In 1918, a Christian realtor, Oscar B. Bottorff, had a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of the people of the Saint Louis metropolitan area. On June 23, 1918, a meeting was held in a large rented tent located in University City, a suburb of St. Louis County. Evangelist Paul Rader from Chicago served as the primary speaker throughout the summer.
The meetings attracted many people and prompted the group, headed by Mr. Bottorff, to rent a hall before cold weather set in above Nugent’s Department Store, in the Vanol Building located at Vandeventer and Olive Streets. For approximately the next five years, outstanding speakers from across the country were invited to come to the Gospel Center to minister in various capacities to the people who attended.
During this period, the group secured a church charter (1920) and called themselves the St. Louis Gospel Center. In approximately 1969, the church became known as South County Bible Church.
Also prominent in the establishment of the IFCA were Dr. William R. McCarrell, Pastor of Cicero Bible Church (at the time it was called The First Independent Congregational Church of Cicero) and Rev. Marion Reynolds from Los Angeles.
June 23, 2008 marked the ninetieth year of this ministry and in 2018, if the Lord permits; we will celebrate our centennial anniversary. May God continue to bless this work and cause it to flourish for His glory!