Our Church History

South Main Missionary Baptist Church is a growing local New Testament church located in Malvern, Arkansas. South Main Missionary Baptist Church (SMMBC) was organized on September 19, 1965 and has been faithfully serving the Lord since that time. SMMBC associates with the Baptist Missionary Association of America (BMAA) and the Baptist Missionary Association of Central Arkansas (BMACA).

 

SMMBC opened at Malvern, AR on September 19, 1965. Authorized by West Heights Baptist Church in Little Rock, AR, it began as the Southside Baptist Mission with W.S. Gordon serving as missionary pastor. A regular schedule of services was conducted in a vacant house furnished by Bro. & Mrs. Jim Breckenridge. Attendance for the first day was 32 in Sunday School and 26 in Baptist Training Service with offerings totaling $100.15.

 

October 23, 1965, we voted to take as our name South Main Missionary Baptist Church. October 24, 1965, in response to the invitation of West Heights Baptist Church and her pastor Jurl Mitchell and with the help of sister churches, we were organized into a New Testament Church, with a total of 22 charter members. W.S. Gordon was called as pastor on October 27, 1965.

 

November 14, 1965, we rented and moved into a house belonging to Bro. & Mrs. W.R. Jones. Bro. Jones purchased this property for the primary purpose of using it for a meeting place until we could purchase the land next to it and erect our church building. The church purchased this land on January 5, 1966.

 

On June 1, 1966, we received $20,000 worth of bonds from the Baptist Building & Loan Association for the purpose of building a church. On April 9, 1967, less than one year later, we had completed selling the bonds. On June 12, 1966, the first spade of dirt was turned officially marking the beginning of building the Lord’s House. November 2, 1966, we began services in the new building. One winged housed 4 classrooms and a fellowship hall. The other wing held the auditorium with a seating capacity of 120, two classrooms, and two bathrooms. In May 1981, the church made the final payment on the church indebtedness and on June 28, 1981, a special bond burning service was held.

 

September 7, 1988, the church voted to enlarge and remodel the existing facilities. A building committee was selected composed of Bob Howell, Leon Jenkins, Pat Ponder and pastor Larry Isbell. The house adjoining our property, the one we met in while our building was being constructed, was purchased. The house was torn down to make room for construction of an educational annex.

 

In March 1989, work began on the new structure. This annex consisted of eight new classrooms, a library, copier workroom, pastor’s study, and two bathrooms. We then tore the four existing classrooms out and enlarged our fellowship hall. New kitchen cabinets and a serving counter were added. The auditorium was enlarged to seat 250 and a nursery and two bathrooms were included in this addition. August 20, 1989, we held special services to mark completion of this building program and dedicate the new structure to the honor and glory of the Lord.

 

South Main continued to grow and by the early 1990’s the church was again outgrowing its facilities. Another building committee was selected with Dink Spencer as Chairman and the following members: Terry Bracy, Cal Hearnsberger, Teresa Jenkins Howell, Kathy Phillips, Will Wallace, Agnes Breckenridge, and pastor Larry Isbell. Land was purchased adjacent to the church for the purpose of building a larger sanctuary. Ground was broken and construction began. We moved into our new building, which includes an auditorium, eight classrooms, two restrooms, a prayer room, and a sound booth, in October of 1995. The building program was made possible with the faithful support of the members of South Main and a generous donation of $50,000 by Katie Speer representing the Sturgis Foundation. By the end of 2005, the indebtedness for this addition was retired.

 

South Main supports local, state, and foreign missions of the BMAA, LifeWord Ministries (which includes gospel radio broadcasts in all areas of the world), Central Baptist College, the BMA Theological Seminary, Daniel Springs Encampment, the Moral Action Committee of the BMAA, Minsters Resource Services, and the Baptist Publishing House.

 

Previous pastors who have served at South Main are: W.S. Gordon, Jim ‘Jimmy’ Ford, R.R. Brown, James Wilcox, Joe Ponder, Curtis Kyle, Larry Isbell, Glen Alston (Interim), Butch Shipp, Allen Brown (Interim), James Terry, R.B. Hoshaw (Interim), Glen Alston, Jerry Kyle (Interim), Gene Fulcher, and Arlis East (Interim). Our current pastor is Bart Herrington.

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