A Brief History of Oak Grove Baptist Church
In 1896, a group from Bainbridge Street Baptist Church organized an afternoon Mission Sunday School with an enrollment of 37 members. Just eleven months later that attendance had blossomed to 115 participants and on September 12, 1897 the Oak Grove Mission, then a morning school, was organized and located at Twentieth and Maury Streets in Richmond. Reverend John A. Sullivan was asked to serve as Oak Grove's first pastor.
Soon after our church was organized, buildings and expansions were undertaken to accommodate a growing membership. By April of 1946, the property had long been purchased, dedicated, and the mortgage note burned for the facility built at the corner of 22nd Street and Fairfax Avenue.
The church would go on to help fund and aid in the planting of Hillside Baptist Center Chapel in the mid-1950s but expanded yet again in 1959 with a much-needed educational wing of their own. In February of 1965, Oak Grove Baptist Church was once again debt-free and celebrated with yet another note-burning service. But change was on the horizon!
While many of Oak Grove's members were relocating to the more suburban county, Oak Grove Baptist Church soon pioneered what would later become known as a satellite concept of church ministry with the expressed purpose of facilitating worship for all people regardless of color or social class. The inner-city location on Fairfax Avenue would be maintained while a separate church plant began to meet at Beulah Elementary School in 1971. Rev. Charles W. Gibson would pastor both locations leading early Sunday morning worship services on Beulah Road followed by the eleven o'clock worship hour at Fairfax Avenue.
Following a successful bond campaign to finance a parcel of land purchased from Branch's Baptist Church in 1969 as well as a subsequent building project at 3801 Beulah Road in North Chesterfield, by October 1973 Oak Grove Baptist was one church in two locations - a remarkable and innovative step of faith indeed! However, with such expanded ministries to education, children, and senior citizens, challenges also abounded. As more and more members moved out of the inner-city, ministering in two locations and maintaining church unity, proved to be a hurdle too great. It was decided that the church would reunite at the Beulah Road location and leave the Fairfax Avenue church to another sister church with a heart for inner-city work.
Throughout the 1980s, Oak Grove Baptist Church experienced tremendous growth and the joy of witnessing many lives transformed by the Gospel and subsequent baptisms. To the honor of God's glory, the Holy Spirit continued to move mightily through the humble efforts of OGBC's pastors and members. During these years, dual worship services were implemented, land and homes were purchased to provide educational space and room for future building expansion. Additional staff positions were created to provide focused ministry in the areas of education, discipleship of youth and children, and, of course, music. Throughout its history, Oak Grove was has always been honored by the endearing and talented service of volunteers but it has also been blessed by a myriad of paid staff, pastors and associates. Thankfully, this blessing continues today!
Soon, Oak Grove Baptist Church will be celebrating yet another milestone in the history of God's faithfulness towards us: 125 years of serving and worshiping Him together! Ours has been a legacy of prayerfulness, missional evangelism, church-planting, building, raising up and send out pastors from within our own ranks, and ministering to the community around us. May we carry that same legacy forward into the future ever-mindful of the needs around us for the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ! Our sincere hope is that those who will record the history of what we have yet to accomplish for Him would declare OGBC a recipient of God's favor and peace and diligently seeking to fulfill her mission to GLORIFYING GOD, LOVING ONE ANOTHER, SERVING OUR WORLD, and MAKING DISCIPLES.