Early in 1945 a group of believers in Paonia were enjoying the Bible teaching ministry of Pastor Young. Bible studies were attended by people from many churches and met in various homes. Those who attended longed for a church that centered its teaching on the Bible and sought to bring this about in their various churches. In February and March of l945 this group called itself "An Independent Fellowship" and organized itself into the beginning of a church with the following officers: Mr. R.T. Elliott - clerk; Mrs. Bessie Crosby - treasurer; Mr. J. E. Hughes , Mr. Will McGraw, Mr. Harrison - deacons; Mr. Gordon Hendricks, Mr. George Clock, Mr. W. Cyphers, elders; Mr. J.E. Hughes - board chairman and Sunday school superintendent; Mrs. McGraw, assistant superintendent; Mrs. Crosby, Sunday school treasurer; and Mrs. Dorothy Conkle, Sunday school secretary. The first Sunday school was held at the Will McGraw's residence.

      On April 2nd, 1945 "The Bible Center" was first used as the name of the new church. It officially became the name of the church with the adoption of the constitution on April 8th. The name was chosen because of a desire to form a church that had a Bible centered ministry. As expressed in the original constitution "The object of this church shall be to promulgate the Gospel of Jesus Christ; to extend missionary work, to lead souls into the saving knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to cultivate Christian union upon the basis of the Word of God."

     In April of 1945 the "Hammer place" was purchased for $3,000 as a place to worship. It included the two story frame house at 1111 Third Street in Paonia. The property included several vacant lots for a future church building. It was purchased for $500.00 down with $500.00 due in thirty days and $25.00 a month until it was paid in full. A collection was made for the down payment. The people had very little money and struggled to make the payments. The Lord helped them keep this little church going. On Sunday April 15th the first church service was held in the "Hammer place."

     Rev. Charles R. Johnson was called to be the first pastor in September l945. Construction soon began on a new church building just east of the house. The property was dedicated with a thanksgiving service November 25th, 1945. The new church building consisted only of an auditorium. The whole original building is the present worship center. Some classes met in the parsonage. In l951 two classrooms were put in the back of the auditorium forming a vestibule between them. In l952 under the leadership of Pastor Bill Peterson a sixteen foot room was added to the south of the church building. It was used for Sunday School and social gatherings. In April 1954 the faith promise system of giving to missions was adopted. It had been highly recommended by G. Christian Weiss, one of the missionary conference speakers that year.

     In the early days of the church J.R. and Grace Kenny had a very important ministry. "Pop" and Grace Kenny were the American Sunday School Union missionaries in our area and were greatly used of God in many lives and in the continuation of Bible Center Church.

     On April 9th, l955 the tenth anniversary of the church was celebrated with the theme "Great Is Thy Faithfulness!" A banquet was held at the Lamborn Mesa Schoolhouse with G. Christian Weiss as the speaker. Pastor Leonard Anderson led in the celebration. In l955 the pastor's salary was $35.00 a week plus parsonage and utilities. The church was growing and needed more space. Another expansion of the church facilities was undertaken that spring. Three rooms, a hallway, and bathrooms were added. The expansion included the installation of a coal fired heating plant for the church and parsonage. In l967 six more Sunday school rooms were added. Five lots were purchased in February l975. This property on the south west corner of Third and Clark known as the "Dingman property" provides off street parking for the church. Our gym was built in l977 and was named "McKinley Hall" in appreciation to Ed and Leona McKinley who donated the funds for its construction. In 1995 a 3 bedroom home on two lots adjoining the church to the south were purchased to help with future expansion.

     The Independent Fundamental Churches of America doctrinal statement was accepted as the church's articles of faith on July 31st, l957. Bible Center Church joined the IFCA February 18, l965.

     Many faithful saints were used of God to bring our church into existence and keep its ministry going. Praise God for the many hours of service of these servants of God.

     AWANA Clubs began at Bible Center in l973 and continue to reach boys and girls for Christ. The church's faith promise system continues to promote the support of missions at home and in foreign lands. It is the goal of this church to faithfully preach the Word of God, reach those who do not know Christ and encourage the growth of believers until the Lord returns.

 

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