River Hills was established in April of 1998 through the merger of three local churches. Park Hills, West Main, and Reidville Road Baptist churches united and adopted the name River Hills. The congregations of Park Hills and West Main Baptist churches relocated to the Reidville Road Baptist Church property on which we now reside. The two downtown church facilities were sold and plans were soon made for new construction.
In November of 2001 the new facility was dedicated and opened for business! The church experienced rapid growth and a tremendous number of new families. Church attendance jumped from just over 120 in 1998 to over 400 by 2005.
Throughout this time the church has been led by God through the ministry of Pastor Kent Smith. Kent and his wife Sandy came to Spartanburg (Park Hills Baptist Church) in October of 1996. On October 23, 2016, we celebrated their 20th anniversary of service to our congregation. During the 20 years of their service we have seen over 200 people come for baptism, and have given over $1.3 million dollars to support missions locally and around the world.
Former staff and members have also gone out from this church to plant new churches in Pennsylvania and Missouri, to start mission work in Nicaragua, and to serve other churches in South Carolina and in the Pacific Northwest.
Mission teams and individuals from the church have gone globally to Thailand, Taiwan, Nicaragua, and Morocco on mission for Christ; nationally, we have travelled to New Mexico, West Virginia, Michigan, and North Carolina doing evangelism, church support, block parties, and disaster relief. Locally, our church body has supported prison ministries, Habitat for Humanity, District 5 Family ministries, a Franklin Graham crusade and has been the hands and feet of Jesus in our local community through food distribution, benevolent aid, and yard service.
We have also embraced a vision of being a Kingdom Campus. We have partnered with three different congregations in our history to advance the Kingdom. We hosted an African-American church plant for four years in our former facilities, now called Fountain-of-Life Baptist Church (click HERE to visit their site). Currently we host two other churches here. Beth Shiloh Messianic Congregation is a congregation of Jews and Gentiles worshipping together, proclaiming Jesus as the promised Messiah. They are led by Rabbi Andy Myerson (click HERE to visit their site.) We also have welcomed and embraced Emmanuel Slavic Church (click HERE to visit their site) under the leadership of Pastor Dmitriy Sarioglo. A highlight of each year is a combined worship service with all three current congregations joining together in unity and love to worship and celebrate God’s goodness followed by a shared meal (Russian desserts are AMAZING!).
God has blessed us in so many ways. Today we sit in an ideal location in an area of the county poised for significant population growth. We are planning and preparing to accept our responsibility before God to reach the many new families that are already coming into our community. God has granted us a meaningful past, but the best is yet to come.