Convinced in the heart of God and placed as a burden upon the souls of Mark and Brigitte Mills, a new church was started on the Mississippi Gulf Coast in the Spring of 1963. At the time Bro. Mills was stationed at Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi. For a year, he traveled each Sunday with his wife and three small boys to Prichard , Alabama, where they attended church at Wilson Avenue Baptist Church where Bro. Everett Batty was the Pastor. One Sunday, Bro Mills spoke with Pastor Batty about the need for an independent Baptist church in the Biloxi / Gulfport area. Pastor Batty told Bro. Mills, that, “When God gives us a burden for a ministry, He expects us to carry it out.” After much prayer, the direction of God was plain and on the first Sunday of May, 1963 Bro. Mills and his family started the Gulf Coast Baptist Temple of Biloxi. They first met in the Mills home but soon out grew it. Then they purchased their first piece of property on Iberville drive just west of Keesler off of Pass Road. Pastor Mills led the church to purchase two old barrack buildings and relocated them to the property. In January 1967 the name of the church was changed to Bible Baptist Church. One of the early converts of the church was Jim and Mary Garrison who latter became BBF missionaries to Germany where they served for 38 years. Bro. Mills resigned the church in the summer of 1968.
The church called Rev. Bob Coffey from San Antonio to be their pastor in 1968. Under his able leadership the church continued to grow, reaching into the 70’s and 80’s with highs over 100. Rev. Coffey led the church in a renovation of the buildings, including bricking the exterior. Soon thereafter the congregation was faced with a major decision. Due to military transfers the attendance was unstable. Also, if they were to continue to grow, they were going to need more room. Inspired by the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the church set out to relocate to a more stable and larger facility. A search for property began, ultimately leading the congregation about 8 miles northwest where they purchased twenty acres and relocated in the fall of 1971 to our present location. This proved to be a wise decision as the church continued to grow. Under Bro. Coffey both a bus ministry and a Christian school (K-5 – 4th grade) were started. In the summer of 1973, Pastor Coffey led the church to build a new church auditorium which seated 366. He continued as pastor for one more year until resigning in the summer of 1974.
The church then called Rev. Ronald Jenkins as Pastor in August, 1974. Under Reverend Jenkins’ ministry, the school adopted the Accelerated Christian Education (ACE) curriculum, and the grades were immediately enlarged to go through 12th grade. In the summer of 1976, the ground was broken for a new school educational wing, which was attached onto the back of the old auditorium and housed three learning centers, plus the church and school offices. Probably one of his greatest contributions was the establishment of a Faith Promise Missions program, which in only its third year led to a goal of $25,000.00. Bro. Jenkins also led in an expansion of the church’s bus ministry by running seven routes a week, through which many children and adults were brought to Christ. Bro. Jenkins led the church to purchase pews, and the Baby Grand piano, and continued as pastor until the summer of 1977.
On the first Sunday of July 1977, the church called Rick and Shannon Carter to the churches fourth Pastor. One of his first challenges was to strengthen the church financially which led to the churches first stewardship conferences through which a debt retirement and building fund was established and the people responded with great generosity. This allowed the church to pay off its existing debt plus remodel the church auditorium. As with each of the former Pastors, God’s hand was evident and the church continued to grow. Pastor Carter let the church through three building programs. The first was launched in the summer of 1979 which included space for a new church nursery, toddler class, restrooms, missions apartment and new church offices. The church paid cash for the building and furnishings and it was dedicated in 1980. Sensing the need to improve and enlarge the Christian School ministry, Pastor Carter led in the conversion of the school from a ACE to a conventional style. In May 1986 the second building was launched, a two story, 10,000 square feet educational building which was again paid for in cash. Dr. Steve Lawrence was hired in 1987 as the principal and led the school to an enrollment of over 350. In November of 1987 the church broke ground on a third building, a gymnasium, commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and locker rooms. The church paid half of the cost in cash and secured a loan for the remaining balance. Every phase of the ministry continued to grow with attendance reaching over 500 and Faith Promise Missions offering exceeding $250,000. In 1995, Pastor Carter led the church into its first capital fund raising campaign which raise over a half million dollars for future expansion. After 21 years of ministry at Bible Baptist, Dr. Carter’s last Sunday was the first Sunday of June 1998.
June 6, 1998 Bible Baptist Church installed Harold Payne as its fifth pastor. In September Hurricane George battered the church with a tornado and 30″ of rain. The damage to our church facilities was turned into a positive as we remodeled our offices, the Toddler and Nursery rooms were modernized, the maintenance barn was rebuilt, and the exterior upgraded. While this project was going on we remodeled our gymnasium, which included adding air conditioning. The newly remodeled gym was our temporary auditorium for over a year. It was during this time we removed the old auditorium, did a complete drainage system, tripled our parking spaces, refurbished our soccer field, and built our current auditorium. We made improvements to our softball/baseball field and added 2 new playgrounds for our K1-5 children.
On April 2, 2006 Bible Baptist Church called Jim Stady as their new pastor. Pastor Stady helped with the rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina, saw us through the building of our multipurpose building, which was completed in 2008. The brand new 41,000 square foot multi-purpose building is a state of the art facility now houses Christian Collegiate Academy’s daycare, pre-school, kindergarten and entire elementary grades. It also provides a huge new gymnasium, administrativeoffices for Bible Baptist Church and rooms for nurseries and Sunday School classes.Several out-reach ministeries were started, as well as men and womens’ ministries.
After fourteen years Dr. Carter’s first Sunday back as interim Pastor was the first Sunday of June 2012. On July 15, 2012 the church gave Dr. and Mrs. Carter a 100% vote to return as Pastor. They accepted and a new chapter was started. Since that time he has led the congregation in paying off the auditorium, renovating many areas of the facilities as well as over-seeing the construction of a brand new arena in the multi-purpose building. Through all this seeing more souls come to Jesus, baptized and discipled to serve our Lord and Savior. We now look forward to what God has in-store for the future at Bible Baptist Church.