held by the men of the church, 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 their temporary home for 1 year. A few months later, it became apparent that God was doing something behind the scenes.
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. But 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.
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.
Through the ministry of Greater RI Baptist Temple, hundreds of people have found and experienced something far better than the riches and wonders of this world. By God’s loving grace they have discovered a life they previously never knew existed. They have received Christ as their personal Savior; they have been born again; and now they know their soul is secure in the finished work of Christ. These are people who believe in the infallible word of God. These are people who compassionately seek to share the gospel of hope to a lost and dying world. These are people who unashamedly serve our living Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Of course, the ministry of the GRIBT extends beyond the borders of Rhode Island and New England. Understanding that it is God’s mandate to the local New Testament church to evangelize the entire world with the gospel of Jesus Christ, GRIBT has expanded from supporting 1 missionary 24 years ago, to presently supporting over 100 missionaries and missions endeavors.
This is our church, and this is our story—a story about a people saved by grace and blessed of God, endeavoring to rescue sinners with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.