History

Hope Bible Church of Tampa

The words of Jesus Christ ring over and over in our ears: "I will build my church." With great confidence, we can say that since the day of Pentecost, Christ has been faithfully building His church. All over the world this work goes on and will continue on until that last person is saved, until the coming of Christ, and the rapture and resurrection of the believers. 

At Hope Bible Church we are thankful that we can be part of God's eternal plan in building His church. Our history, like the history of all churches, is unique, and demonstrates the wonderful wisdom and ways of God. We need to start off by saying that Hope Bible Church is a result of a merger of two churches that took place just five years ago. To tell our history then, we need to go back and briefly review the history of these two churches.

Hillsborough Christian Church began in 1956. It was a church affiliated with the Disciples of Christ. God used this church through the years to bring many people to saving faith in the Lord. Believers were baptized and taught, and many workers for the Lord were raised up. Men like Mike Arnett, Fred Smith, Claire Berry and John Comfort were ones who faithfully pastored the church through the years.

But like all churches, there were ebbs and flows. There were years when the church sanctuary was packed out, and the Sunday School rooms were filled; and there were times when the church had but a handful of members. But Christ continued to build His church, and the faithful persevered. A decisive time in the history of this church occurred in 1981. The denomination, Disciples of Christ, had grown more liberal, allowing practices that were not Biblical. Hillsborough Christian Church decided to leave the denomination, and become an independent church. And God blessed. She was renamed, Hillsborough Christian Community Church, and continued to worship God and do the work of the Lord.

Bay Area Community Church (BACC) began in 1986. This church was affiliated with Great Commission Association of Churches. A few Christians from a campus church in Gainesville, Florida had moved to Tampa to begin this new church. But the focus of this church was in the community. BACC was a friendly church, an evangelistic church, a church committed to helping to fulfill the Great Commission. Many lives were affected. Many people were raised up to be laborers for the Lord, including a number of African Americans and Hispanics. 

In 1996, Gary Osborn, the founding and leading pastor of the church, moved to Omaha to plant a church. Frank Apisa and Gary Galligan were then recognized as elders and took over the pastoring duties in the church. And Christ continued to build His church. In 1999, Frank and his wife Pam decided to become missionaries in Italy. At that time Steve Hogan and his family moved from a Great Commission Church in Maryland to fill the role of teaching pastor. And God continued to bless.

Then there was the merger, this marriage of two churches. In times when many churches split, two churches decided to unite together. BACC was younger and had pastors. HCCC was older and had no pastors. BACC was renting a facility. HCCC owned their own property. BACC and HCCC were doctrinally very similar, and they had the same vision, to glorify God and make disciples of all the nations. This merger, clearly the hand of God, took place in 2004. This blending of believers was indeed a great blessing to all. The church was renamed Hope Bible Church. Indeed, God was good, and continued His work of building the church.

We are very thankful for this church. By God's grace, by the working of His Word, and the work of the Spirit, we will continue to love God, love the saints and carry out His work on this earth.

God be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us --
That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all nations.

Psalm 67:1-2

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Romans 15:13

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