Warning: "continue" targeting switch is equivalent to "break". Did you mean to use "continue 2"? in /homepages/29/d507515194/htdocs/clickandbuilds/RhemaChristianCenter/wp-content/plugins/a3-lazy-load/admin/admin-interface.php on line 364

Warning: session_start(): Cannot start session when headers already sent in /homepages/29/d507515194/htdocs/clickandbuilds/RhemaChristianCenter/wp-content/plugins/wp-miniaudioplayer/miniAudioPlayer.php on line 291
History of Rhema - Rhema Christian Center Church

History of Rhema

History of Rhema

Clarence C. and Doris Givens walking with their baby, Arvel E. Givens




First Pulpit 





Rhema held its first worship service in the lower level of the Pastor’s home. The first pulpit was a bar. Oh yes, a bar! If God could glorify a cruel cross, what more could He do with a bar? Previously, all kinds of spirits were served from that bar, but now, only Holy Spirit-filled lessons from the Word of God were stocked there. Glory to God!


The First Baptismal

The first baptismal candidate was baptized in the backyard swimming pool. Twenty-eight candidates followed.



The Power of God

One Sunday night Rhema was holding a prayer and praise service. God came into our midst in a marvelous way to the extent that the entire church fell under the power.


Angels in our midst

During another service, we had a visitation by angels. Everyone who was present heard or saw the angels coming into the meeting or leaving the meeting.


God packed the house

When Rhema was approximately six months old, our first visiting evangelist was Michael Henry from South Africa. He was in town to speak for a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship meeting. He accepted the invitation to come and share the Word with Rhema. After his message, he confirmed a previous prophecy: “People from all over the world will know of Rhema.”


The Word continued to go forth in power, and after several months, the Lord filled every available seat in that lower level. Chairs were brought from the dining room and kitchen. Our little fellowship now had thirty-five members.


First Sanctuary


Early in 1978, the Lord made available the property at 4915 Sargent Road, N.E, The fellowship continued to grow and eventually as God had promised, He had packed the house again. People were standing in line (around the corner) to hear the Word.



Renovation (First Expansion)

One year later, the Lord had packed the house again. As Rhema grew, it was necessary to expand. The architect said we could only expand to one side. During a Bible Study, the Lord gave Pastor Givens a vision of the building expanding to a side contrary to the architect’s instruction. The architect was asked to double check to be sure before we started ground breaking. he came back with a good report that we could expand left, right and one story up if the foundation was solid.


All things are possible

Who said you can’t lay bricks in temperature below 32 degrees? Tell that to Jesus, because Rhema did just that. The inspector said, “When spring comes the entire building is going to fall.” We rebuked that in the Name of Jesus. The brick column stands with a beam resting on it. When we ordered the beam which cost $750.00, Rhema had only $100.00 and the beam was to be delivered in one week. Praise the Name of Jesus! After Sunday service, the Lord blessed us with over $600.00. He laid it upon a lady’s heart to call a day before delivery to donate a $500.00 savings bond. There was no way, except by the Holy Spirit, that she could have known of Rhema’s dire need. Hallelujah!


When the driver arrived with the beam, he made it clear that he was a union worker. He was only the driver and was not allowed to lift or load, only drive and collect. The driver asked, “Where is your crew?” He was told, “You are looking at them.” The crew consisted of two men. The Lord began to move on his heart, and before he realized what he was doing, he had unloaded the beam. The driver said, “What am I doing? I’m not supposed to do this.” But he did.



From whence cometh our help

After the footing for the basement was completed, we ran into a problem. We needed to lay a brickcorner column for an 800 pound cross beam to rest on for the support of the upper structure. Two men walked up to the wall and asked if we were having a problem. They said that they were bricklayers and would help. The column went in perfectly. They refused pay and said, “Just praise the Lord.” They left just as mysteriously as they had appeared. Where did they come from? Where did they go? Your guess is as good as ours. The Word says to be careful how we entertain strangers, for many have entertained angels unawares.


Second sanctuary


When Rhema reached five years of ministry, we had grown from nine members to over 500. The prophecy that was uttered from the beginning, “Preach the Word, I will pack the house,” became rhema (alive) to us because God had filled the building until we were almost coming apart at the seams.


Pastor Givens was awakened early one morning and the Holy Spirit said, “Enlarge the place of your tent, deepen the stakes and lengthen the cords.” In 1983 he contacted a contractor and gave him the blueprints in order to receive an estimate for the renovation. The amount was astronomical, almost double the cost of he property. The Lord spoke and said” “I want you to build it.” So without experience, we started the task with the guildance of the Lord. One year later, we were worshipping in our second sanctuary.



Known by our fruit

We have had visiting evangelists and pastors from South Africa, China, West Africa and India. Rhema sent our first missionary to China to work and minister with Nora Lamb, China’s life-changing evangelist.


The vision for Rhema is to perfect the saints for the work of the ministry (Ephesians 4:12). This vision has manifested itsalf by several churches being birthed and set apart and pastored by shepherds trained at Rhema by Pastor Clarence Givens. After seven years of ministry, Rhema birthed a church in Newport News, Va, “Rhema II”, pastored by Kenneth and Alice McDade. In 1989, Rhema birthed another church, “Bible Life Christian Center”, pastored by Johnny Peterson, located in Oxon Hill, MD. Since then, “Resurrection Life Christian Center” in Petersburg, VA, pastored by Gary and Alice Gray; “Rhema Christian Center III”, pastored by Richard and Dale Williams in NC and, “The Divine Restoration Church”, pastored by Jonathan Sr. and Lila Smalls in Fayetteville, NC.





Our present sanctuary

In 1992, RCCC purchased the Safeway building at 1825 Michigan Avenue, N.E. and remodeled it for our academic day school. Soon, the Lord told us He wanted us to house the sanctuary at that address also! Immediately, we began bulding a new sanctuary on the parking lot. That sanctuary seats over 1,500 people. In 1994, a second floor (the Clarence C. Givens Fellowship Hall) was erected over the Day School and used for the Givens Bible College, for our anniversary banquet celebrations, and wedding receptions. The Clarence C. Givens Fellowship Hall has a large banquet facility which accommodates 1,000 people, a kitchen, twelve additional rooms, restooms and an an elevator.


In 1999, the Academic Day School moved to the second floor, and the Clarence C. Givens Fellowship Hall moved to the first floor. This major renovation effort has many benefits. It provides an environment that is more conducive to learning for the school, as well as a larger facility for the Clarence C. Givens Fellowship Hall.


There is no such thing as a pew member in Rhema. Each of us is called to be perfected “for the work of the ministry.” There is something for everyone to do, and we do it joyfully, all to the glory of God! As co-laborers together with God, we know that if we walk worthy of the vocation wherewith we have been called, our labor is not in vain in the Lord. God continues to bless us exceeding, abundantly above all that we could ask or think. We have truly come this far by faith.


The Ordination of Our Pastor C. Calvin Givens to Become a Bishop

Above is: Bishop Clarence Calvin Givens, Pastor Doris Givens, and Pastor Arvel Givens




Truly, as Time has Progressed, God has Given us Marvelous Pastors in Arvel and Brenda Givens





Rhema’s 34th Anniversary Concert: Featuring “TonyJ”


Gospel recording artist “TonyJ”, known to Rhema as Minister Anthony M. Jefferson, Sr., was the featured artist of this year’s concert. A tremendous blessing and successful evening, the anointing of the Most High God was heavy upon him as he ushered us into God’s very presence. Below are samples of that evening’s songs.