Omaha Bible Church :: A Brief History
Omaha Bible Church, (OBC), was founded in July 1991 by a group of Christians who were convinced about the importance of reading, studying and following God’s Word. They were aided in their efforts by a Lincoln-based church that shared these same beliefs.
OBC held its first Sunday morning services in August of that year, meeting in a basement room of the Westside Community Education Center. Attendance per Sunday averaged around 40 people.
During the next few years, attendance and offerings continued to grow, attendance averaged 120. As a church, OBC was becoming known by its people rather than its location. Over its first few years, the church met on Sunday mornings at the Westside Community Education Center and on Sunday nights at attendees’ homes where several Bible studies were held. Mid-week services, (prayer meetings, Bible studies and youth activities), were held at various locations including Omaha Christian Academy and the former King of Kings Lutheran Church building, (now Southwest Church of Christ).
During 1995, the leadership of the Lincoln church believed that OBC was ready to become an independent church because of its leadership and financial stability. Omaha Bible Church’s directors were installed as elders in a service conducted in September of that year.
1998 :: A Year of Transition
In July of 1998, OBC’s original pastor resigned. Although the church and its elders were disappointed by his departure, there was also excitement as the elders appointed Patrick Abendroth as the Senior Pastor of OBC in September of that year.
Pat attended OBC since its inception in 1991, and left in 1993 to attend seminary at The Master’s Seminary in Los Angeles, where he graduated with a Master of Divinity degree in May 1996. He returned to Nebraska in June 1996 and was appointed as a college pastor at a church in Lincoln. The elders and the members of OBC felt confident that Pat would continue the church’s emphasis on strong Bible teaching and would also devote much time and energy into the ministry.
While a time of transition like this is often difficult for many churches, OBC itself lost very few people. In fact, the church grew as average Sunday attendance increased from 150 during 1998 to over 200 in the fall of 1999.
1999-2001 :: Planning for Growth
During September 1999, the church began conducting two Sunday morning services, (in addition to its Sunday evening service), and moved its Sunday morning youth activities off-site to a neighborhood fast-food restaurant and a clubhouse in order to make space for children’s classes. The church also made arrangements with a neighboring business so that OBC’s leaders could park their cars off-site in order to free up more parking spaces for visitors and other attendees.
Knowing that these were temporary solutions, the church’s leadership began to consider its options. The elders decided that it would be necessary to buy land that could be developed into a building site. In August of 1999, OBC commenced a fundraising campaign to raise $200,000 so that money would be available if a suitable location was found. The campaign goal was reached in June 2000.
In August 2000, the elders decided to make an offer on an 11.37 acre section of land located next to a business park southwest of 72nd street and interstate 680, (78th and State streets).
In the Fall of 2001 OBC moved into a former K-Mart facility on 108th & Emmett. This new facility adequately served the needs of the body while also encouraging the growth that was to come.
The facility on 108th & Emmett was such a blessing to our church. God enabled us to have a residence that would serve as a hub for ministry while also allowing us to raise the necessary funds for construction of our new building on our recently purchased land on 78th & State Streets.
As OBC prepared to gather its belongings and move a few miles to the North the church had grown to over 330 people.
OBC moved into her new building in June of 2006. As a church we are continually reminded of God’s goodness in giving us a building and land to facilitate ministry to His own glory.
By the end of 2006 average Sunday morning attendance had grown to over 450 people. This presented another ‘good’ problem as both the auditorium and the parking lot's capacity were reached. In February of 2007 we launched a second Sunday morning service. And then in the Fall we expanded our parking lot to accommodate and anticipate growth.
In January 2008 the elders announced that OBC would add the South Campus in view of more effectively reaching the Sarpy County area. Over the past several years God has increased our burden to reach this neighbor to our south by bringing many new families to OBC from Sarpy County.
In July, Erik Raymond was commissioned as the preaching pastor of this ministry. Services then began on July 13, 2008 at Bellevue West High School. In 2010 the ministry of South Campus became a church plant and took on the name Emmaus Bible Church with plans to become an independent local church by the end of 2012.
This ministry expansion aligns with OBC's longstanding desire to plant churches that will promote and defend the greatness of God in the gospel. With roughly 500 folks at the Main Campus and another 200 folks at Soutn Campus, now known as Emmaus Bible Church, we continue to stand in awe of God’s faithfulness in this ministry.
We remain as convinced as the day the church began of the need for a faithful ministry of the gospel and biblical exposition in the Omaha metropolitan area. We look forward to enjoying the goodness of God in building His local church here through likeminded men and women.