Our Story

The South Carolina Baptist Convention is here because generations of men and women were faithful to the visions God gave them for their community and their state.

Where there is no vision, the people fall away.

Proverbs 29:18

1696

William Screven of Kittery, Maine, uproots his small congregation and moves to South Carolina. They become First Baptist Church of Charleston, the first Baptist church in the South.

1751

Oliver Hart, pastor of First Baptist Church of Charleston, has a vision of churches coming together to bring the Gospel to pioneers and Native Americans. The Charleston Baptist Association, the South's first cooperative association, was born.

1759

Philip Mulkey, a Separate Baptist, moves from North Carolina to South Carolina to start new churches. These "New Lights," as they were called, spread across the Upstate, starting churches in many communities.

1771

Richard Furman joined Oliver Hart in Charleston to petition for religious freedom from the Anglican Church. After the war, Furman's vision for missions and education led to a love for foreign missions and educational opportunities for pastors.

1811

Hepzibah Jenkins Townsend created the first women's missions organization in the South. The Wadmalaw and Edisto Female Mite Society baked bread to raise money for foreign missions already supported by Furman.

1821

Furman's vision for statewide cooperation between churches led to a convention plan, pulling three state associations together. That year, the South Carolina Baptist Convention was organized at First Baptist Church, Columbia. It was the first Baptist convention in the South.

1845

William Bullein Johnson, who was present at SCBC's organization, attended a convention to discuss a cooperative organization of Baptist churches in the South. The vision gained support, and Johnson became the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

1875

A group of women, led, in part, by Martha McIntosh, wanted to organize missionary and mite societies into a statewide women's missions organization. Their efforts launched the Central Committee of the Baptist Woman's Missions Societies (Woman's Missionary Union) at Welsh Neck Baptist Church in Society Hill.

Since these early visionaries, generations of South Carolinians have continued their legacy, bringing Baptists together to create:

  • colleges and universities,
  • retirement centers,
  • a multi-use conference center,
  • a children's home,
  • a foundation,
  • a statewide Baptist newspaper,
  • resort ministries,
  • camps for boys and girls,
  • missions partnerships,
  • and innovative programs and strategies for church growth.

In recent years, as Baptists began focusing on local churches reaching unsaved and unchurched people, the South Carolina Baptist Convention shifted, too.

In 1992, SCBC took landmark steps to re-establish itself as a service organization for its churches, pledging to intentionally serve churches based on their ministries' needs and vision. That commitment remains in place today.