Destined For Distinction: The History of Right Direction Church International
What skeptical onlookers could consider to be accident, luck, or happenstance, a visit by Pastor Herbert Bailey, Jr. from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Columbia, South Carolina in July 1995 would prove to be none short of providential. While in Columbia interviewing for a management position with Cigna Property and Casualty Insurance Company, God spoke to Pastor Bailey at what is now the Columbia Marriott hotel that he would accept the position not simply to advance within Cigna, but to found his ministry–Right Direction Christian Center (RDCC). God had already spoken to Pastor Bailey that he was to establish RDCC, but Pastor Bailey believed that he would found the ministry in his home state of New Jersey.
Moving over 700 miles away from their close friends, immediate family, and extended family, Pastors Herbert and Marcia Bailey and their four young children Chandler (age 9), Tyler (age 7), Daniel, (age 5), and Kindra (age 3) made Columbia their home in September 1995. “Our move from Oklahoma was different…however, the move was a faith move,” says Chandler, now 26. “When [my siblings & I] finally matured a little more, we realized that we were here for ministry.”
In January 1996, the ministry was born in the living room of Pastors Baileys’ rented home off Bush River Road, through a weekly Bible study. The Bailey family, along with an additional three adults and one child, combined to become the 10 charter members of RDCC.
On April 28, 1996, RDCC held its first worship service at the former Holiday Inn Express (now Super 8 Motel) on St. Andrews Road. Within five months, RDCC’s membership had expanded to 40 members. Later that September, RDCC began hosting its services in the Postal Workers Union Hall at 4921 Broad River Road, and the congregation continued to climb to nearly 60 members.
To accommodate their need for a more permanent facility, RDCC began leasing and relocated to 3801 River Drive in June 1998. A second Sunday morning service was instituted in February 1999 after attendance had grown to an average of 90 people. At that time, the sanctuary comfortably offered sufficient space for only 100 people, so when the congregation increased to 140 people, Pastor Bailey personally spearheaded the effort to renovate the facility’s warehouse to construct a new sanctuary. That renovation would prove effective, as only 16 months later, RDCC would have to add a 3rd Sunday morning service to accommodate the then Sunday attendance of 300 people. Within six months, Sunday attendance grew to 400 people.
In March 2001, RDCC acquired and relocated to its first property–1230 St. Andrews Road–a 20,000 sq.ft. facility. One would have imagined that this move would adequately accommodate the growing church, but by year’s end, weekly Sunday attendance soared to 600+, and over 300 people at Wednesday night Bible study. During this period of growth, Pastor Marcia Bailey instituted Women’s Bible Study at noon on Fridays, and the noonday “Wednesday Bible Break” Bible study was birthed. RDCC paid off the $850,000 balance on 1230 St. Andrews Rd. within three years.
RDCC expanded beyond the walls of the church and into the world of broadcasting by launching the Direction For Life television broadcast on WACH Fox 57 and WOLO TV 25 in January 2003. Since then, the television broadcast has expanded to the Florence, Myrtle Beach, and Spartanburg, South Carolina markets, as well as nationally on The Impact Network on DISH, and The Aspire Network on Time Warner Cable. The Direction For Life radio broadcast also airs on the Glory Communications FM radio network, reaching Columbia, Sumter, Florence, and Orangeburg, SC nightly.
Expanding at this point by exponential growth, RDCC purchased 22 acres about a half-mile north of the St. Andrews location at 3506 Broad River Road in February of 2003. The following January, the Worship Center building project began. The new sanctuary–affectionately dubbed by congregants as “The Sprung” because of its architect Sprung Instant Structures–boasted an innovative design, featuring extruded aluminum arches and an engineered, all weather, outer performance stressed membrane. The church moved into its new, uniquely shaped sanctuary that July, marked by a moving, triumphant, road-blocking march from the St. Andrews Road location to the new Broad River Road sanctuary. “[An] actual day that stands out to me and makes me say “wow” is the day we marched from 1230 St. Andrews to the Sprung,” says Kindra Bailey, Pastors’ Baileys’ daughter, now 20-years-old. “I saw how many people were marching with us and couldn’t help but think about the days when Bible study was in the living room. That’s when I knew this was way bigger than them.”
The $2 million Broad River Road sanctuary was “paid in full” in December of 2005, just 1.5 years from it’s completion. Right Direction literally expanded its territory by purchasing an additional 17 acres on the property, bringing the total to 40 acres for the Broad River Road campus. In 2004, RDCC purchased the 20,000 sq.ft. business complex at 1234 St. Andrews Road, which the church originally leased for youth ministry and use of as the Fellowship Hall. This complex now houses Right Direction’s administrative offices, as well as The Hub Learning Center, a non-profit outreach organization designed to educate and assist low-income, at-risk youth.
In November 2007, construction on RDCC’s $4 million Family Life Center (FLC) began, and in October 2008, the FLC was opened to the public. From hosting conferences, recreational community basketball, and community concerts, to theatre productions, children’s ministry activities, and church fellowships, the FLC serves both the congregation of Right Direction as well as the Greater Columbia community.
True to the vision God gave Pastor Bailey to “take the Word of God to places where it’s rare and precious,” RDCC planted a campus in Orangeburg, SC in October 2006 and in October 2010, a campus was also planted in Florence, SC.
RDCC was renamed Right Direction Church International in 2011, emphasizing its mission to reach the world from Columbia, SC. As RDCI celebrates 19 years of impact, influence, expansion, and excitement, one can only imagine what greatness the future holds for Right Direction’s visionaries, congregants, partners, and affiliates.
Kindra Bailey concludes, “[Pastors Bailey] have a passion for ministry and a heart for God’s people, and that is the motivation for everything thing they do. [They] never stop chasing God and being obedient to him, even when their hands are already full and it seems like too much.” With a congregation now of 2,500+ receiving the Word in ten weekly services across South Carolina, and a multimedia outreach impacting tens of thousands across the world, Right Direction Church International is on the move…and the best is yet to come.