Church History

Dixie Lee Baptist Church was originally called Midway Baptist Church to denote its location being halfway between Knoxville and Kingston. Most records of the early church have been destroyed except for some information contained in a letter to Deacon Hugh Watt from a Mr. Hartley. In the letter, Mr. Hartley writes “A child was born in our home in 1876 and there was no building. Another child was born in 1878 and there was a building.”

Based on this information, it is assumed that the original construction was completed in 1877. The church was constituted as Midway Baptist Church in 1882 with the Rev. Dr. J.B. Ginn as the first pastor.

The land for the original building was donated by John Marshal Montgomery.
Mr. Montgomery, Mr. Hartley, and George Hand were part of the construction crew that built the original building. All the framing consisted of hewn logs held together by wooden pegs or “draw” pins.

The church grew rapidly in the 1940s and on June 25, 1947, the church voted to begin construction on a new addition. It consisted of a single two-story building with Sunday School classrooms and a furnace room. In 1948, before the new addition was paid for, the old hewn log building was abandoned because of its deteriorated condition. In November 1949, construction on a new basement was started that would eventually be the foundation of a new sanctuary. Meetings were held in the basement for six years until the sanctuary was completed. In 1953, construction began on the sanctuary and the third floor to the education building (directly behind the sanctuary). The first service in the new sanctuary was held Easter Sunday 1954.

On June 2, 1954 the church voted to change the name of the church from Midway Baptist Church to Dixie Lee Baptist Church.
The church chose to use the name of its local community which received its name for the junction of Dixie Highway (US 70) and Lee Highway (US 11) located only 100 yards from the church.

Rev. Dan Dunkel came as pastor to the church in 1954 and served until 1957.
A pastorium was completed in 1957 just in time for Rev. J.C. Parrish who was pastor from 1957 until 1970.

An educational wing was added to the existing buildings and two additional acres of land was purchased.

In October of 1970 Rev. E.M. Sherwood accepted the pastorate of the church.
Under his pastorate the church undertook the support of a mission pastor, John Christy,
and the establishment of a new church work in Vermillion, South Dakota.
The mission church in Vermillion prospered, calling Rev. Wayne James as pastor, and constituting as Grace Baptist Church.

In November of 1978, Rev. John Burleson was called as pastor and served until his retirement in October 1990.

During his pastorate, the sanctuary was extensively remodeled and 3 ½ acres of land were purchased west of the present buildings to assure room for expansion.

On March 3, 1991 Rev. Bobby Mullins was called as pastor.

On August 7, 1994 Rev Bruce Yates was called as pastor.

August 1996, the church dedicated a new Family Life Center which provides Sunday School classes, staff offices, a kitchen, and a gymnasium that doubles as a fellowship hall.

On February 7, 1999 Rev. Jim Clayton was called as pastor and served until March 2015.
The church completed major infrastructure renovations in parking and landscape for the preparation of construction of a new worship facility. That 14,930 square foot facility has since been completed, and on January 18, 2009 the church had the first service in its new temporary Worship Center utilizing half of the building.

The future is bright at Dixie Lee Baptist Church as the body of believers seek to serve God through Missions, Ministry, and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ.