First Baptist Church began in July of 1956 as a mission Sunday School of First Baptist Church of Ridgeland, meeting in the island home of J.N. and Lois Richardson.
At a special service on December 8, 1957, the Baptist Church of Beaufort officially adopted the Hilton Head Mission. The church, known as the Hilton Head Mission Chapel held its services in the building that is currently our Student Center.
In 1961, the church began the process of becoming an independent church and met for a time in the Hilton Head Inn and also in the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank E. Wilson. The new church building was built by members and friends of the church.
The church was constituted on February 18, 1962.
In 1973 it became evident that plans must be made to provide more space for the growing congregation; however, the current property did not provide enough space for growing room. In February, the Sea Pines Company was approached with a proposal and an arrangement was made to exchange the small church on Woodward Avenue for the original Mission Chapel and all the acreage that went with it. This property was located only a short distance away on what is now our current location.
The last service held in the small rustic church was on February 4, 1979. In this special service, the church was deconsecrated. Then the congregation gathered outside taking the pulpit Bible. A group of youth carried it and the building’s cornerstone several hundred yards to the new building’s location. The congregation marched down the road to the new campus and began services in the new sanctuary. It seated 350 with space for a future balcony that would add seating for 100 more.
The need for expansion was felt again, and in 1988, a new education building was built and dedicated, adding much needed classroom spaces.
First Baptist began construction on a Family Life Center in 1999 and held a dedication in 2000. At this time, the church officially acquired 9.5 acres behind the current property for future development.
In June 2006, the church added a “contemporary style” worship service that continues today in the Family Life Center, complementing the traditional style worship service held in the Sanctuary, offering worshipers a choice of worship styles.
Called Pastors of our church have been: Rev. Ernest Banner (1959-1964), Rev. W. T. Reid (1964-1966), Rev. William F. Willingham (interim pastor during 1967), Dr. Wilford Lee (1968 - 1979), Dr. Felix Haynes (1979 - 1994), Dr. John Keller (1994 - Present).
In recent years, the members have strived to follow our purpose statement: To present the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Bible, so that people may come into this fellowship to love Him, to serve Him, and to share Him with all people.
Teaching and preaching the Word of God has always been paramount. Along with worship on Sundays, Sunday School classes are available for every age - babies through senior adults. Throughout the years, Wednesday night activities have included Fellowship Dinners, Adult Bible Studies, GAs, RAs, Mission Friends, Awana, and youth programs for middle and high school students, striving to guide adults and children through the Bible for clear understanding.
Our Music Ministry has always been vibrant with adult, youth, children and preschool choirs, along with handbells, and ensembles and Praise teams. Special seasonal musical presentations have brought the Gospel to life and have been an outreach to the community in addition to the church family.
Our church has always been active with Mission opportunities. Mission trips have been taken in the United States and around the world throughout the years. Missionaries continue to visit our church and offer our congregation a glimpse into how our mission dollars help spread the Gospel.
One of our most popular mission ventures has been to have US2 missionaries on staff and the hosting of college-age summer missionary teams, who ministered through a variety of creative ways, not only in our church, but throughout our island. Our church has led the way with creative mission ideas and we continue to find new innovative ways to spread the Gospel through events like Vacation Bible School, Trunk or Treat, and Cast for Christ.
Our church has now celebrated 50 years of ministry and service to the Lord. We pray that we will be able to continue serving Him through our faithful congregation and beautiful property until He comes again.
First Baptist Church of Hilton Head Island is a growing community of faith that is committed to presenting the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Bible, so that people may come into our fellowship to love Him, to serve Him, and to share Him with all people.
We are glad you have found us and hope that you will take the time to discover the unique opportunities we have available to you here.
9:00 AM - Classic worship in the Sanctuary
10:15 AM - Sunday School
11:15 AM - Modern Worship in the Family Life Center
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