Red Path Baptist Reaching Catawba Indian Nation
Red Path Baptist Fellowship aims to reach the Catawba Indian Nation located near Rock Hill, South Carolina.
Of the 574 federally recognized tribes in the United States, the Catawba Indian Nation is the only one located in South Carolina. There are currently over 3,300 enrolled members of the Nation, and Red Path Baptist Fellowship is the only evangelical Baptist church ministering to the Catawba.
Partnering with World Changers
After York Baptist Association worked hard to reach the Nation but ran into numerous difficulties, they approached the tribe about having a group from World Changers, in partnership with the North American Mission Board and LifeWay, come for a construction project that would help serve on the reservation.
“God really used that experience to plan and prepare for World Changers to build a bridge for us,” Mike Wallace, Associational Mission Strategist at York Baptist Association, said. This began a partnership now spanning over two decades of World Changers creating inroads for the Gospel through building projects.
Planting Red Path Baptist
After meeting with the Catawba Chief, the group was allowed to begin meeting for Bible studies on the edge of the reservation, and as the group grew, they began meeting in garages or homes nearby.
“Catawba Baptist Church sensed that God was calling us to advance his Kingdom by planting a church on the reservation,” Tommy Huddleston, former pastor of Catawba Baptist Church, said. In partnership with the York Baptist Association, Catawba Baptist sent out David and Carla Sturgis, along with a few other members, to plant Red Path Baptist.
Reaching the Catawba
Shortly after, Eddie Williams was called to pastor Red Path Baptist. “I grew up here and know the culture and the need for Christ on the reservation,” Williams said. “I have a vision and a hope and a drive to reach Native Americans.”
The church was officially planted in 2002. Since its inception, the church has seen many Natives and non-Natives come to faith in Christ. “I thank the Lord for those who have come on board, and we work arm in arm with them in ministry,” Williams said. The church acknowledges and celebrates Native heritage, incorporating Native songs and instruments into its services.
Ministry Outreach and Future Goals
The church is currently raising funding to build a Ministry Center, a building they hope will help them better serve their local community and the Catawba. Funding for the building is provided in part by a grant awarded by the South Carolina Baptist Foundation. In addition to hosting community outreaches, the space will hold children’s church classes. They also began a bus ministry to pick up residents from the reservation and provide transportation to and from the church.
Moving forward, Williams hopes to continue reaching the Catawba with the Gospel. “I’d like to see us reach more young folks for Christ,” Williams said. Pray that the church would continue to reach the Catawba Indian Nation with the Gospel, that they would find individuals to lead them in music during services, and for more teachers to bring the Gospel to the Catawba.
Reaching Every Life
Tony Wolfe, Executive Director-Treasurer for South Carolina Baptists, remarked, “It warms my heart to report that SCBaptists are devoted to both honoring the diverse cultures within our state and reaching every image bearer of God with the Gospel. We say, ‘each church, every life,’ and we truly mean that.”