A History of Sonshine Baptist Church
Sonshine Baptist Church was started as a mission project out of Faith Baptist Church in Sarasota, Florida. Pastor Dennis P. Dickson started with Wednesday night Bible studies out of his home in Port Charlotte and then began having Sunday services at the Library of Port Charlotte High School.
The church had its organizational service on October 28, 1984. Property was then purchased on Veterans Blvd. (formerly Hillsborough Blvd). Ground breaking for the 10,000 square foot building was February 8, 1986. The dedication service for this new auditorium building was on September 28, 1986.
Originally there was a pole barn on the property. In 1990 the pole barn was enclosed and became a Fellowship Hall/Youth building and was dedicated to Robert and Betty Bacon. Between 2001-2004, there were also 3 modular buildings that were brought in for additional classroom and office space.
When Hurricane Charley hit in August 2004, all of these buildings suffered severe damage and had to be torn down. Major renovation was able to be made on the building housing the offices and on the auditorium. In 2009 the Fellowship Hall was rebuilt with a modern kitchen and classroom space.
Pastor Dickson left Sonshine in October 1994. Randall D. Strain, who was the Assistant Pastor, became the pastor at that time. He was Pastor until January of 1996.
On Easter Sunday in April 1996, William K. Bales became the pastor of Sonshine. He came from Gainesville, Florida, having been a church planter and pastor in the State of Florida since 1974.
Every summer since 1997 Sonshine has had a ministry of training young men and women through our Summer Intern Program. These men and women are Bible College students training for full-time ministry. The Intern Program is geared to help them learn all the different aspects of ministry.
In August 2006, Benjamin W. Jennings came to Sonshine as Associate Pastor. Before coming as a permanent member of the church staff, he had worked two summers as an intern while finishing his master’s degree at Baptist Bible College.
In June 2010 Corey H. Kershner came to Sonshine as our first Missionary Intern preparing to go out from our church to the mission field. Before becoming part of the church staff, he had also worked at Sonshine as a Summer Intern.