Central Baptist Church History

South Side Baptist Church

South Side Baptist

Central Baptist Church has been in the Meridian Community for a very long time, but it wasn’t always known as Central Baptist Church nor has it always been in the same place! The original name of the church was South Side Baptist Church and it was organized in 1888 as a mission work of First Baptist Church.

In 1902, W.A. Roper became the pastor and he led the church in the purchase of property at the corner of Grand Avenue and St. Andrew Street. The church building they built at that time cost $2,150.00 with only $900 of that amount coming from borrowed funds. J.W. Mayfield served as pastor from 1909-19011 and his brother, J.J. Mayfield became the pastor in 1913. On June 3, 1918, Blanding Vaughn became the pastor.

The church acquired some property on the corner of 26th Avenue and “C” Street for a future relocation. Around 1931-32, the church voted to use the tithes/offering plan to finance the new church and construction of the new building began in 1932.

South Side Baptist In 1933

South Side Baptist In 1933

Average Sunday School attendance had grown to about 280 by 1945 and on October 1, 1945, A. Estus Mason became the pastor. Receipts had grown from $5,100 in 1941 to $26,517 in 1951. By 1953, average Sunday School attendance had grown to 376.

On June 26, 1954, Willard Speed became the pastor and Sunday School attendance continued to grow to an all-time high of 517 by 1957.

In November, 1960, Maurice Clayton became pastor and under his leadership, the system of rotating the deacons began. The Sanctuary was renovated. In April, 1967, Robert Sheffield became pastor. During this time, old residences used for Sunday School were demolished and extensive remodeling allowed all classes to meet under one roof.

In 1971, interim pastor Jerry Odom led the effort to begin a Daycare and Kindergarten program. Later that year in September, John Hopper was called. The sanctuary was redecorated and an elevator was installed. The Deacon Family Ministry plan was adopted. Bro. Hopper died on October 16, 1983.

In June, 1984, Wayne Riley began his work as pastor. An additional building housing an office suite, kitchen and recreational facilities was completed and a four-phase renovation plan of the church was begun.  On February 14, 1999, Danny Chisholm started his ministry at Central Baptist Church. Ongoing renovation project and repaving of the parking lots was  completed. The parsonage was refurbished. It was during the interim period between Bro. Riley’s and Bro. Chisolm’s pastorates, the name of the church was changed from “South Side Baptist” to “Central Baptist.” The feeling of the majority of the congregations was that the name change was needed since the old South Side community had largely disappeared. Even the South Side elementary school had been closed. The new name reflects the fact that Central’s members drive from many different neighborhoods to a “central” location. The name also reflects the “centrality” that Jesus and his “bride” have in our lives.

In 2005, Greg Massey was called to be pastor and served the church for four years. Bro. Massey led the church to adopt the “FAITH” outreach program and trained 31 members to be involved in personal evangelism through FAITH. An additional 20 members were trained in one-on-one mentoring. The church made its first international mission trips to Northern Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic during this time and the church began its AWANA program for children. Also, renovations to the education and music areas were begun.

In July, 2010, Gary Blair became the pastor of Central Baptist Church.

In January 2018, Brother Glenn A. Jackson was called to serve as pastor.  You can learn more about Reverend Jackson by clicking here!


Central Baptist Church Today!

Central Baptist Church Today!