Wyldewood Baptist Church was founded in June of 1961 under the name "Southside Baptist Church." It was located on the south side of Oshkosh in a former Methodist church building, on the corner of 11th and Minnesota. A handful of people gathered under the leadership of Pastor Doug Kasten and began to build a Bible-believing, independent Baptist church. For a brief time, the church was also pastored by Ilah Claycomb, until June of 1965, when Pastor Howard Nelson was called to lead the church.
For the next 22 years the church grew tremendously. In 1975, having outgrown their first building, the congregation built a new building west of town on a 20-acre site in the flourishing Wyldewood development. The church was renamed Wyldewood Baptist Church.
The church grew to about 350 members, and many new ministries were begun. In 1975, a Christian school was opened, with more than 50 students enrolled in grades K-12. Utilizing the curriculum for Accelerated Christian Education, Wyldewood Christian School has consistently maintained high academic standards and Biblical principles.
The youth ministry was expanded, with weekly programs for all ages and many adults volunteering to serve in different capacities. The church operates three buses on a regular basis, providing free transportation to anyone needing a ride to the youth programs or Sunday School.
In 1979, a satellite ministry was founded, called "Couriers for Christ." This is a world-wide missions effort to get Bibles, Christian literature, and other needed material into Communist lands. We rejoice today as we see doors opening to this vast mission field. We are already actively involved in providing help to these fellow believers. Today, over 220 churches in the United States send money and other resources to our church to be used for this cause. Hundreds of thousands of dollars and more than a million pieces of literature have been channeled through this mission outreach.
Also in 1979, our church started a Bible publishing ministry, called "Bearing Precious Seed." This ministry prints and distributes Bibles right from our facilities in Oshkosh. To date, we have published Scripture for 35 countries around the globe, most of that going to Central and South America. We work closely with our missionaries, supplying them with needed scriptures at no cost. Again, churches across America help financially to make this possible. In 1996 our church built the Virginia Nelson Memorial Print Shop which has greatly enhanced our publishing ministry.
Pastor Nelson has changed direction in his ministry, and has founded "Scandinavians For Christ," a mission outreach to Norway, Sweden, and Finland. Since 1988, Rev. Randall G. King has been the pastor. After serving as the associate for 18 years, Pastor King was chosen to succeed Pastor Nelson. Another exciting facet of our ministry is Rev. Alan Ives and his ministry in Music Evangelism. He and his family provide music and preaching all across America, and they have a bookstore called Concord and Harmony that is an excellent source for Godly music and materials.
In September of 1996 Wyldewood Baptist Bible Institute was established to provide additional ministry training for those in our congregation. The curriculum is being developed for a three year certificate program. Later in 1996 our church became the home church for a missionary aviation ministry, "Wings As Eagles." This ministry serves mission fields around the world by providing transportation for pastors, missionaries, and support teams who serve on the field.
Some of the biggest events on our calendar every year include hosting the statewide ACE school convention in March, "Blue and White Sunday" honoring law enforcement personnel in July, our aviation conference "Meeting In The Air" during the EAA fly-in, and our annual ladies meeting called "The King's Daughters" every September. We also host an annual mission conference in October, and our local church supports 55 missionary families on a monthly basis.
Today, our congregation of about 500 is growing and enthusiastic. Our representatives preach all around the world, laboring in our various ministries for the cause of Christ. We continue to seek more ways to honor God, help Christians, and reach the lost for Jesus Christ. Our goal is to reach our community with the gospel message of repentance and faith. We believe that all people everywhere need a Saviour, and that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners. Our ministry, both here and abroad, is to make plain God's plan of salvation through the atoning blood of His only begotten Son.