Olivet Evangelical Free Church got its start in 1886. The church began as a Bible Study composed of sincere Christians who were disillusioned with the dead Orthodoxy of their old-world Norwegian church. On August 27, eight families met to organize, not a church, but a prayer group. They incorporated themselves into “The Norwegian Christian Free Assembly” and, for about a year, met in homes. The new church was (and still is) a church committed to discipleship, with a hunger to know God in a personal way, to win people to Christ, and to help each other grow spiritually.
The first building, a small frame structure, was built at the corner of Southern and Franklin in 1889. They called it their “Bede Huset” (House of Prayer). In 1903 the church joined the Norwegian/Danish Evangelical Free Church Association, which joined with the Swedish Free Churches to become The Evangelical Free Church of America in 1950. The language of the church changed from Norwegian to English in the 1930’s, at which time the name was changed to “Olivet Evangelical Free Church”. In 1949 a more substantial brick structure was built and in 1979 a large addition was built with classrooms, a gymnasium and a “fireside” room.
In 2008 the congregation moved ahead with a vision that had been almost 15 years in the making. They purchased a 21,000 square foot building on 10 acres in Fruitport Township and began the process of fund-raising and construction that resulted in the dedication of that building as our new church/location on March 15, 2009. This modern, barrier-free building opens doors for new ministries to people who may have never found us in a downtown residential neighborhood.