I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
The roots of Athens Bible Church spring from a bible class begun in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Ellis in 1970. The class was taught by Pastor Harlan Alspach of Chillicothe Bible Church.
So many Ohio University students began attending the class that during October of 1972, it was decided that Sunday services should begin. They were held on the first floor of Logan’s Bookstore. After two years, on the 27th of June, 1974, a charter was drawn up and signed by 28 believers, thus forming the local body of Athens Bible Church.
The Church had 3 elders and immediately began to support 3 missionaries: the families of Mark Grings, Bill Stols and Rick Gaudet. Soon after, the first meeting of the Ohio University Bible Fellowship – open to all – was held. Bible classes and clubs have continued to be an important part of Athens Bible Church.
Church services moved to the basement of Boyd Hall, then to a dorm room on the West Green and ended up at the Helen Mauk Galbreath University Chapel where services were held from 1975 until 1978. During that time, Ralph Smith helped with pastoral duties for the congregation in 1975 and Pastor Hixson was called to service in June of 1976. Remaining with Athens Bible Church until today.
The Church ended up moving many more time before ending up at it’s current location. It spent the years of 1979 to 1981 at the Ohio University Inn and that was followed by an attempted move to a rented Church on N. Lancaster Road that caught fire the day before the first service. That forced a temporary move to the Athens Recreation Center for 6 weeks while the building was rebuilt; after which, the Church moved into the N. Lancaster Road location and remained there until breaking ground and erecting the building at the current location in The Plains in 1983.
Notable Dates and Events:
1976 – Mike Dunn was added to the elder board.
1976 – The International Bible Class was started.
1976 – Ministry began in Shively Hall
1979 – Grace Chapel began in Dover, Ohio with Pastor Hixon and Mike Dunn preaching on alternate weekends.
1979 – Doug DeMar moved to Salem, Ohio to begin the Salem Bible Church.
1982 – The Mike Dunn family moved to help in the work at Grace Chapel.
1982 – The Brian Kuzman family moved to Cleveland, Ohio to begin the Faith Bible Church.
1982 – Peter Chase was added to the elder board.
1983 – Michael Brunk was added to the elder board.
1983 – The church broke ground at the current location.
1983 – On November 20th, the first service was held in the current building.