In January1980, Rev. Barry J. Brown and his family moved to Connecticut with the purpose of beginning an independent, fundamental Baptist church in the Stratford area. The decision to come was reached after several trips to New England and with the prayers and financial support of eighteen like-minded Baptist churches across America. The financial commitments varied, but generally speaking, they were to ensure that the moving expenses for Pastor Brown and his first six months living expenses were met while at White Oak Baptist Church was being formally organized. At the end of the planned commitment period, assistance from these sister churches ceased. It is the biblical conviction of White Oak Baptist Church that she should remain a local church, independent of all other ecclesiastical groups or formal denominations.
In February 1980, the first “get–acquainted” meetings were held at the Stratford YMCA, and as a result of these meetings, the church was formally organized with five core family units. The church name was derived from the state tree of Connecticut, the white oak. The first Sunday service was held on April 6, 1980, with thirty-six in attendance. The facility, which was used for that initial service and for the first nine years, was a secretarial school on Broad Street in Stratford. Sunday school classes, morning worship and evening worship services were conducted each Sunday, and other ministries were centered in homes during the week.
Pastor Brown held a position as an engineer with the Bridgeport Machine Company from August 1980 until January 1983, when the church began his support as a full-time pastor. Attendance at White Oak Baptist Church grew steadily, and the congregation sought a larger church property to allow for expanding ministries.