History of Southside Baptist Church
On this first Sunday of June forty-two years ago, Willis Lake Mission was formed when seventy-two people, being led by the Spirit of God, met to organize a new Baptist Church here in Norman Park, Georgia. The members of the newly organized Church extended to individuals and families an invitation to join the new Church as God led them.
The “Resolution of Organization”, which was sent out by letter, read like this: “Resolved that we are assembled in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, believing that it is God’s will for us to establish a Church, do solemnly enter into a covenant to become an organized fellowship for the purpose of worshipping God, witnessing to His saving grace, living as Christians in the world, and ministering to the needs of people where we observe such needs, to the glory of God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.”
The first meeting was held on the fourth day of June 1978 at 6:00 p.m. at the Willis Lake Mission facility. The first hymn sung as an organized Church was “To God be the Glory.” The first scripture reading was 1 Peter 2: 1-10. This Mission became Southside Baptist Church.
On June 6, 1980, ground was broken on this property for a new building. The first worship service was held here in this Sanctuary on March 1, 1981. In June 2003, the Church voted as the Lord lead us, to move forward in building a new addition, which consisted of a Fellowship Hall, a commercial type kitchen, additional restrooms, and storage space. The new building was completed in December 2006, and a dedication service was held on the 17th of that same month. The building addition was paid in full in August 2016 and a note burning ceremony was held on September 18, 2016.
For forty-two years, we have continued as a Church to stay true to the mission Jesus Christ has called this local body to carry out. Through highs and lows, the Lord has directed us to carry out His divine will and His work in Colquitt County, the State of Georgia, the United States of America, and throughout the world.
Just as we began this mission from the Lord forty-two years ago by God’s grace, we will always continue to witness to the lost, teach people the bible, care for the needy, fellowship with like-minded believers in Christ, and worship God.
Over the years, many of the faithful servants of the Lord who began this work have gone home to be with the Lord, and may we who follow in their footsteps, be found just as faithful in the mission God has given this Church. We believe that the future is bright for Southside Baptist Church, because we know it is in God’s hands. To God be the glory as we move forward in the name of Jesus Christ.
The first called pastor of the Willis Lake Mission and Southside Baptist Church was Rev. Quinton Barnes who served as pastor from 1978 – 1988.
Rev. John Spivey served as interim pastor of Southside until August 1989.
In August of 1989, Rev. Tim VanLandingham was called to serve as pastor of Southside until October 1999.
On November 7, 1999, Rev. Paul Peace began serving as interim pastor until December 2000.
On November 19, 2000, Rev. Phillip Robinson was called and began serving as the pastor of Southside on December 17, 2000, and served as pastor until December 30, 2007. Brother Phillip served as interim pastor until the end of June 2008.
Rev. Paul Peace was called as interim pastor and served until December 21, 2008.
Rev. Jimmy Casey came for a trial sermon on December 7, 2008 and began as Southside’s pastor on December 28, 2008. Brother Jimmy served as pastor until May 23, 2010.
On June 27, 2010, Brian Blackburn began serving as interim pastor and served until March of 2011.
Pastor John Myrick was called as the pastor on February 13, 2011 and began serving on March 6, 2011. Brother John served until November 17, 2019.
Pastor Howard Burke began serving as Transitional Pastor on November 24, 2019 and served until September 27, 2020.
Pastor Michael Baer was called as Pastor on September 20, 2020 and began serving on November 1, 2020. Pastor Baer continues to serve as pastor.