Shannon Baptist Church – Established 1962
Celebrating God’s Grace in the History of Our Church
On January 9, 1962 five families met to consider the possibility of establishing a new church.
“It is our goal and purpose to have a church established according to God’s will where believers and non-believer can come unashamedly and without fear of man’s criticisms and animosities to hear and learn of God’s Word and to be led to the throne of Grace. We pray that God will bless our efforts and may we be wholly in His will.”
After meeting for several months in preparation, the founding member met on May 3, 1962 for the purpose of making official the organization of Berean Baptist Chapel.
Charter Members: Walt and Fran Ditsworth, Rev. Lyndon and Nancy Hebner, Sam and Mabel Korf, Ed and Ione Ostergard, Bill and Jan Stees
The First Meeting Place
After meeting in the Sam Korf home for nine months we were finally led by the Lord to a place of our own. That place was the vacant apartment above the Post Office in Shannon. Several of the members spent many nights working long hours to redecorate the building… wholly in His will.
A Vision for Missions
August 6, 1964 – “Walt Ditsworth stated that he was bothered by our not using the church money to further the gospel. A discussion period followed. Bill Stees moved that we set 10 percent of the offerings aside for a mission fund. Ione Ostergard seconded the motion and it was accepted by the church.” The mission’s ministry since then has grown consistently to an annual budget of more than $25,000.
The First Church Building
In December 1965 Pastor Melvin Seger came on faith as full time pastor. Because of the growth during those years, the basement of the Post Office was also used for some time. In May 1966 the church purchased the present church property for $2700. On Resurrection Sunday, 1968 the building construction began at the corner of Badger and Broad Street. The church family worked hard in the following years to develop the church facility.
On March 19, 1970 the church called Tom Bratton as pastor. He served until 1972. Steve Lewis came as pastor in April 1972. Steve Lewis lovingly drew the church together during his two-year pastorate.
In April, 1974 Pastor David Stertzback came. God used his ministry in a great way. In September 1977 the church stepped out into and aggressive $200,000 building project which included much needed Sunday School classrooms, offices, bathrooms and air conditioning.
In August 1982 the name of the church was changed to Shannon Baptist Church.
Pastor Stertzbach served as pastor for 14 years with strong leadership, and effective youth ministry, a unique V.B.S. outreach, and an aggressive bus ministry. The church grew consistently to a Sunday morning attendance averaging 170 to 180.
In 1988 Pastor Jim Welch came to serve as pastor. He did a great job, warming to the entire community. Eighteen months later, he felt called to take another pastorate in New Mexico of a church that earnestly desired his ministry.
In 1990 the church called Pastor David Wood. Pastor Wood married a young lady who had grown up in the church, Lori Stees. The Lord has blessed abundantly. In the 1990’s the church continued to grow; many facility improvements were made; and new ministries were established.
During that time the Lord called one of the young men in the church to preach, Kregg Farmer. Kregg served as a part-time youth pastor for a number of years. In 1996 Shannon Baptist Church called Pastor Kregg to serve as a full-time youth pastor.
In November of 1996 the Lord moved in an unusual way to encourage another Baptist church in the area and to reestablish a fundamental work in Milledgeville, Illinois. After much soul searching and seeking of the Lord’s will, both Pastor Wood and Pastor Farmer felt that God was calling Pastor Farmer to pastor at Community Baptist Church in Milledgeville. Several families from Shannon Baptist joined him in that work, and the church there is now thriving. To God be the glory.
Pastor Tim Lehman came to Shannon in May 1997 to serve as the full time assistant pastor concentrating in youth ministries. Also, in September of 1997 the Lord led the leadership of the church to establish an Awana ministry for children. Both the youth ministry and the Awana ministries continue to be used of God in a great way.
After more than 15 years of faithful service in Shannon, Pastor Wood and his family answered the call to a church in Atlanta, GA in the summer of 2006.
After serving effectively for nearly ten years in the youth ministry at Shannon Baptist, Pastor Tim Lehman answered the call to become the senior pastor of Shannon Baptist Church.
The church continues to grow by God’s grace. We pray continually that as He has shown Himself abundantly faithful to Shannon Baptist Church in the past, so may we remain faithful to Him and His church in the future.