Five men, who led home Bible studies, envisioned having a Bible-centered Gospel testimony that would reach unchurched individuals in Neenah. These men, Clyde Smith, Wally Garfield, Ed Nussbecker, Oscar Sindahl and Elbert Shumway, joined with Pastor W.G. Wittenborn to establish a board of directors for a new church on January 23, 1931. The first public service was held on Sunday February 3rd, 1931. The first formal Sunday school class was held on January 10th 1932. On June 30th, 1933 those who were worshipping together voted to organize as a mission church. The goal of this group was to be an independent, non-denominational and Bible-centered church. They selected the name of "Neenah Union Gospel Tabernacle."
Although the focus has not changed, the name of church has changed. In February 1937 the name was changed from Neenah Union Gospel Tabernacle to First Fundamental Church. This was motivated by a desire to more closely associate the church with the Independent Fundamental Churches of America. In November, 1955 the congregation voted to change the name of the church to "Calvary Baptist Church". Calvary Baptist was chosen because the cross of Calvary was preached and the teaching of the New Testament is Baptistic in doctrine. The church remained totally independent and controlled by a local Governing Board. On October 5, 1973 the congregation voted to remove the name "Baptist" and change the church name to "Calvary Bible Church." This was done because people in the community thought we were connected with a denomination.
Music Ministry: 1932 marked the beginning of the music ministry with the formation of a small group to play instruments and the creation of a small choir. This ministry grew and at times has engaged in large productions to share the gospel.
Youth Ministry: In mid-1933 a young people's group was organized. Youth ministry has been a priority ever since.
Missions: From its earliest days, the congregation has had a heart for missions. Several pastors, including Pastors Bliss and Palin made it a focal point for their ministry.
Women's Ministry: In 1935 the women of the church received approval to form a Women's Prayer and Sewing Band. The women met monthly and sewed and rolled bandages for various mission fields and prayed for individual missionaries. Eventually a Women's Bible study was formed. Today the Women's Ministry has a number of initiatives designed to impact the spiritual development of women of all ages and stages.
Children's Ministry: The first Children's Church program began in 1960. The Children's ministry has developed into one of the largest ministries in the church with Sunday school, the mid-week AWANA program, Vacation Bible School, and other initiatives.
School: In 1977 Fox Valley Christian Academy opened its doors beginning with 65 students. Other ministries: Many other ministries have been formed including the Men's Ministry, a Small Group Ministry and initiatives that have focused on mentoring, marriage, discipling, and parenting.
1931-1933: Meetings and worship occurred in homes.
1933–1943: The Norwegian Methodist Church at 304 Caroline Street was rented for $15 per month.
1943–1959: The congregation purchased the NWC building in 1943 for $2000 and expanded it. It was later used for Youth group meetings when the next church was occupied.
1956–1971: In September 1954 the congregation purchased Our Saviors Lutheran Church and parsonage on the corner of Adams and Isabella for $36,000 and moved in 1956.
1966: The congregation approved purchase of land on South Green Bay road in Neenah for future expansion. Ground was broken for the new facility in May 1970.
1971-1989: The congregation moved to the new building in April 1971 and sold its other properties. An auditorium was added to the Green Bay Road property in 1973. In 1976 the decision was made to start a Christian School. The congregation approved the purchase of a building next to the church to house the school and church offices.
1987: The congregation approved purchase of 20 acres of property on Oak Ridge Road.
1989-Present: Between 1989 and 2004 a Christian Education Center, Multipurpose Room, Preschool Center, Campus Center, Worship Center, classrooms and offices were built. The 76,000 square foot structure is located on 33 acres of land. The debt on the land and buildings has been retired.
There have been 10 senior pastors, 9 associate pastors, 4 music directors and 2 Directors of Children's Ministry who have served this church. Senior Pastors who served the church include:
1931-1941: W. G. Wittenborn. He started as part-time, serving churches in Neenah and Oshkosh and in June, 1933 he agreed to become full-time pastor.
1941-1949: Ambrose Bandow. Pastor Bandow had a radio ministry on WHBY, originated the first Daily Vacation Bible School, and initiated a program to send Sunday school children to Crescent Lake Bible Camp.
1949-1951: Morse G. Archer. Pastor Archer served for two years and then became a teacher.
1952-1959: Roland C. Aggers. During his time the library and Christian Service Brigade program for boys were initiated.
1960-1968: Kenneth Bliss. Pastor Bliss formed the first missions committee. Initiatives started during his tenure included the Pioneer Girls program, the Deacon's (AGAPE) Fund and a jail ministry program.
1968-1979: Elden Davis. Pastor Davis emphasized Bible memorization, initiated in-home Bible classes and community Bible Studies. A tape ministry was started during his tenure.
1979-1986: Wesley Phillips. During his tenure, a Bible Quiz Team was established and a handbell choir was formed.
1986-2000: Lenox Palin. During his tenure the church grew significantly resulting in the decision to purchase property and build a new church. In addition to leading the building program, he had a heart for missions, resulting in increased commitment to missions.
2001-2013: Dr. Harry Shields. Pastor Shields strengthened congregant understanding of the scriptures. During his tenure missions continued to be emphasized; children's, youth and adult ministries grew significantly; and outreach to the community improved.
2013-Present: Dr. Danny Leavins. Pastor Leavins joined the church in late 2013. He is a gifted speaker with an emphasis on preaching the Gospel.