The Arab oil embargo of the early seventies led to the discovery of the sand and surf along the Grand Strand to thousands of people who had been making the long drive to Florida. Once the Grand Strand was discovered, a population explosion followed. The sudden population growth along with the social and moral conditions of the seventies led our founding pastor, Dr. Freddie M. Young, to have a real burden to establish a Baptist Church on the Grand Strand.
After having God confirm the direction to establish a church, Pastor Young resigned from the Sweetwater Baptist Branch Church in Conway, in Conway, SC.
Our first services were held on Wednesday night, April 2, 1975, in a rented warehouse, off Highway 501 in the Myrtle Beach Industrial Park. It is really hard to put into words the spiritual experience everyone enjoyed. There was a reality of seeing history in the making, and the belief that God was going to move in a mighty way upon the hearts of people.
Five acres of land was donated by Nick and Lena Mae Lucas, and our men rolled up their sleeves and went to work clearing and preparing the site for our first church building. Eleven months from the original service, the new multi-purpose facility was completed.
The first Sunday in March of 1976, the Grand Strand Baptist Church met at the old location, for the last time, to form a parade route to the new church. It was a great day of celebration!
Before the close of the first year, there were over two hundred professions of faith, three hundred had joined the membership, and fifty four people had been baptized. On the first anniversary of our first meeting, April 4,1976, a world record for Sunday School was set of one meeting, April 4,1976, of one thousand, five hundred fifty nine. The entire community supported our efforts and the record was set. That day we had over a thousand people visit with over six hundred coming on the buses.
The Grand Strand Baptist Church has been, and is, very special to a lot of people because of the experiences of our first year. Those who were a part of the early days of our church can tell you how the Holy Spirit of God came down, filling us with His power. Those were truly days of great blessing.
Today, Myrtle Beach is experiencing a greater population explosion than the one of the seventies. God has placed our church in the heart of the area where there is the greatest projected growth. It is projected that the population surrounding our church will add another ten thousand residents in the next twenty years. The Lord has opened a tremendous door of opportunity for our church to provide ministry in our ever expanding community. It is our desire to be prepared with affective leadership and ministry as we move into the twenty first century.
The future of the Grand Strand Baptist Church is unlimited. If you consider our resources, you will find them to be the same as they were in 1975. First, our God is the same; second, the need for a lighthouse along the Grand Strand is greater; third, God still answers prayers; and fourth, faith still works the same way; all we need to do is believe God for our needs now, as we did then
Grand Strand is looking toward the future with hope and excitement! Grand Strand is in the process of expanding our Family Ministry facilities to include a brand new building, with the newest technology, construction, and a full scale auditorium This building will be for the Children and Youth department's at church, this will be located directly behind the main church building. This will also provide us a direct private exit and entrance from the church to the main highway. Here at Grand Strand we hold true to the fact that children are our future, and we want to give them the best of everything possible, while they attend church and grow to love Jesus.