A Brief History of Freedom Baptist Church
In 1976 a group of believers began meeting in the living room of the home of Charles and Johnnie Steinman in Norfolk, VA with the intention of beginning a new Local Church that would bring glory to God and seek to be a light in the community. It was that same year that this assembly of believers was officially organized as the Freedom Baptist Church of Norfolk, VA with Ronald R. Harrison as their Pastor. He and his wife, Sheila, served the Lord at Freedom Baptist Church for 21 years.
It wasn’t long before Freedom Baptist Church rented a one-room Mennonite school house in Kempsville where they continued to meet for the study of God’s Word and worship. After about a year, surprise and disappointment were felt by all when a “For Sale” sign appeared on the front of the school house. Obviously, it was time for Freedom Baptist Church to find a new location.
Seeking wisdom and guidance from the Lord, Pastor Harrison came across a house for sale on a 3-acre parcel of land at 308 N. Centerville Turnpike and Freedom Baptist Church moved to Chesapeake. The small congregation worked diligently to convert the house into a meeting room with a small nursery and two bathrooms. Over time, the house became affectionately known as “the Little Building” and was the meeting place until 1985 when the current auditorium was built.
In 1985, through the sacrificial gifts of finances and time, Freedom Baptist Church was able to build the current auditorium as an addition to “the Little Building” with the members doing as much of the work as was feasible. Amazingly, the only debt incurred was a loan for the new baby grand piano still in use in the sanctuary.
In 1986 Freedom Baptist Church called Daniel L. Steinman to be the Assistant Pastor and Minister of Music. During the following year the Church publicly ordained him into the Gospel Ministry and he served along side Pastor Harrison for several years.
As the Church grew, the need for more educational space was recognized; and in 1995, under the inspiration of Pastor Harrison, the membership again invested their love, finances, and time into a new addition with a fellowship hall, nursery, classrooms, and new bathrooms. God provided wonderfully through the sacrificial giving of His people. In 2006 the Church chose to name the fellowship hall The Harrison Fellowship Hall recognizing the faithful ministry of Pastor Harrison.
In the summer of 1997 Pastor Harrison resigned, and Freedom Baptist Church called Pastor Steinman as Senior Pastor in the fall of that year. Pastor Steinman and his wife, Beatriz, are still serving the Lord at FBC. For a brief time, 1998 to 2000, Pastor Steinman was assisted by Pastor Bill Tittle. In 1999 Bill Wegner, along with his wife Valerie, began ministering to the youth at FBC while still attending seminary. In 2002, upon graduation, the Church called him to be the Associate Pastor and he was publicly ordained into the Gospel Ministry in the fall of 2003.
Pastors Steinman and Wegner continue to work side by side as they seek to provide leadership and direction at Freedom Baptist Church.