Central Baptist Church of Southington Connecticut


Church Planters You Should Know - Part 3: Grant G. Rice

  • Jim Townsley
  • Sep 4, 2014
Throughout history God has always had His man to stand in the gap. During the later part of the twentieth century Grant Rice was that man God used to start churches and influence church planters in America. The majority of men who started churches during this time period were either helped directly or at least indirectly, by this man of God. Brother Rice was a very humble man and in an unassuming manner crossed the United States every year helping start churches and counseling young men on how to start and build a new church.
Grant Rice was born in central Wisconsin on April 15, 1922. Though born into a Lutheran home his parents never attended church. Grant's father came from a divided home and eventually his father was farmed out to a foster home of Baptists. Though Baptist by name they were hypocrites when it came to religion leaving a bad taste in the mouth of Brother Rice's father. Because of his father's personal experience with Baptist's, Grant grew up with a cynicism about religion that did not change until he heard the gospel on a Christian radio program in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Attracted by the singing that morning he looked up the church and attended the evening service. After returning to his job at the machine shop he felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit and after the third Sunday of attending services he received Christ as his Savior. Though working long hours Brother Rice developed a deep hunger for the Word of God and quickly began to grow. However, God had special plans for his training.
Similar to the Arabian experience of the Apostle Paul God directed Brother Rice to join the navy. Here God provided the opportunity to have Bible studies every night for several hours and hold a Sunday service on the ship, all at the expense of the U.S. government. God used this time to prepare his heart for the work ahead.
After returning to civilian life Brother Rice realized the need to start a church closer to where he lived. Partnering with a friend they tried to start a new church, but the church plant was a failure. God used this experience to burden his heart to help others start churches. Out of that failure God used Brother Rice to birth a dozen new churches and eventually leave his machine shop job for full time church planting. He personally started and pastored thirteen new churches. Yet, the more remarkable aspect of his ministry was playing the role of a modern day Barnabas. Brother Rice would counsel, guide, and help any young man interested in church planting. His personal diaries describe his ventures in detail and with remarkable resilience he traveled across the country and to foreign soil teaching and enabling young men to start churches. Brother Rice traveled in a little trailer endeavoring to do his work as efficiently as possible and with as little cost as possible.
Grant Rice had a part in the founding of literally hundreds of new churches and influenced thousands of churches. He became known as the preacher to contact if a new church was needed. If a young man came to his pastor and indicated a desire to start a church most preachers knew to say, "You need to contact Grant Rice." Quietly, without fanfare Grant Rice did more to facilitate church planting than any other man during the last half of the twentieth century. Brother Rice's life verse was, " The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way." -- Psalms 37:23 
In addition to his other ministries Brother Rice also wrote articles on church planting for Christian periodicals, conducted radio broadcasts, and he also wrote a book, "The Church Planting Primer." All of his efforts were spent trying to help young men.
I have personally met men that never met Brother Rice but they had found his material and were following it step by step to start a church. He never met all of his disciples, but one day in heaven Grant Rice will meet many people who were saved as a result of his efforts. On October 5, 2007 Grant Rice graduated to Heaven to meet the one whom he served for sixty years.
I pray God raises up another in the fashion of Grant Rice!