Suncoast Baptist Church is a Bible-believing, non-affiliated, historical baptist church. We are a God-centered, family-oriented church characterized by sound doctrinal preaching and warm Christian fellowship with one primary goal: magnifying Jesus Christ. We are a church with a passion for reaching people with the gospel through local evangelism and world-wide missions.
Our church was originally founded in May of 2001 in Parrish, Florida. Less than a dozen people attended the first service. Within months, the storefront facility was packed and more space was needed. A local businessman who had purchased property which included an abandoned church offered its use.
By 2005, the small church building was filled, averaging 75 with big days of 100-150. Many families had been added to the church. Once again, we desperately needed more space.
Tenth Street Baptist Church (a Southern Baptist Church located in Palmetto) had large facilities, but their membership had dwindled to less than 50 people, mostly retirees. The pastor was aware of Brother Tillis and Grace Baptist Fellowship and proposed a merger of the two churches. The church invited Brother Tillis to preach and the deacons and membership voted to unite as one new church… Suncoast Baptist Church.
Our first order of business was paying down the debt incurred by Tenth Street in the building of their gymnasium. This was accomplished in three years.
Then, with the cooperation of the deacons and membership, Pastor Tillis led the church out of the Southern Baptist Convention.
Suncoast has a small number of missionaries that we support in a big way. We believe the people should know their missionaries personally in order to give to and pray for them in a more personal, heartfelt way. In many cases, Suncoast Baptist Church provides more than half of what our missionaries need in order to sustain their work. Suncoast Baptist Church has provided funding for missionary buildings, homes, and transportation. Many of our men have personally visited and taken part in ministries in Florida, Honduras, Haiti, and Belize. From 2009 to 2020, Pastor Tillis served on the board of Hope Children’s Home in Tampa, Florida… one of our missions at that time.
In 2005, Mrs. Christi Tillis was diagnosed with breast cancer. After two years of prayer and treatment, she emerged cancer-free, determined to use her experience to help others affected by the disease. Mrs. Tillis assembled a practical cancer organizer, wrote a gospel tract for cancer patients, and began speaking and providing individual counsel and encouragement for people diagnosed with cancer. This ministry, Big C Cancer Care, is supported by a few local churches and individuals and is still in effect today.
In 2007, Suncoast Baptist Academy was founded and continued until 2018. Over 30 students attended the private Christian school/homeschool cooperative program.
For many years, Suncoast Baptist Church worked together to provide an annual Living Nativity as a means to reach the lost and establish Jesus Christ as the real reason for the Christmas Season. At these events, more than ten thousand people listened to the gospel message that was preached. In 2020, this event was stopped due to Covid.
In place of the Living Nativity, My Christmas Radio was created. This online radio station, accessed through a free app, features traditional Christmas music and short testimonies from SBC members and ministry friends. Through My Christmas Radio, the salvation experiences of our members have reached more than 23,000 listeners in 73 countries. This ministry has and will continue to grow annually as more members record their testimonies. You can experience the ministry yourself by visiting mychristmasradio.org.
Pastor Tillis created the Soul Trap in 2016. It began as a small, hobby podcast that provided a Biblical interpretation of paranormal and cultural phenomenon. Today, the Soul Trap has over two thousand subscribers and the team is invited to speak or participate in numerous events throughout the year which allows for unique ways to reach people with the gospel.
In 2014, Pastor Tillis took a more biblical approach to the way Suncoast Baptist Church performed evangelism. Convinced that sowing the gospel seed was the work of ALL disciples, not just a select few, Pastor Tillis began preaching and instituting a church-wide program that allows the church to participate in corporate evangelism. On the first Sunday of every month, hundreds of members assemble with the goal of sowing the gospel seed. Some pair up and go door to door, some drive groups through neighborhoods, some drop gospel tracts on doorsteps, some address postcards, some pray, and even the older children and youth are involved… but everybody does something!
Suncoast’s evangelism program is so innovative that many pastors have traveled to Florida to attend training sessions and experience church-wide evangelism nights for themselves, traveling home and instituting similar programs at their own churches.
In 2021, Pastor Tillis, the deacons, and the men of Suncoast Baptist Church decided to keep the doors open during the Covid 19 pandemic. When Manatee County listed churches as “non-essential” and began telling churches how they could or could not operate, Pastor Tillis filed a personal lawsuit against the County. Many of our men spoke at the County Commission meeting and the county decided to amend their mandates, so the lawsuit was dropped.
Our facilities have been remodeled and reconstructed to provide accommodations for growing church, school, and nursery expansion needs. We are currently in the process of remodeling our sanctuary to provided more seating the congregation. We are currently using an overflow rooms to accommodate crowds on holidays and big days.
Our motto from the very start has been:
Glorify Christ Jesus
Feed the Sheep
Reach the Lost
The power is in simplicity and trust in the Spirit of God. Suncoast Baptist Church and the ministry of Pastor Tillis is based on the Biblical conviction that the way forward is the way back; we are a church striving to go back to the old paths that have been blessed by God.
The Old Paths
“Stand ye in the way, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls.” Jeremiah 6:16
Our church has positioned itself, unapologetically, as conservative and old fashioned… We are your grandparent’s church.
We are King James only
We are not governed by committees
Music is not a high priority, Biblically prioritized, and is performed corporately by choir and congregation with occasional specials
We are debt free and work diligently to stay that way.
As Bible believers we hold to these historical and Biblical truths:
In all matters of faith and practice, we believe that The Authorized King James Bible is our inspired, inerrant, and preserved instruction manual for life, marriage, godliness, and Christian conduct. (See Psalms 12:6-7; 2 Timothy 3:16; John 17:17; Acts 17:11; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Peter 1:20–21.)
Autonomy or self-governing power of the local church. We believe that every local church is accountable to the Lord Jesus Christ and that there is no denominational head of any local church in the Bible. (See Colossians 1:18; Acts 13–14, 20:19–30; Ephesians 1:22–23.)
Priesthood of Believers
Through the merits of God’s Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, the wall between sinful man and a holy God has been broken down. Because of that, we as blood-washed believers can enter into the presence of Almighty God without the means of a priest or a church (See Hebrews 4:14–16; 1 Timothy 2:5–6; 1 Peter 2:5–10.)
Two Church Officers
We believe that the term “bishop, pastor, elder” are interchangeable terms and that the Bible speaks only about pastors and deacons (See Philippians 1:1; Acts 6:1–7; 1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6–9; 1 Peter 5:1–4.)
Individual Soul Liberty
Soul liberty allows a man to practice independence in his relationship to matters of faith, practice, and conscience. This principle alone led our Baptist forefathers to never sanction of any established relationship with the State nor to control the consciences of men through coercion. (See Romans 10:9–17, 14:1–23.)
Separation of Church and State
This principle states that the wall of separation that limits or prohibits the control of the state over the church, should limit government intrusion into church life, while not obstructing the influence of the church on the state. (See Matthew 22:21; Acts 5:29–31; Romans 13:1–4.)
Two church Ordinances.
As a church, we practice baptism and the Lord’s Supper, not as sacraments, which “convey grace,” but ordinances, which remind us of God’s wondrous grace outpoured through His death, burial, and resurrection. (See Matthew 28:19; 1 Corinthians 11:23–26; Acts 2:38–43, 8:36–38; Romans 6:1–6)
Saved Church Membership.
A church is a group of saved, baptized believers who voluntarily join themselves together to carry out of the Great Commission. Although the church is public and visible, it still remains a spiritual body of believers, who have confessed Christ with their hearts and followed Him in baptism. (Psalm 74:2, Acts 2:41, I Corinthians 1:2)