Jeremiah Dargan, a Baptist preacher, visited the present Statesburg section in the mid 1700’s and described it as a “wicked . . . wild place.”
In 1770, citizens of the Statesburg community erected a meeting house 30×24 about 3 miles north of Statesburg. It was intended for the use of all denominations but very soon became a Baptist Church.
On May 16, 1774, Richard Furman was ordained and became pastor in November of High Hills Church of the Santee. He began the first National Baptist body and was instrumental in the beginning of Furman University. High Hills is the “mother” church of First Baptist Church, which was organized in 1813, and the first church in Sumter.
First Baptist Church sponsored Alice Drive Baptist Church as a mission church.
Who was Alice? Alice Harby Shelor, 1883-1916, died at age 33 from tuberculosis. Her father, Henry J. Harby, built a sanitarium in 1916 for all stages of tuberculosis on the corner of Alice Drive and Wise Drive. The hospital had 26 beds and was unique at the time for admitting children and all races. The access road to the hospital off Liberty Street was named “Alice Road,” and the hospital became known as “Camp Alice.” Alice Harby Shelor is buried in the Jewish Cemetery in Sumter.
Click the years below to view more info
ADBC began as a mission church. In November, 34 families organized a group from the Adult Department II of Sumter’s First Baptist Church. They submitted a resolution to the church body to sponsor a new Baptist church in the western section of the city.
In July, interested families formed a steering committee, which made a proposal to First Baptist Church to plant a church in the vicinity of Alice Drive Junior High School. On July 30, 1956, First Baptist Church approved the resolution. The families continued to meet in the cafeteria of Alice Drive Junior High School.
At 3:00 p.m. on October 21, 1956, Alice Drive Baptist Church was officially organized during a service at the cafeteria. Church enrollment at that time was 107; however, members that enrolled through March 1957 were accepted as Charter Members for a total of 130. Regular services were conducted by visiting preachers. By November 15, Sunday School enrollment was over 200 members. Dr. W.R. McLin, pastor of First Baptist Church of Sumter, preached the first sermon entitled “Upon This Rock,” which is why we have the Big Rock in front of the church!
The Church extended a call to Reverend Francis M. Batson, then pastor of the Kellytown and McBee Baptist Churches. He held his first service on February 17th.
In an effort to remain as close as possible to Alice Drive, members decided to purchase land on Miller Road, about three hundred yards east of Alice Drive. The church purchased the four acres of land on Miller Road for $6,000 to build a “meeting place and center of activities for Alice Drive Baptist Church.”
Because church members had been meeting in the Alice Drive Junior High School, they opted to keep the name Alice Drive even though the church building itself was never located on Alice Drive.
The first of February saw the completion and dedication of the first building. Many classes continued to use the junior high until educational space could be added.
On October 14th, the second unit was completed, and it included additional classrooms.
Reverend Francis Batson resigned, and Reverend J. Kirk Lawton was called as pastor.
The third unit was built at a cost of $162,425 and dedicated on the 23rd of November, which included the fellowship hall, office, and music room.
1972 - 1999
Reverend J. Kirk Lawton resigned.
Dr. Ranford A. Haselden began his ministry as pastor in July.
Sanctuary expanded into the old fellowship hall.
Unit III mortgage burning ceremony was held on July 4th.
An open door policy was adopted allowing all people, regardless of race, to be welcomed.
Dr. Haselden resigned as pastor.
Reverend Norman Gardner was called as our fourth pastor on April 12th. Reverend Keith McManus joined the church staff as Minister of Education on October 27th. McManus Hall, on the Loring Mill Campus, is named for him.
Alice Drive Baptist Church began the first Singles’ ministry in Sumter.
Reverend Norman Gardner resigned. Hurricane Hugo slammed into South Carolina, destroying 200 homes and 1,000 mobile homes in Sumter County. Alice Drive Baptist Church worked with the Red Cross to help in disaster relief.
Dr. Hubert H. Welch was called as the fifth pastor on June 1st.
Alice Drive began its second Sunday morning worship service on September 13th.
The Jail Ministry was started. On May 2, the Korean Han Sam Evangelical Church began worship service in the church.
After Dr. Welch had resigned, Dr. W. Clay Smith was called as pastor and began on June 5th. Clay came from Southside Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky.
Alice Drive Baptist Church began holding its PowerLunch meetings. Reverend Keith McManus, Associate Pastor, retired in June. The Fellowship Hall was named McManus Hall in Keith’s honor. Space study at Alice Drive Baptist Church began.The first Christmas drama, “Time for Christmas,” was held under the direction of Reverend Joe Buckner. This would evolve into “A Sumter Christmas.”
The church voted to relocate due to growth. The church purchased 65 acres at the corner of Wise Drive and Loring Mill Road for $420,000.00.
In January, the worship services were moved to Nettles Auditorium at USC Sumter; classrooms at the campus were used for Sunday School. A portable classroom building was purchased for the Youth. It became known as “The Big Ugly.” On the 43rd anniversary in October, the ground breaking ceremonies were held at the new location on Loring Mill Road.
2000 - 2023
The church campus on Miller Road was sold to USC Sumter for $1.4 million.
In February, the last service was held in the old building. On May 13th, the church moved to the new location with 565 attending the 8:30 a.m. service and 661 attending the 11:00 a.m. service.
In March, Kingdom Kids’ weekday preschool program began.
The continued growth at Alice Drive Baptist Church led to the three morning services now held at 8:30 a.m., 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. with two Bible Community Group sessions at 9:45 a.m. and 11:00 a.m.
Alice Drive Baptist Church celebrated its 50th anniversary. Average worship attendance was 1019. Average Bible Community attendance was 669.
Additional parking was added and construction was completed for the porte cochere (covered side drop-off), in honor of Sallie Whitas. Operation Inasmuch began on April 4, 2009.
Scott and Tonya Shipes were commissioned as missionaries to Botswana, Africa, completing their three year assignment in 2013.
The new Administration Building was occupied. Old offices in the main building were renovated for preschool space. Relocation of Ring Road was completed, and additional parking was added.
- The Venue was completed giving the Student Ministry much needed classroom space.
- Bible Community Groups became LIFE Groups.
- First Mission Trips to Honduras and New York City.
- As Many as Possible projects proposed.
Monday night worship, the first in South Carolina, began September 9, making this a fourth worship service for ADBC.
- Ninety people volunteer to go and launch the Pocalla Campus of ADBC. The Campus launches on Super Bowl Sunday, February 5th. Jock Hendricks is the first Campus Pastor. The campus first meets at Pocalla Springs Elementary School.
- The ADBC Endowment begins, with significant lead gifts from The Next Steps Group, a group of ADBC members who invest in the future of ADBC.
- ADBC joins the Columbia Metro Association as an Associate Member, while maintaining primary relationship with Santee Baptist Association.
- On June 1st, Lead Pastor Clay Smith celebrated his 25th anniversary as Pastor.
- After receiving a lead gift of $100,000, the church is challenged to pay its remaining debt on the Loring Mill Building. The church exceeds the goal by $100,000! These excess funds are set aside for providing a permanent home for the Pocalla Campus.
- After working for a year to lease space in the Pocalla Crossing Shopping Center for the Pocalla Campus, the Dunlap Family donates a 7.7 acre tract located on Highway 15S for a permanent home for the Pocalla Campus.
- The church invests in significant technological upgrades for an Online Campus. A part-time Online Campus Pastor is hired.
- The Corona Virus Pandemic shuts down in person worship for 12 weeks. Because of Online Campus investments, ADBC is able to provide live broadcasts of messages during this period.
- In-person worship resumes on May 31, but attendance is about 30% of normal. Due to restrictions by the Sumter School District, Pocalla Campus must move to Skate Station.
- ADBC helps organize white and African American pastors to stand for justice in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. This organization becomes known as “Sumter Together.” A joint Pastor/Police March for Racial Justice, the only one of its kind in the US, is held in June 2020. It is the only joint Police and Pastor March in the country, and the first integrated march for racial justice in Sumter’s history.
- Planning begins for the new Pocalla Building.
- The groundbreaking for the new Pocalla Building was held in November
- One Fund The church seeks to raise $5.5 million in one year. As an act of faith, the church promises to give away 10% of what is received to mission causes. This will result in funding the completion of a homeless shelter for Sumter United Ministries, a home for Habitat for Humanity, and provide $2.1 million for the Pocalla Campus. $4.9 million is given, allowing the mission gifts to be given and the Construction of the Pocalla Campus to proceed.
- Pocalla Campus moves to Lakewood High School for worship.
- Palmetto Lead forms, providing a monthly leadership lunch, sponsoring the Global Leadership Summit, and providing leadership for Leadership Sumter through the Sumter Chamber of Commerce.
- Sam Smithson is hired as the Bishopville Campus Minister, in preparation for launching a campus in Lee County.
- Bishopville Campus launches in October
- In January, construction began on the future home of Pocalla Campus on 65 Masters Drive
- In December, the first worship service was held in the new building on 65 Masters Drive with a soft launch, Pocalla Campus officially calls this its new home.
- In February, the campus announces it’s officially open, and has Grand Opening Services and a Dedication Ceremony for the new building,