History of South Side Baptist Church
"In 1961, Forest Avenue Baptist Church, Mishawaka (now New Life Baptist Church in Osceola) started a South Bend church plant called South Side Baptist Chapel. Rev. H.J. Conger led the tiny mission with early service being held at Center Township Women’s Club on US 31 S.
The congregation called Rev. Byron Lutz as the first full time pastor in February 1963 and began to pray for land and a building. Pastor Lutz found six acres of prime land at the corner of Miami Street and Jackson Road. The land was part of the old Jackson homestead and although Brother Lutz was told Mr. Jackson would never sell, he walked on the land and picked up a stone. He wrote 1 Samuel 7:12 on the rock and placed the “Ebenezer Stone” on his desk. The mission congregation met on the property and sought God’s blessing in securing the property. Shortly after this, Mr. Jackson agreed to sell the property and in September of 1963, the mission started building. The first service in the new building was held July 5th, 1964.
On October 7th, 1973, South Side was constituted as a church. During this time a memorable service was conducted by Germantown Baptist Church, Tennessee. All were blessed and motivated by this special service.
In early 1984, members of Second Baptist Church, Angelton, Texas came to build a new, larger sanctuary. The structure was completed in the spring of 1985 when church members and Alabama Campers on Mission finished the interior of the new building.
In June of 2000, Rev. Scott Smith, a recent graduate of Southeastern Baptist Seminary, was called to be pastor. In 2001, church members and Morningside Baptist Church of Spartanburg, South Carolina (Pastor Scott’s home church) built the ‘connector’ between the original and new buildings. Our sanctuary expansion and five new adult Sunday School classrooms were completed in 2007. In 2011 we saw our church grow again with the addition of a Children’s Wing. We added 5 new classrooms, 2 large nursery areas and a large gymnasium/fellowship area. Average attendance steadily increased from the 30′s in 2000 to around 250 people in 2018!! Since COVID hit in 2020, we usually welcome around 160+ people a week in person and another 50+ online.
As the recorders of the early history of our church wrote, “Truly it can be said, ‘Hitherto has the Lord helped us’” (1 Samuel 7:12) and so we testify today. We give thanks to our God for His great blessings and tender mercies. We also thank those who came before us; pastors, lay people, and other congregations who built this church through their financial giving, hard work, perseverance, and faithful service.
"May we also be found faithful as we serve our Lord Jesus Christ and labor to bring the good news of the Gospel to our generation."
-Al Springer (1919-2010), South Side Baptist Historian