PARTNERING: Citadel Square Baptist Church - Downtown Charleston

Citadel Square Baptist Church was founded in 1854 after a revival at nearby FBC Charleston. Over 150 years later, God is still using this church for Kingdom work in the city. At the time the video below was filmed, this historic church building housed four congregations: Citadel Square, Centerpoint Church (a church plant), the Chinese Christian Church of Greater Charleston, and Beit Midrash (a Messianic Jewish community).

Since then, Centerpoint Church has officially united with Citadel Square, becoming one new family. But the mission is still the same - to impact Charleston for Christ by partnering together to share space and resources for the Kingdom. Check out the story of Citadel Square below:

REPLANT: Holy City Church on James Island

Harbor Light Baptist Church

Jerry had been retired for more than a decade when he received a phone call from a dying church. This was the third time God had led him to serve on James Island. He had developed a process for revitalization during his time as the director of a local association and was now being asked to return as a consultant. The church had formed out of a split and now found itself in survival mode. Harbor Light Baptist Church was in decline and looked to Jerry for a pathway forward. 

When Jerry served with the State Convention he was responsible for helping 350 dying congregations. All the patterns he had observed over the years were true of this suburban church on James Island. The congregation was faced with the possibility of closing their doors. Jerry arrived thinking he would serve as a consultant, however, he ended up staying as the interim pastor for almost six months. From the beginning, it was clear Jerry’s purpose in returning to James Island was to help revitalize this church.

On his first Sunday at Harbor Light there were twelve people in the pews. Jerry recognized the church needed to change, and he prepared the people for what could potentially lie ahead. After a meeting with the regional catalyst, the two men proposed an option for moving forward. If the church were to have a future, it would require merging with a church plant team.

Holy City Church

Brian was pastoring in Louisville, Kentucky when he sensed God calling him to plant a church. He had heard stories from a friend of how the Lord was advancing his Church in Charleston and began praying for direction. While finishing his doctorate at Southern Seminary, he became certain that this was the next step for him and his family. The elders of his church affirmed his call and sent Brian’s family out to plant.  

Two other pastors and their families joined him, and together they began forming the core group of Holy City Church. The team prayed about where God would have them in the city and sought the counsel of the regional catalyst. After hearing the story of Harbor Light, it became clear that the opportunity to connect with the dying church on James Island was the pathway forward. 

The congregation at Harbor Light Baptist Church voted to merge with Holy City Church, giving leadership to the team of three pastors. What was previously a church of twenty senior adults had become a church of forty-five adults and children. The church plant adopted the dying church into their mission and began loving and shepherding its remaining members as a part of that. 

As weeks passed after the merge, Jesus was consistently preached from the pulpit. A growth in unity was experienced by the congregation as they were called to repent and believe that the gospel was good news. The pathway forward for the church would be to continue proclaiming this truth to its people.

REPLANT: The Church at Sewee Bay in Awendaw

First Baptist Church of Awendaw

When Mike first visited First Baptist Church of Awendaw, he didn’t plan to become the interim pastor. He was the bookkeeper for the local Association and offered to help with the teaching while the church conducted a search for a new pastor. When the church council asked him to consider serving there bi-vocationally, Mike knew it would be a challenge leading the rural church forward.

Over the years FBC Awendaw had earned a reputation that prevented the church from being a gospel witness in the small community of 1,500 people outside Charleston. Personalities dominated the church’s fifty-year history from both the pulpit and the pews. When Mike accepted the position as interim pastor, he knew that the church was dying. Attendance had averaged between sixteen and twenty when he first became a member. As he looked around the room four years later, the pastor saw eight seats filled for a Sunday service. If anything happened to those remaining members, FBC Awendaw would die.

In that last year, the health of the congregation and the condition of the building demanded more and more of his time. What was on paper a part-time position had now turned into a full-time effort to keep the church alive. Mike reached out for help. He met with Craig, the State Convention’s regional catalyst, to discuss options for the church moving forward. Soon afterward the two were at a table with three pastors from Mt. Pleasant — all men who had served in the church that planted FBC Awendaw two generations earlier.

The outcome of the meeting was a decision that would likely be met with opposition from the congregation: FBC Awendaw needed to close its doors and start over. Each of the men agreed that giving the building to a church plant was the pathway forward.

The Church at Sewee Bay

Shortly after the decision to close the doors to FBC Awendaw, Mike presented the proposal to the church. The congregation voted to officially disband, turning over all of its assets with the agreement that it be used to plant a new work. FBC Mt. Pleasant now held the keys and deed to the church they had sponsored to plant fifty years earlier. 

In order to plant a church in that space, FBC Mt. Pleasant would need to invest $90,000 of its missions fund towards renovating the building. The construction would be overseen by the church’s new pastor, Chris. He had been called, mentored, and trained by the pastor of FBC Mt. Pleasant while in seminary. Now surrounded by a core group of families from one of the church’s previous plants, the pathway forward in that community was the Church at Sewee Bay. 

The church relaunched on Palm Sunday with the help of a team of coaches. From the beginning, Sewee Bay existed to reach those in the rural community around them. That Fourth of July the church partnered with an African American congregation to host a party open to the town. More than 500 people set foot on the church’s property and learned that the Church at Sewee Bay was a place for the community. Later that summer eight new believers were baptized. By planting a new church God’s glory was seen in that town once more.