In the Beginning
The history of Southern Hills Baptist Church begins with a core group of individuals from Wilmont Place and Knob Hill Baptist Churches having a vision for a new church on South Pennsylvania. This group began meeting as early as July 1962, led by pastor D.B. Hoskins, although the church was officially chartered with 60 members on February 23, 1964 in a service led by Western Hills Baptist Church pastor, Warren Terry.
First, meeting in a home on Laneway Drive, the church voted to spend $108,000 to build a church building at 8601 S. Pennsylvania. Over 100 individuals were present for the ground-breaking with the first service in the new church building held on October 18, 1964. This early group was very excited about increasing their number and evangelizing the unchurched. They met for dinner every Wednesday evening, visited in the community, held an evening service and choir rehearsal led by Jim Snider, the first Music Director - he was paid $7.50 per week. The church grew and additional educational space was added. Upon D.B. Hoskins' retirement, John Fleming and then Warren Terry were called to lead Southern Hills.
A Church Alive and Growing
Under the leadership of Warren Terry, the church membership continued to grow and several additional building projects were undertaken, including the building of the "Red Auditorium," dedicated in January of 1972. Hamilton Hall (gym) was built and Southern Hills began an active recreation ministry. Music Directors Paul Winslow and Jack Rogers led worship in the early 70's with G.D. Hardy joining the staff in 1977. Warren Terry retired as pastor and Jerry Fielder was called to lead Southern Hills in 1978.
The 80s brought a need for additional space as God continued to bring new families to southern Hills. The auditorium was enlarged, the Buchanan's strip mall property was purchased, and the three story education space was built along with several other modifications and updates. Under Jerry's leadership, ministries expanded. Southern Hills had a thriving singles ministry, the commitment to missions and evangelism continued by calling a Missions and Evangelism Minister, and SHBC began a mission church in Moore – Highland Baptist Church. The student ministry grew, as did overall church membership.
The amazing growth led SHBC to realize the need to build a new worship center which opened in 1993 with seating for over 2000, followed by new education, preschool, and children's space in 1999. God had faithfully grown His church in the years since 60 charter members had dreamed of planting a church in anticipation of the growth of south Oklahoma City. the 90's ended with the retirement of Jerry Fielder after over 20 years as pastor of SHBC.
A New Millennium
SHBC kicked off the new millennium by calling Dr. Douglas O. Melton as pastor in 2000. SHBC senior adult ministry is active and growing, mission trips in the US and internally continued, and many young families joined SHBC. As a church seeking to "Develop Fully Devoted Followers of Christ," discipleship and evangelism training increased with evening Bible studies. Several outreach programs began, including English as a Second Language.
Vacation Bible School and community events saw tremendous growth during this time and SHBC began a second mission church, Faith Crossing Baptist Church. The Hardy Center was built to provide staff offices and space for student ministry and the former "red auditorium" was remodeled into a chapel and reception area opening in November 2013 to serve the church family and community for weddings, funerals, and smaller meetings. In October 2013, SHBC rose to the challenge of physical inconvenience due to a fire in the Worship Center which relocated service to Hamilton Hall, and later, the Chapel and Hoskins Hall for five months.
Looking to the Future
SHBC continues to reach individuals with the gospel and develop fully devoted followers of Christ. The excitement of the early years is still present as we look forward to what God has planned for the next 50 years. God has been faithful to the vision He gave to the early founding members for a church on South Pennsylvania and by His grace, Southern Hills Baptist Church will continue His work until He returns.