In the year 1872, John Thomason, an ex-slave, furnished the lumber to build the first church and helped lay the foundation located in the Hillside Community in what is now Fountain Inn, SC under a spacious Oak shade tree. As a result, the church was named “Shady Oak.” Rev. William Morgan became the first Pastor and Bro. John Austin as the first Deacon.
In 1890, a new and larger church was erected a short distance from the original and was dedicated with John Austin, John Thomason, B. Terry, Anderson Epps, Dozier Dial, Ed Fowler, and Dock Thompson, as the “Deacon Board.”
In 1907 land was purchased for the price of twenty-four (24) dollars which was located at McKittrick Bridge Road in the Hillside section of the Fairview Township of Greenville County.During the tenure of Dr. Alexander B. Brockman, the members began relocating to South Greenville to be closer to their jobs. Many of the church’s families had moved away from the more rural Fountain Inn area, which affected the potential growth of the church.
Deacon Anderson D. Durant dreamed of moving Shady Oak to a more populated area and found land on White Horse Road owned by Mr. John T. Harris. The church purchased it on July 12, 1968 for two thousand (2,000) dollars. Many church members did not want to move which started a great conflict that eventually ended in court. Those members who wanted to move were granted the right to move to the White Horse Road property and would be called “Shady Oak Baptist Church,” while the members that did not want to move were allowed to establish in the Simpsonville area and be known as the “Old Shady Oak Baptist Church”. In 1970, under the leadership of Dr. A. B. Brockman, Shady Oak constructed a new church on the White Horse Road property in Greenville. The church was completed and dedicated in 1971. Initially, worship services were held on third Sundays and eventually First Sunday was added. Membership size and growth occurred so worship services were held each Sunday thereafter.
Under the leadership of Rev. Frank Foggie, the eleventh Pastor, the church purchased a building that had once been a furniture store on the adjacent property to it. The building became the A.D. Durant Family Life Center. In February 1976, Shady Oak Baptist Church obtained incorporation to operate the Shady Oak Baptist Church Child Care Center. Deacon A.D. Durant and Deacon Robert Fowler served as the managers of the daycare. Under Rev. Foggie’s leadership the church obtained its incorporation on January 16, 1986.
In 1997, Rev. Ronald D. Barton led the church in renovating the Family Life Center into the Worship Center and on Easter of the same year, the first worship service was held in the building. One Sunday Rev. Barton led the congregation to walk across White Horse Road on 11.6 acres of land based upon (Joshua 1:3). On February 24, 1999, Shady Oak purchased that land. In 2003, the congregation built and occupied its present worship facility, which has a capacity of 1,400 people. The Shady Oak Empowerment Center was opened in 2007 and contains a computer lab which is also available to the community.
On October 19, 2014 Shady Oak Baptist Church welcomed a New Shepherd, Senior Pastor, Rev. Douglas Simmons. Our history has shown what God has brought us through but most of all where God has brought us to. In His service we work. In His calling we minister. In His love we reach mankind. We are striving to reach a higher level of commitment through Worship, Stewardship, Discipleship, and Leadership. We want to hold true to being ... “A Church Committed to the Kingdom”