From time to time, you hear about new churches starting as a result of a church splitting over some disagreement...but how often do you hear about two churches with different cultures, different age groups, and different personalities, joining together to start a new church? Welcome to Oak Meadow Baptist Church!
South First Baptist Church, established in 1965, had endured many struggles and found itself with a small, but committed number of members in 2000. Although the six-acre property and facilities had been paid in full, the church felt that it was being underutilized.
Genesis Baptist Church was a young church started in 1997 by Pastor Gilbert Chavez. His vision was to have a ministry that targeted English-speaking Hispanics. The church met in homes at the beginning, but then moved into the fellowship hall at Congress Avenue Baptist Church, followed by Bedichek Middle School's cafeteria and a rented space north of Oltorf and South First in 2000. Genesis was in great need of a permanent home to call its own, and God inspired South First Baptist to approach Genesis about merging. By God’s providence and grace, these two churches separated by culture and age came together January 2001 with a common purpose: To reach South Austin for Jesus. We decided a new name was needed to demonstrate that we were all joining together in God’s plan. As a result, we named our new church, “Oak Meadow Baptist Church.”
On November 2, 2007, with the real estate market still robust, there was a rare opportunity to sell the church property to a developer in the area and relocate with growth in mind. After much prayer and discussion, Oak Meadow decided to move forward in the sale of the property. Almost a year later on Sept. 25, 2008, the property sold and the search for a new location for Oak Meadow Baptist Church began. A few months later, after the real estate market crash, we found a vacant Chrysler dealership that was on the market. It was more than anyone at Oak Meadow had dreamed possible. Our realtor was amazed as well and said “I definitely saw the Lord’s hand at work in the timing of everything for this church. The church contracted and sold in the highest part of the market and bought after all the financial trouble hit, saving them millions.” On Feb. 4, 2009, Oak Meadow entered into a contract with the Chrysler dealership, and after bankruptcy courts and other hurdles, we were finally able to purchase the dealership on June 25, 2009. God blessed us to be able to purchase this seven-acre property on I-35 with three existing buildings, a retention pond and all the parking we could want.
As we started to canvass our new neighborhood, we soon realized that nearly every other house had Spanish-speaking residents. We knew that something needed to be done about this so we could reach as many people as possible for Jesus Christ.
That’s when Oak Meadow decided to hire a Mario Moreno, who had previously been the pastor of Iglesia Bautista Fuente de Vida in Brenham. Our Spanish services launched soon after on January 24, 2010. Later that year, Oak Meadow had its first service in the remodeled building on October 31, 2010.
In May 2013, Pastor Gilbert Chavez felt a call on his life to move on to serve with our Southern Baptist of Texas Convention, resigning his position as Senior Pastor of Oak Meadow. The church celebrated the legacy that Pastor Gilbert built at Oak Meadow and sent him off with much prayer to his new ministry. In August 2013, Oak Meadow called Pastor Mario Moreno as our new Senior Pastor.
Oak Meadow looks forward to the start of this new chapter and the ministry opportunities ahead. As you can see, God has blessed Oak Meadow and has shown His love and mercy toward us. So no matter your background, culture, language or age, we know you will feel at home at Oak Meadow, we invite you to join us!