From Few, Many



North Island Baptist Church began gathering in fall 1994 as a fellowship of seven families who wanted a Southern Baptist church on the north end of Hilton Head Island. 

After meeting in various temporary facilities, the fellowship moved in December 1998 to its current, permanent location at 3800 Main Street. A few months later, on Easter Sunday 1999, the fellowship became a fully recognized Southern Baptist church, with a membership of 100. 

North Island Baptist is a small, non-liturgical, God-centered church that offers a traditional worship service with a clear proclamation of God’s truth. The church’s mission is to encourage as many people as possible to have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. 

“It’s a great place to be, a great place to worship,” the church’s pastor, Dr. Charles Kessler, said. 

North Island Baptist is made up of experienced Christians as well as new believers. There are even a few Roman Catholics who attend the services, providing an ecumenical perspective within the fellowship of the church. 

Kessler, who has been a minister for almost 50 years, said the church is the most loving, caring, gracious church he’s ever been involved with. 

Ordained as a minister in 1973, Kessler became pastor of North Island Baptist in 2017. Before that, he’d been a chaplain in the U.S. Navy for 28 years. He also has served churches in Kentucky and Georgia. 

“I’ve seen a lot of pastors and met a lot of pastors,” North Island Baptist Church elder John Ballenger said. “Charlie is, by far, without a doubt, the best representative of the Word of God that I’ve met in my life.” 

Kessler is serious about his role as pastor and thankful for the opportunity. He struggled with a speech impediment as a child and received speech therapy throughout elementary school.The fact that God turned a little boy with challenges into a pastor who enjoys preaching is proof enough to Kessler that he’s in the right place. 

“I’m just a guy that God called to preach,” Kessler said. 


The church will begin to celebrate Advent on Dec. 1 and gather for a Christmas dinner on Dec. 8. Worship services are at 10:30 a.m. Sundays, with Christian Education at 9:30 a.m. For more information on North Island Baptist Church, visit or call 843-689-3800. 

North Island provides a traditional Baptist worship service, singing hymns out of the hymnbook and preaching clearly biblically-based sermons. The service is supported by Karl Cline who leads the singing and Kiril Zahariev as the pianist. Zahariev was classically-trained and won the prestigious Claude Kahn International Piano Competition in 1995 in Paris. He is planning a Spring concert at the church. The event will be free and open to the public.