Jesus said “Upon this rock I will build My church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
The late Rev. James R. Coel, the pastor of a circuit of North Carolina churches, relocated to Baltimore, Maryland, in 1926 to become the Pastor of Fountain Baptist Church. After 5 years of serving, Rev. Coel resigned his position, and he and his members met in homes to form the Southern Baptist Church. The first service was held on April 5, 1931, with 250 to 275 members on Mulliken and Spring Streets.
After moving to several locations during the depression years, Pastor Coel’s health began to fail. Rev. James R. Grant was asked to take up the mantle. After Pastor Coel’s death on June 21, 1937, Rev. James R. Grant was elected pastor.
The church grew under Pastor Grant’s leadership and became state incorporated in 1941 and was able to purchase the building at Bond and Preston Street in 1942. Because of the growth, the membership decided to purchase the 1700 block of Chester Street property with the God-given mission to build a new edifice.
Rev. Nathaniel Higgs was called by God and preached his trial sermon under Rev. Grant. In November 1966, Rev. Higgs was elected Pastor after Pastor Grant was called from earth to reward on October 4, 1965. Under his leadership, the church took on many innovations such as, developing choirs, expanding ministries and being first to create an Early Morning Worship. Through prayer and the grace of God, Southern kept moving forward. On June 4, 1072, under the guidance of Pastor Nathaniel Higgs, the congregation moved from Preston and Bond Street to 1701 North Chester Street. On June 5, 1977, we burned a 30-year mortgage in four years and 11 months. At the turn of a new millennium, the church built the Cole, Grant, and Higgs Senior Housing Complex, providing sixty units of senior housing.
On Sunday, October 6, 2002, Rev. Donté Hickman was presented to the congregation as the newly elected pastor. On January 1, 2003, Pastor Hickman and the leadership/membership created a mission statement for the church, reconstructed and expanded ministries, and remodeled the church to maximize the ministry’s capacity and capabilities. Through his God-inspired leadership, Pastor Hickman has extended the church’s outreach to local and global evangelism through community outreach, broadcast services, as well as capturing the souls of our entire state through Multisite Ministry. We are now, “One Church in Multiple Locations.”