Our History – God’s provision and the faith of his people
From its start in the early 1960s to the present, Whyte Ridge Baptist’s story—”our history”—is one of people experiencing God’s leading, stepping out in faith and then relying on His provision. A church plant of the Manitoba Baptist Association of Churches, we began ministry under the name of Central Baptist Church. However, on March 15, 1961, we officially became Grant Park Baptist Church with 27 charter members. These 27 individuals moved from McDermott Avenue Baptist Church to start the new work—McDermott became the “mother” church. One year later, the first building was erected on the corner of Grant Avenue & Wilton Street in south-west Winnipeg.
Growth & Building
We experienced significant growth in the early years. By 1964, attendance reached 150 with a strong ministry to children, youth, and college & career age groups. With growth came the need for more space. Four years later, in 1966, an addition was constructed to accommodate the growth.
The next two decades were marked by times of growth, to the point of being full, and then times of decline. In 1984, with ministry space once again becoming an issue, building discussions were initiated. The end result of the discussions was the decision to relocate to the community of Whyte Ridge. Being land locked at the Grant Avenue property, a new building was constructed on Scurfield Blvd.. Our people were committed to relocating the church to this new community and provide a gospel witness. Four of our families even sold their homes and moved into the Community of Whyte Ridge, in large part, to be closer to the church and its field of ministry. We celebrated the completion of the building on November 20, 1988 and a new name — Whyte Ridge Baptist Church.
Over the next 10 years, we experienced steady growth to the point where space limitations were becoming an issue again. A Building Committee was formed in 1998. A 14 acre parcel of land on the north side of the Community of Whyte Ridge was purchased in 2003. In 2007 the building plans were put on hold due to some struggles we encountered as a church.
In 2012, with space continuing to be a limiting factor for greater ministry, building plans were revived with the appointment of three committees: Prayer, Capital Funds, and Building.
It is said…
Any plans we can accomplish with our own strength and resources are not God’s plans.
God’s plans are always greater than we can ask or imagine and require a step of faith on our part.
At Whyte Ridge Baptist, we have discovered this to be true over the course of our 50 plus years of ministry. Each of the building programs, at the time, appeared to be beyond our ability to accomplish. And this was true, because each one of them required God’s provision. Over the past 20 years we have hired staff to help us grow. This involved a significant step of faith since we were not sure where the funds would come from to pay salaries. In hindsight, He always provided what we needed, when we needed it.
In our early years, we focused on 3 main areas of ministry. The love and passion to reach children with the good news of Jesus Christ resulted in overflowing Sunday School classes and Vacation Bible School programs. Very early on, a high value was placed on music in our aspirations to worship God. He consistently brought gifted musicians and singers. And finally, a commitment to reaching our community and cross cultural ministry (missions), was consistently and thoroughly woven into the fabric of the church.
Today, more than 350 people call Whyte Ridge Baptist home. Many of today’s goals of ministry remain the same as they did in the early years. There still is a passion to reach children. Music and biblical preaching play huge a role in our worship of God each week. And, whether it is those in our neighbourhood and city, supporting missionaries around the world, or sending people on short-term mission trips, a commitment to reaching our community and cross cultural ministry is stronger than ever.
For over 50 years, the people of Whyte Ridge Baptist have placed their faith in God to direct their steps and provide the needed resources for ministry. He continues to be faithful beyond what we ask or imagine.
For the story of how God provided Whyte Ridge Baptist with the McGillivray property, click here.
For a graphical representation of White Ridge Baptist’s history, check out our Timeline.