God has blessed Tim Coker with a life much different than one he could have ever imagined. As a young man growing up in a small town in South Carolina, Tim had joined the USAF with intentions of retiring. During his first term in the Air Force, however, Tim surrendered to the call to enter the ministry. It was during a movie titled “The Prodigal” that he felt God speak to him. After completing his term in service, he moved back home and enrolled in Francis Marion University and then went on to Southeastern Theological Seminary where he graduated in 1991.
At twenty-five years of age, Tim became the pastor of First Baptist Lynchburg, South Carolina. He commuted to seminary during the week and preached on the weekends. That small congregation loved, encouraged and nurtured his family. After 5 years in Lynchburg, the Lord moved Tim and his family to Mullins, South Carolina to serve at Little Bethel Baptist Church. There Tim learned the importance of personal growth and leadership development. Words like self-awareness, relational intelligence, and intentionality became important to him for the first time. It was at Little Bethel, through the influence of other like-minded pastors, that Tim became involved with the Leadership Development Team of the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Tim was called as pastor to Central Baptist Church in Darlington where he has been ministering for 24 years.
Tim is a two-time cancer survivor. In the summer of 2008, he was being treated for a swollen parotid gland. When taking their son to Liberty University, his wife noticed a slight knot underneath his right ear, and he decided to have it checked out. The doctor thought it might be related to ear problems so he was referred to an ENT. A biopsy was performed and discovered that he had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was then referred to Dr. James Smith at Carolina Healthcare which is now McLeod Oncology. Several tests were ordered including a CT scan, PET scan and bone marrow test. Results confirmed that he had Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma Stage 3 and Rituxan-CHOP chemotherapy would be the prescribed treatment. It would be every week for 3 weeks with one week off starting in November and be completed by February. By Thanksgiving, he had lost his hair. When some of the men in the church found out, they shaved their heads in support of Tim and to let him know he was not alone. The church also held a prayer vigil, brought meals, called and sent cards. The deacons took turns visiting the hospital since Tim wasn’t able to go. He wanted to continue preaching but wasn’t sure if would have the strength. But by the grace of God, he never missed a Sunday during his treatment. God answered his prayer. SHE magazine did an article on Tim in October 2011 called In his Own Words – Rev. Timothy Coker on Surviving.
In fall of 2015, Tim complained of back issues and was losing weight without trying. After several tests, fluid was found collecting in the lung sack causing issues with feeling full and not eating. They drained 2 liters of fluid but within in a few weeks it was back. He made an appointment with Dr. Smith to get his opinion, and after additional tests and draining more fluid, it was determined his cancer had returned – 7 years later. The treatment would be different than before, but this time his hair did not return. The church again rallied around the Cokers this time, as well. Again, he never missed preaching during his treatment. As Tim stated in SHE magazine, “My cancer is incurable, but my life is worth living. So is yours!”
Tim has always had a love for books and learning. He has always loved reading and writing. He has read over 1,000 books, both fiction and non-fiction. Over the past several years, Tim has been working on a book and finally completed it in the spring of this year. His first book, Learning to Fly was published by Baptist Courier and released fall 2019. He truly believes it was God’s plan for him to write this book and God’s timing is always perfect. Tim’s prayer for the book is that “God will teach you the secret of navigating life”. “God has a plan for you, and it is good!”
Tim is a gifted communicator, preacher and teacher. He provides guidance for church leadership and mentors other ministers in the association. He ministers to others through his preaching, Tim’s Time (which is a short encouragement video shared weekly via YouTube), Top Gun Ministries for men, Small Group Book Studies and speaking at special events. He and his wife also enjoy ministering to couples and have led several marriage seminars in North and South Carolina. He has also been on several mission trips both statewide and international including Brazil, Taiwan, and Africa. He enjoys sharing the love of Jesus and serving others.
Tim and his wife Donna of 38 years have two children, Christopher and Ashton. Tim and Donna enjoy traveling and spending time with their children.
Tim is a big movie buff who also enjoys playing golf. He is an avid University of South Carolina football fan and New York Mets baseball fan.