The first meeting of Faith Bible Church was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John O. Clayton of Elkridge Heights, in June 1957. There were 47 present including the children. Sunday School classes were held across the street at the Cosgrove home. The Lord opened the door in July of that year so that we were able to use the I.O.O.F. Hall in St. Dennis. We were incorporated within the year as a church under the laws of Maryland, the official name being the Faith Bible Church (FBC). After the required time, we were recognized by the Federal government as an independent, nonprofit, religious organization.
Those were the “good old’ days” when we had a Mother-Daughter Banquet serving Imperial Crab which cost us 45 cents each. The love of Christ bound us very closely together. Under the leadership of an experienced superintendent from Philadelphia, our Sunday School had a good founding and grew steadily.
After the Church committee investigated 88 pieces of property, the Church voted to buy the present grounds, which was owned by the Garman brothers. Pastor Crooks and his family moved into the large “plantation” house. A 32 x 70, two story structure was erected. This served as our Worship and Sunday School building from 1960 to 1971. During the construction of this building, a tent was erected for Vacation Bible School and Sunday services.
The present parsonage was built in 1965 and the old house was used for Sunday School space until it was demolished. Additional classes were held in the parsonage garage and basement. The Sunday School grew considerably as we started a bus ministry. Much help came from Sunday School teachers and drivers.
A Women’s Missionary Society (now called the Ladies Christian Fellowship) and a Men’s Fellowship group (now the Men of Faith) were formed. Though never very large in number, each group has done an immeasurable service for many years. They have carried on the custom of banquets for the women and men.
The very first year, our interest turned to the Great Commission. Our first missionaries were Mr. and Mrs. Dave Whitmore from the West Indies Mission. Over the years the number of missionaries grew and the church budget has always had a large missions budget. The church has been fortunate to have several of our children grow up and train for the mission field. Today, there are sixteen individual missionaries and mission organizations which we partially support. Of these sixteen, five of our missionary individuals or families were members, sent out by Faith Bible Church. A sixth, grew up in the church and married a husband destined to serve as a missionary. The main focus of supported overseas work is church planting. The church hosts our missionaries that visit on furlough, giving the missionary an opportunity to share their ministry report. The ladies may plan a luncheon with the missionary women. Members of the Council or the missions committee (if active) will usually meet with the missionary to ensure their ministry is still consistent with the church’s missions policy. We have found that by putting the Lord’s interest first, He has taken care of our daily needs. Giving as the Lord leads has always been taught at Faith Bible Church, and as many throughout the years have obeyed the Lord in this matter, He blessed them and the church. We give Him thanks and we appreciate the obedience of God’s children.
In 1971, we moved into the new sanctuary. The Lord has blessed each place of worship with His presence, causing us to say at each move, “The Lord has been so precious here, we hate to go into new and larger quarters.” But since He went before, we enjoyed the same warmth of His presence. The sanctuary has a capacity of 400 and the stained-glass window and all the furniture were donated by friends.
In the Fall of 1973, we opened a Christian School with 40 children. This was an answer to the prayers of many of the congregation for more than 10 years. The burden for a school was first laid upon the heart of our beloved John Oliver Clayton of Elkridge. Mr. Clayton lived to see the school organized and operating. The Christian Academy was a Bible-centered educational ministry of Faith Bible Church. The school was dedicated to assisting parents in the task of training their children to reach their full academic potential that they may find and pursue God’s will for their lives. As more and more families chose to use home education the enrollment in the school declined. In 2007 the academy closed due to lack of enrollment, after 34 years of operation in support of church families and families from neighboring churches.
The constitution was written based on biblical principles and includes a council-led form of government. The Statement of Faith has focuses on the fundamentals of the faith. In 2009 the constitution was rewritten as a set of bylaws based on the recommendation of the Christian Law Association (CLA) to be consistent with documents supporting a corporation. In 2018 the bylaws were amended to consistently state the qualifications, election and duties of the church officers. The current bylaws still require additional work to address other CLA recommendations. This work will require strengthening the Statement of Faith. New sections are needed to address social issues and aspects of church ministry. The social issues include authority of government, human sexuality, family relationships, abortion, love, and lawsuits between believers. The potential new sections related to church ministry need to address missions and giving.
The choice of the name, Faith Bible Church, was made from a list of suggestions. We chose this name because:
FAITH – It is the gift of God and without it we cannot please God or receive eternal life
BIBLE – We wanted it to be known that we have the Bible as our foundation
CHURCH – Its meaning is “called out ones”; called out by Him unto Himself
Originally the church reached our boys and girls, through Pioneer Girl and Christian Service Brigade, with games, socials and Biblical life principles. In the Fall of 1976, we saw the reorganization of the work under the Awana Youth Program. Awana consists of Cubbies (ages 3 & 4) up to the Varsity (up to age 19). The Awana program has been used by the church since that time to minister to the children of Elkridge community and beyond. One highlight occurred in 2004 when the Awana varsity teens took first place nationally in Bible Quizzing. In the past decade the percentage of children and youth from outside the church has grown significantly and has included individuals from many ethnic backgrounds. The international mission field has come to Elkridge through our Awana outreach.
The Lord has blessed along the way with excellent musicians both vocal and instrumental. The Easter and Christmas cantatas have always been a special blessing. Over the years many teens and adults have shared their talents by singing in the choir or accompanying the singing with their instruments, for example, cello, violins, flutes, trumpets, french horn and guitars.
The founding pastor of Faith Bible Church was Rev. Clayton Crooks. He had served FBC faithfully for nearly 24 years when, in 1981, he went home to be with the Lord. Rev. Daniel Peters was called to be senior pastor in 1981 after which Pastor Crooks was the “Pastor Emeritus” until his death.
Rev. Daniel Trayer had been hired as the Faith Bible Church Academy High School Supervisor and church youth director in 1979. Four years later, he became the assistant pastor. When Pastor Peters was called to another ministry in Limerick, Pa., in May of 1988, Reverend Trayer became the interim pastor. He served in this capacity until May of 1990 when Pastor Donald Huffmier became the new senior pastor. Rev. Trayer stayed on as assistant pastor for one year and in 1991 sought the Lord for a new direction. Pastor Huffmier left FBC to go back to Michigan in 1992 and Dr. Sam Fowler supplied pulpit fill for the majority of the next two years as we looked for a new senior pastor. In August of 1994, Rev. Alexander Poindexter became the senior pastor and left in the fall of 1996 to start a new work in the heart of Columbia, Maryland. At that time a number of church families left the church to assist Rev. Poindexter in the new work. Dan Trayer, who had returned to serve as assistant pastor in 1995, became our interim pastor again until March of 1997, when he was called as the senior pastor of Faith Bible Church. In 2008 Pastor Trayer announced that he would be retiring in September of the following year. A pulpit committee was formed and in 2009, Daniel Fox was made pastor of FBC. In 2014 the pastor’s focus was mentoring men in teaching and leadership. Twelve men were involved in the training and given opportunities to preach or teach. Later that year Pastor Fox’s family had to deal with a serious, time consuming, family issue that impacted the momentum of the church. In March 2017, Pastor Fox resigned as pastor and a pulpit committee was formed. The Lord used the next twenty months to move many members out of their comfort zone. The Lord moved many men to step up and take on duties they had not been willing in the past. God used these men to read scripture and pray during services and prepare devotions for Sunday or Wednesday evening services. God provided guest speakers for pulpit fill and three regular speakers that encouraged and challenged the congregation by the Word. In November 2018 Sung Cho was unanimously elected as pastor of FBC. Pastor Cho began his ministry in January of 2019.
Not only did the Lord raise up missionaries out of our church but he has led others into full time ministry. Matthew Conrad, who was raised in the church, was hired as assistant to the pastor in 2003 while he prepared for the mission field. He faithfully served until Pastor Matt Conrad served as assistant pastor before transitioning to full-time deputation and then becoming a missionary to Hong Kong in 2011. In 2005 an ordination service was held for member Mark Jones. At the end of that academy school year Mark resigned from his position as principal and senior high teacher to become associate pastor of a church in Perry Hall, MD. Also in 2005, Jim Ghanayem, who grew up in the church, was ordained and took over Mark Jones position, becoming assistant pastor of education. Then in 2007 when the academy closed, Jim Ghanayem left FBC to become pastor of Faith Bible Church in Altoona, PA.
The church has always had a goal to evangelize the surrounding communities. For many years the church has had a weekly tract distribution ministry at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. From this ministry we have had a number of people from all over the world participate in a correspondence course in the Gospel of John. In recent years the course was translated into Spanish by two members of the church. During the school year the Awana club evangelizes and disciples children from the surrounding areas. Four times a year a group of men from our church conducts a gospel service at the Baltimore Rescue Mission. In years past we have had an “Evangelism Explosion” training and visitation ministry. Evangelism Explosion stresses on the job training to help believers know how to share their faith. In 2011 the church transitioned to the Every Day Evangelism program but when long time director Fred Simonaire stepped down in 2012 the corporate evangelism became sporadic and informal door-to-door evangelism due to the lack of a leader to organize the efforts. In 2016 Pastor Fox held a nine week study on relational evangelism hosted in parsonage. The study helped the attenders to know how to build relationships with neighbors and co-workers with the intent of leading them to Christ. Another form of evangelistic outreach was the summer Vacation Bible School (VBS). The church suspended VBS in 2016 due to a lack of leadership but hopes to reinstate it as soon as possible.
Until Christ returns, it is our prayer and purpose that the testimony of Faith Bible Church will be Christ-centered and Christ-glorifying in all of its ministries. We are here to:
- Evangelize Elkridge and the surrounding area
- To send missionaries to the uttermost parts of the world
- To serve Christians of like faith which God brings to us with truth and hope from God’s Word.