Southside Baptist Church – The Church Journey


05 February 2020

I had the privilege to visit Southside Baptist Church for the Wednesday evening adult Bible study.  The church was established over 50 years ago. It provides a wonderful story on planting a new church, and how it has grown to serve the community for over 50 years.

Southside Baptist Church held its first service in the home of James and Leora Day on January 14, 1968. There were 15 people present. On February 4, 1968 the church called Rev. Carl McDonald as pastor. The church rented a building on Blount Avenue, southwest of the Baptist Hospital. It met at this location until the present property was secured. The John Sevier location was purchased before the Highway was built. [1]

The first building was completed and the Southside members occupied their new home on Easter Sunday, 1972. A second addition was added in the latter part of 1973.  The church experienced tremendous growth numerically and structurally. Much of the construction was done by the church members themselves. As the ministry grew, the trail of faith and determination continued to go through its South Knoxville community and to stretch to the region beyond. [1]

The church called Rev. Clarence Gresham in July 1985. The Lord continued to bless the Spirit of the church and they carried out the Great Commission to reach its community, town, state, country and world. It has trained and commissioned several full-time ministers and missionaries. In July 1997, the church sponsored its first Missions Team to the field of Iceland. Nineteen men, women and young adults spent ten days conducting Vacation Bible School, street preaching and gospel tract distribution.  The faith and determination of the original 15 who met in 1968, and each one has joined them over the past are the characteristics, which have made the Southside Baptist Church a great evangelistic lighthouse. [1]

The original chapel was built in 1972 and was 40 by 100 square box style building. As the church expanded, they built the current building over the original building, and over the years completed several additions. In 2002 the latest addition was added and dedicated in June 2003.


In 2018 the Southside Baptist Church celebrated it’s 50-year anniversary. Over the years many have come through the doors bringing their talents, and contributions that has made the ministry what it is today.  A wonderful video was produced for the 50-year anniversary. In the video they interview Dr. Clearance Gresham, Pastor, and they share many photos from the early days of the church. The video can be watched at the following link:  [1]

My Journey:

My journey started when I arrived 45 minutes early for the scheduled adult Bible study. This provided me peaceful time in the sanctuary praying and meditation, before the study started. The Bible study started with a song led by Rev Jonathan Black the Worship Pastor. Our time of worship was facilitated by Rev. Luke Wilkinson Senior Pastor. We started reviewing prayer requests listed in an organized printed bulletin. This made it very easy to follow along, and allows attendees to take the list home and continue to pray for the needs. The list encompassed health, miscellaneous needs, bereaved, shut-in, government officials and Southside Missionaries located around the world from Africa to Ukraine including many other countries. After prayer the study was focused on Palms 19 (Author: David). God’s glory is displayed in creation and God’s grace is displayed in his words. Both God’s creation and his word reveal his greatness. The Pastor closed the Bible study with a prayer.


During my visit I had the privilege of meeting Rev. Luke Wilkerson, Senior Pastor, Rev Jonathan Black, Young Adult & Worship Pastor, David one of the elders who also leads a Bible study on Sundays. As well as Mike and several other folks attending the Bible study.  I enjoyed my time at Southside Baptist, and would like to thank everyone for the warm welcome. I had a wonderful time in fellowship and plan to visit with them again.


Church Website:


50th anniversary video:

Location: 1620 W Governor John Sevier Hwy, Knoxville, TN

Date Visited: 2020 February 5th.


The original chapel was built in 1972.  Over the years they went through several additions expanding the church to accommodate the growth. In late 2002 the final renovation was started and dedicated in June 2003.


The building exterior is made of red brick. The front of the building has several large cathedral arched windows. Above the entry is a large glass window, emphasized with a cross. The window allows heavenly light to illuminate the church foyer. The church entry provides multiple modern glass doors to accommodate traffic flow in and out of the building. The church has a stunning steeple with a white tower supporting the belfry and lantern topped with a spire with a cross pointing up into the blue sky.


Inside the large worship center the area has modern comfortable padded chairs instead of pews. The beige colored walls are accented with a designed look of wooden cathedral windows. The ceiling has beautiful hanging gold colored chandeliers.


The raised platform at the front of the worship center, which serves as the pulpit where the preacher delivers his sermons.  Seating for the worship choir is located at the back of the pulpit.


The back of the worship center has a balcony where the media team is located to assists the service.

Final Thoughts:

I enjoy studying the book of Psalms. It encompasses a collection of poems, hymns, and prayers. Nearly every Psalms returns to the theme of praise to God.  Psalms encourages its readers to praise God for who He is and what He has done.

One of my barriers over the years has been taking the time to pray. Reflecting on it now I find it embarrassing with my lack of prayer time in the past. Many times, over the years I been too focused on worldly needs instead of nourishing my spiritual relationship.  Unfortunately, it not uncommon in the high-tech fast paced world we live in. Today we face many distractions that can pull us away from building a personal relationship with Christ.

As I spend more time gathered with the church body lifting up prayer requests to our Lord.  It continues to increase my awareness of the gifts and needs of those around us.  Over the last several weeks participating in group prayers.  My eyes have been opened, to the multiple focus areas where prayer is needed. It also has emphasized a much deeper awareness of the boundless need for prayer.  This has strengthened my consciousness for me to give praise, and thanks to the Lord for each day I get out of bed unhindered and in good health.

I am not sure where this journey will take me. I am not sure if I can meet my goal of visiting 52 churches in one year. I depend on the Lord directing my path, shedding his light on every step on this journey.  What I do know is this journey continues to benefit me in many ways by allowing me to grow spiritually closer to Christ by spending time in prayer, mediation, and fellowship. I am encouraged by this personal journey and excited for what lies ahead. I am thankful for not knowing what lies ahead, because I have to depend on him even more to guide me on this journey.  I hope this Journey encourages you to spend time in prayer.

If you would like to learn more about this church, upcoming events, or listen to a sermon I encourage you to visit the church website listed above.

“The light that shines the furthest, shines brightest at home!” “The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3

May our Lord continue to bless this church in Jesus name.

Please Pray for all our churches as they continue to face challenges in the year 2020.

May this find you well and happy, God Bless

Picture Gallery:


  1. Southside Baptist Church website, “History” (2020, February 11) Retrieved from

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