A Pictorial History of the Springfield Baptist Church (SBC)
The history of the Springfield Baptist Church (SBC), like every Christian congregation, finds its origin in the year 33 A.D.( Anno Domino - The Year of our Lord) by the events recorded in the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.
When the day of Pentecost had arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like that of a violent rushing wind came from heaven, and it filled the whole house where they were staying. 3 And tongues, like flames of fire that were divided, appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in different languages, as the Spirit gave them ability for speech. Acts 2:1-4
Springfield locates its origin within the Biblical narrative as an authentic extension of the New Testament church which supersedes any ethnic or denominational identity. We are the ecclesia, “the called out ones”, for contemporary times yet our foundation is firmly established in the wisdom of God’s Word.
SBC was founded during the turbulent post civil war period in American History when Union occupation of the former Confederate states had come to an abrupt end through a political compromise known largely as “The Great Betrayal” or the Compromise of 1877. This period when federal troops were withdrawn, saw African Americans losing ground with voting rights, public safety, education and other basic human rights as southern leaders sought to restore “old south” traditions and ideology. Against the backdrop of this formidable struggle, former slaves began to call on the name of the Lord on the banks of the Yellow River in Newton County, laying the foundation for what we now affectionately call Springfield. SBC of Covington/Conyers, Georgia, was organized by Rev. Joe Sims. The newly established congregation met one Sunday per month and served as the spiritual tabernacle for former slaves and sharecroppers in Newton & Rockdale Counties in Georgia.
SBC was a founding congregation and active participant in the historic Yellow River Missionary Baptist Association. For the greater part of a century, the Yellow River Missionary Baptist Association was the premier regional convocation for African American churches throughout the eastern metropolitan Atlanta area. Springfield provided leadership and facilitated various conventions and training sessions. What follows is a partial list of church involvement within the association: Bald Rock, Chapel First, Double Springs, Shady Grove, Little Vine, Macedonia, Millers Grove, New Hope, Peeks Chapel, St. Paul, Union and Union Springs Baptist Churches.
Historic Springfield & Cemetery - 1900
1919 Harold Dobbs Road, Oxford, GA – (2.4 Acre)
SBC was built in the early 1900s and met one Sunday per month. The wood frame building was a primary resource for Newton County residents. In 1941, SBC housed the segregated public school for African American residents. The school served children from primary school through eighth grade in the one room schoolhouse until 1951.
SBC experienced sufficient growth to enable the implementation of several capital improvements. Springfield began to worship two times per month. The old wood-framed church house on Harold Dobbs road was bricked-in for preservation and aesthetic beauty. A public address (PA) system was installed along with padded pews.
Expansion - September 1987
1120 Crowell Road (3.298 Acres)
Under the leadership of Pastor C.H. Glover, on Sunday, September 13,1987, SBC moved their location from 1919 Harold Dobbs Road to its newly constructed 500 seat sanctuary located at 1120 Crowell Road. It also included the expansion of Sunday school classrooms, church membership, church ministries, outreach initiatives (Food & Clothes Pantry) and worship services increased to four times a month.
New Leadership for the New Millennium
SBC has benefited from stable pastoral leadership afforded by extensive tenures. Though founded in 1879, Springfield has only had 9 pastors/interim pastors (listed in chronological order): (1) Founding Pastor Joe Sims; (2) Rev. R.B. Carr; (3) Rev. A.O. Robinson; (4) Rev. Rutledge; (5) Rev. T.D. Dorsey; (6) Rev. James Brown; (7) Rev. A.L. Weaver, (8) Rev. C.H. Glover; (9) Pastor Eric W. Lee 1999-present.
By January of 2000, SBC had experienced explosive GROWTH and the new millennium presented the inroads for full-time ministry. SBC grew from 162 members to over 500. In May of 2001, SBC instituted both an 8:00 AM & 11:00 AM worship service to continue to facilitate GROWTH. In May of 2002, the Springfield Christian Academy opened to provide childcare services for preschool.
Once again SBC experienced the need to explore its options to provide more space to accommodate GROWTH. SBC began the search for a permanent site for new church campus development.
Project Gilgal - September 2004
Acquired Sockwell Road Property (37.94 Acres vacant Land)
The land was purchased from a Pentecostal Pastor, Rev. Leroy Doughty, whose family had held the land for more than 35 years. Sensing the move of God, Pastor Doughty offered the purchase of the land to SBC after a 30 minute conversation with Pastor Lee.
At the conclusion of 2004, SBC struggled for space to address short term GROWTH. On December 26, 2004, Springfield began a partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Conyers, GA, to accommodate a third worship service. By June of 2005, it was apparent that more space would be needed.
Enlarge My Territory 2005-2009
Acquired 3001 Old Salem Road, Conyers, GA
In September of 2005, SBC entered into contract to purchase an existing 49,000 square foot church facility at 3001 Old Salem Road in Conyers, GA, positioned on 8.89 acres of land. SBC was given 90 days to raise $500,000 for the down payment on $3.5 million purchase. On November 30, 2005, SBC completed the sale of the building. SBC held its first worship service in its new facility on Sunday, December 25, 2005.
SBC had surpassed every industry indicator that defines mega-church ministry. SBC’s membership had grown to over 4,800 and served with 29 ministries, inclusive of Community Outreach and New Members Orientation; Men’s/Women’s and Couples/Singles Ministries; generational Ministries for Seniors, Youth (Teens), Children’s and Athletics; along with abounding Worship Ministries through Dance, Music, Drama and more, with a sensitivity toward age and gender inclusiveness as well as its’ bookstore. In addition to the Senior Pastor, both a Children’s and Youth pastor actively served the Kingdom Kids (children) and Joshua Generation (teens).
In an additional effort to facilitate GROWTH, SBC entered into an agreement with the Newton County School System to rent the Porterdale Auditorium to accommodate a third Sunday morning worship service.
GLORY Campaign 2009-2012
SBC courageously began a capital stewardship campaign during the Great Recession beginning on Saturday, September 19, 2009 through Sunday, December 30, 2012. Psalm 72:19 and the acronym GLORY was provided to shape the vision for the campaign.
Psalm 72:19 - And let the whole earth be filled with His glory. Amen and Amen.
With the training and assistance of the Injoy Stewardship Services, SBC sought to raise $2.5 million and by the time God provided a new campus, more than $3 million had been raised. During this campaign (2010), SBC also acquired additional vacant land on Iris Drive East on the Rockdale/Newton county line (32 Acres).
During the planning and development process of the three year GLORY campaign and the downturn of our economy, SBC explored and seized the opportunity to acquire the property located at 1873-1877 Iris Drive in Conyers, GA.
Expansion - April, 2012 - May 2014
Relocated Permanent Location at 1873-1877 Iris Drive
• 42.74+ acres – 4 Buildings
• 103,000 sq. ft. Sanctuary (2500+), Ministry support offices, Café, Bookstore, Nursery Rooms. (30,000 sq. ft. unfinished)
• 30,000 sq. ft. Children’s Bldg. Sanctuary (700+), Day Care, Multiple Classrooms, Administrative Offices, Game Room
• 15,000+ sq. ft. Family Life Center Sanctuary seats (500), Café, Administrative Offices
• 4,500+ sq. ft. Storage Building
❖ Children’s playgrounds, pool & baseball field
❖ 786+ Paved parking spaces
❖ 1,586 ft of street frontage on Iris Dr
G.R.O.W.T.H. - 2013
Through its extensive history, the word GROWTH continues to emerge as a central theme. In 2013, SBC embraced the acronym GROWTH as a celebration of its history and direction for its future. The core values and Biblical pillars of the church (contained in Acts 2) that have guided SBC and will continue to direct its path is G.R.O.W.T.H.
Growing through God's Word (Christian Education)
Reconnecting Generations (Fellowship)
Operating in our Spiritual Gifts (Discipleship)
Winning the Community (Evangelism)
Tithing in Love and Obedience to our God (Stewardship)
Helping to Empower the World (Service)
Springfield Campus Closing - December 18, 2013
Springfield completed the real estate transaction to acquire the Kingdom campus. The $12 million purchase required $2.5 million to be delivered at the closing. With God’s help, Pastor Lee and the Board of Directors - Chairwoman Aurnita Shepherd, Treasurer - Deacon Leroy Nolley, Assistant Treasurer - Deacon Gregory Monfort, Secretary - Deacon Jeff Terrell and Deacon Harold Davis were able to deliver these dedicated funds raised by disciples and friends of Springfield Baptist Church for closing. To God be the Glory for the things God has done. To date, SBC has grown to more than 7,000 members, accumulated 115 acres of property and more than 155,000 square feet with which to facilitate God’s GROWTH. To whom much is given, much is required, the best is yet to come.
Springfield Baptist Church Campus Dedicatory Services - April 26- May 4, 2014
Supernatural achievements should be followed by supernatural celebrations. SBC’s dedicatory services were patterned after Solomon’s dedication of Temple in the Old Testament. The week began with a 24 hour prayer vigil and ended with communion. In between, SBC hosted international evangelist Bishop T.D. Jakes and national church leader Bishop Walter Scott Thomas.
Springfield Baptist Church - The G.R.O.W.T.H. continues…