"For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them." Matthew 18:20
The beginning Years
Okatee Baptist Church started as a mission of Maye River Baptist Church in the spring of 1990. For the first few months, it made its home in the Beaufort Jasper Career Center with Rev. Charles Corrigan as its pastor, along with his wife, Gay. In the summer of the next year, the group moved to the Camp St. Mary’s Low Country Human Development Center, where Rev. Corrigan served until August 1992. Ron Wilson came in October, where he was ordained by Maye River Baptist Church the next month. After Rev. Wilson left in September 1993, the mission experienced a transitional period of rotating pastors and preachers.
Wanting a more permanent home, Maye River Baptist Church approved and voted for the Okatee Mission to purchase 10+ acres on Highway 170 in 1994. At the time, the mission consisted of 25 members. They purchased 5+ acres, and the other 5+ were generously donated by John Trask. The mortgage was paid in full in 1996.
The same year, Rev. Harold Greene and his wife, Frankie, came to serve at the Okatee Mission. That May, Okatee Mission officially became Okatee Baptist Church. Beginning with 38 charter members, the church held a ground-breaking ceremony on the new property on October 20, 1996.
After Rev. Greene's resignation in February 1997 due to health reasons, Rev. Roy Perry came to serve as interim pastor with his wife, Nancy. On May 25, 1997, Rev. Perry accepted the call to become the Bi-Vocational Pastor of Okatee Baptist Church. In September 1997 the metal building was ordered and construction began. On March 22, 1997 the first worship service was held in the new building. In September of 2000, Rev. Roy Perry became the first full-time pastor. Mike Richard and Kevin Crosby were ordained into the Gospel Ministry on February 15, 2004.
Rev. Perry and members of Okatee Baptist Church began to receive God’s vision for the future expansion and growth of the church. Andrews Engineering began to work in 2002 to get permits and start the construction of our new Education Building. A Ground-breaking service was held on November 16, 2003 to begin construction of the new building. The slab was poured on April 29, 2004. The church had decided to pay as they went along and not go into debt.
Rev. Perry announced to the church in January 2005 that he would retire at the end of the year. This allowed the pastor search committee to begin seeking a new pastor for 2006.
Rev. Tim Tomlinson and his wife, Suzanne met with our church in October 2005 and he was called to be our new pastor beginning January 2006. Rev. Perry was given a retirement celebration by the church and preached his last message as our pastor on December 25, 2005. Rev. Tomlinson preached his first message the next Sunday, on January 1, 2006.
On April 2, 2006 the church was led to begin a three-year building fund campaign entitled, Step By Faith. A special offering of $8,953.000 was received on that Sunday with $318,000 pledged over the next three years. A loan was secured and the construction continued at a much greater pace. On November 12, 2006 the church moved into the new education building. In September 2012 the building was completely paid off by the generous giving of the church family.
In August 2012 the church began a ChildCare Ministry for children from birth to five years old. This ministry was begun to help children to learn about God’s love and to help minister and reach young families. The ChildCare Ministry helped the church to begin a summer children’s ministry for school aged children in the summer of 2014.