History of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle
In the late 1970s, Pastor H. Wayne Williams began to hear God’s call to the Black Hills of South Dakota. After two years of the Lord dealing with him about starting a new Independent Baptist Church in Rapid City, Pastor Williams arrived in August of 1979. While staying in a local motel, Pastor Williams prayed for three things: 1. A place to preach, 2. Someone to preach to, 3. A place for his family to live. One phone call was made, and all three prayers were answered!
The very first service was on November 15, 1979, with less than 20 people present. On New Year’s Day, 1980, 33 people signed the Charter to organize the new church named Liberty Baptist Tabernacle. The church first met at 232 E. Adams Street, assuming the debt balance which was around $2,000.00.
Within ten months after the first church service, the decision was made to open a Christian School, and Liberty Baptist Academy began in September 1980 with 24 students. Pastor Williams was instrumental in securing Christian school and homeschool liberties in the state of South Dakota by introducing legislation before the Senate Education Committee and defending our rights in Christian education. As a result of these efforts, Liberty Baptist Academy is still in operation today.
From these early beginnings, the church started doing the Old Liberty Radio Broadcast on KVSR FM (now KLMP). At the time, this was just another part of the LBT’s outreach to Rapid City and those who lived throughout the Black Hills area. In less than two years, the church out grew their first building. Members voted to sell the property, and it sold for $60,000, and our current property was then purchased in 1982 for $200,000. Within eight years’ time, on July 1, 1990, the debt was paid in full! To this day, Liberty Baptist Tabernacle continues to operate on a debt free basis.
Church planting was always a burden of Pastor Williams. Through his leadership, Liberty Baptist Tabernacle has helped to start several new churches in the western United States while supporting missionaries worldwide. In addition, the church now has missionaries who have been commissioned and sent directly out of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle. During the month of November 1987, through the encouragement of Bearing Precious Seed Missionary Dennis Deneau, Liberty Baptist Tabernacle began a ministry of Scripture production and distribution called Bearing Precious Seed; which was later renamed Lighthouse Baptist Press Ministry. Bill Byers and his wife, Ginny, were its very first missionaries. Later, missionary Tom Furse and his wife Shelley directed the Lighthouse Baptist Press Ministry, and in 2014 Tom Furse transitioned his position to Mike Petrocco and his family.
Under the leadership of Pastor Williams, the church acquired its very own print press which is currently being operated by Bret Foley. Since its inception, and through the tireless efforts of the people of Liberty Baptist Tabernacle and seed-line churches, literally millions of John and Romans have been distributed around the world! In January 2016, after 60 years in the ministry and 37 years as our Pastor, Pastor Williams was led by God to pass the torch of Liberty. On February 3rd, 2016 the church unanimously voted Gary Brooks as their next Pastor, and Pastor Williams became our Pastor Emeritus.
God had been dealing with Pastor Brooks about a future at Liberty Baptist Tabernacle years ahead of time, and God confirmed the call to Liberty through Psalm 119:45, “And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.” By the grace of God, through the leadership of Pastor Brooks, and the full backing of Pastor Williams, a seamless transition was made, and the church continues to shine the lights of Liberty for the glory of God!