In the fall of 1969, four committed couples began meeting in homes with Rev. Earl Umbaugh, to pray about starting a church on the southside of Springfield, OH. That following Spring, Southgate Baptist Church held its first service in the Perrin Woods elementary school cafeteria with a group of about 40 people. Following his graduation from Dallas Theological Seminary, Joe Stowell became Southgate’s first pastor.
In 1971, Pastor Stowell, along with 110 charter members adopted the Church Constitution, Articles of Faith, and Church Covenant. The church officially became Southgate Baptist Church of Springfield, OH. The group now moved to the gymnasium at Perrin Woods school. In less than a year, attendance had reached 200 and plans were made to break ground for their own building.
Through the sacrificial giving of many, funds were provided to buy a 3 acre building site at 2111 South Center Blvd. for $27,000. In 1973, groundbreaking took place for Phase 1 of a 400 seat sanctuary, ten classrooms, nurseries, library, fellowship hall, and offices.
The first Sunday in the new building on February 3, 1974 was attended by 468 people crammed into the pews. Pastor Stowell accepted a call to pastor at Bible Baptist Church in Kokomo, IN. He went on to become president of Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL and president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI.
In 1978, Rev. John R. Greening was called as the second senior pastor. As the rapid growth continued, the need for a Christian Education wing became apparent. Phase 2 of the building program was proposed in 1983 and included a new entrance and foyer on the southwest side of the church, 7 classrooms, nurseries, with a fellowship hall and kitchen on the second floor. Risers were built to make the existing fellowship hall into a balcony, adding 150-180 seats to the auditorium.
Average attendance at worship services was about 900, so in 1990, a decision was made for Phase 3 expansion to include a 1200 seat sanctuary, an office complex, and more education space.
In 1991, Pastor Greening made the decision to accept a pastorate in Richland, WA. Southgate then extended a call to Rev. James Vogel. Work began on the building expansion and the phase 3 building was dedicated on April 18, 1993. 1,263 attendees joined the first service in the new auditorium.
In 1995, Pastor Jim Vogel accepted a call to South Baptist Church in Flint, MI. Eric Mounts was then called as the fourth pastor of Southgate Baptist Church where he served faithfully for 16 years. Then in 2012, Bobby Hile became the fifth senior pastor at Southgate after spending 18 years on the mission field in South Africa. Southgate had supported Bobby and his wife Sara for over 14 years prior to their coming.
April 2020 marks an exciting celebration of “50 Years of God’s Faithfulness”. Southgate Baptist Church continues to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ on the southside of Springfield.