A History of Southside Baptist Church
The church was first established as a Mission Sunday School sponsored by Ariton Baptist Church. At the time there was not a church on the south side of Ozark, and the Director of Missions for Dale Association, Bro. McKnight, felt that a church would prosper on that side of town.
The first meeting of the Sunday School was in March of 1949, at the home of Mr. Julian Godwin. There were 58 people who were present for the first meeting. During the next few months, there were 25 more people that were baptized into the new mission under Ariton Baptist Church.
On July 31, 1949, a constitutional service was held, where statements were given concerning why it was necessary that a church should be established on the south side of Ozark. After a discussion, the council approved a motion for perfecting the organization of a new Baptist Church.
A motion was made and adopted to accept the letters of 37 people who were considered to be the charter members of Southside Baptist Church. There were also officers elected to carry on the business of the church.
When the church was first started, services were only held on the 2nd Sunday afternoon and night of each month. The first official service after the Constitutional Service, was held on August 14, 1949.
Since the people had been meeting in houses since the church’s conception, a building committee was formed to start making plans for a real church building to meet in. The very first building was made of blocks, and was 38 x 58 feet, with a total land area of 2.6 acres. It was dedicated on July 30, 1950. For several years after this, the church just had services on a part-time basis. Finally they voted to begin having full-time services on October 2, 1960. They hired a pastor to preach, and the church began to grow.
On January 1, 1961, the church approved the addition of a 10 foot wide addition to the church across the back of the existing structure. The addition would contain two bathrooms, two dressing rooms, and a baptismal pool in the center. The cost for this was $2,385.15.
Soon after the addition was complete, the church held a revival. Those who came for salvation were the first to be baptized in the new inside baptistry. It was first used on July 3, 1961.
The church continued to grow over the years and new Sunday School classes were added. On March 11, 1962, the church had 91 members present out of an enrollment of 105. After the church became full-time, it started to grow steadily. On August 22, 1965, the first service was held in a new auditorium that had been built. This auditorium seated about 250. The church also purchased more land on the side of and behind the existing buildings. The old auditorium was divided into Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall was constructed onto the end of the old building. The church also purchased a pastorium during this time. Also in the early seventies, the church purchased a manual typewriter and manual mimeograph machine so that a church bulletin could be printed.
In 1975, the church had grown to the point that a part-time secretary was hired, and also a part-time Minister of Music and Youth. The secretary was hired in June, and the Minister of Music and Youth in November. A church newsletter was also mailed twice a month to the members of the church.
Over the years, the church has experienced much growth. A third auditorium was built in the middle 1980’s which would seat between 500 and 600 people. There has also been several more Sunday School rooms and a Family Life Center built to handle the growth.
Southside has come a long way from the little 38 x 58 foot building that was first built on the property.
Established March 1949
List of Pastors
Rev. W. H. Waters
Rev. Paul Cutchens
Rev. W. H. Waters
Rev. Arthur Emfinger
Rev. Wallace Green
Rev. Earl Brogden
Rev. Segars (Interim)
Rev. William Snellgrove
Dr. E. A. McGriff
Rev. Ronald L. Finch
Rev. John Payne (Interim)
Rev. W. L. Sheffield
Rev. Andy Baril (Interim)
Rev. Roger Stone
Rev. Randy Taylor
Rev. Nathan Sims (Interim)
Rev Danny Bynum