The first recorded minutes of Open Bible in Rapid City were dated June 8, 1931 with Reverend 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 for land on 6th and North Streets and in May of 1939 they bid $106 for a large hotel building near Keystone, making an agreement with the land owner to tear the building down for salvageable materials to be used for the new church building. 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 leadership of Pastor Ray Smith in 1960, a two acre plot of land was purchased on Space Street. The church was renamed First Church of the Open Bible and services there began in August of 1961. The church began to grow in numbers and missional impact significantly!
From 1969-1981, Pastor Earl and Fern Johnson led the church with distinction. Under their guidance, the church continued growing by making disciples and developing leaders through the Soul Searchers youth ministry - 53 of whom were sent out into vocational and marketplace ministry, as well as the international mission field!
The vision for the 1980s came when Pastor Ed and Betty Wood accepted the call to come to Rapid City. In May 1981, the church purchased land along East Saint Patrick Street and soon after purchase, construction began on a new facility. The church was renamed Open Bible Christian Center and the first services were held in March of 1982. In the next few years the congregation grew substantially!
In January 1987, Pastor Les and Sharon Potts came to lead OBCC. Growth continued and church leadership began to plan the next phase of church building construction. Under Les and Sharon’s guidance, OBCC determined an even clearer vision and mission to plant churches in the Dakotas and beyond. In the nearly 28 years they led the church, it grew significantly in numbers and local and international missional impact!
What began as a small group of 20 now numbers 2,000+ constituents. Our average weekend worship service attendance is 700, offering ministry that will impact your entire household.
Today, under the leadership of Pastor Chuck and Kelly Loftis, we’re embarking on the next phase of OBCC’s history with an emphasis on developing leaders in academia, ministry, the marketplace, families, media, government, and the military (check out Creekside Christian School and Legacy School of Ministry!)
decades, we’ve made a considerable impact for the kingdom of God in Rapid City
and beyond. And God has certainly been good to the people of OBCC and we invite
you to prayerfully consider joining this sincere church family.
By His grace we have come this far and by His grace we will continue to press on as our church’s best days are always ahead!