20/20 Vision

Learn about Southside's 2020 Vision for a New Decade!

Our Vision
2020, January - March

LARGE GROUP FOCUS


We believe that both our identity and activities as a people of faith depend upon who God says we are and what God instructs (and empowers) us to do! Anything built on a poor foundation will crumble. Because of this, our 2020 Focus begins with a focus on Large Group assembly - where the church is most visible!


MOVEMENT 1: LARGE GROUP

Our process has Large Group assembly as the entrance point for our Discipleship Pathway. This point is the broadest gathering, welcome to all - members and guests, Christians and others, who want to hear from God!


Why start with Large Groups?

A church is not well served if it has members committed to a small group, ministry or mission, but those members are not found gathering together in the Large Group assembly of the church! This is why Large Group assembly is prioritized first. Unless providentially hindered, ALL members gather together faithfully as a Large Group of Christians.

This Large Group assembly reflects the biblical appeal for the church to GATHER and all the benefits that come with it:

Hebrews 10:24–25 (ESV)

24 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.


The preaching (hearing, receiving, believing, and obeying) of God's word takes place during this Large Group gathering and reminds us of who we are and what we are to do as the Gospel is proclaimed every week! God's word is also spoken and sung. The church prays and gives. In doing so, the remaining movements of the Discipleship Pathway (small groups, ministry, mission) are supported, given place to thrive, and launched.


What is Southside doing in this Large Group Focus?

As we began the decade, we continued to align our Large Group assembly around God's word, tracing the power (and empowerment) of the Holy Spirit available for God’s people in a preaching series through the book of Acts.

At the same time, we embarked together on a series of seminars called “Southside Trains...

On Wednesday nights, we were introduced to Realm and began learning how to use technology to communicate with one another, take attendance, keep track of giving, check in children and organize ministry groups.

The progress we made set in motion the building of an infrastructure for accountability and connectivity, valuable for walking through our vision steps together as a membership. It also has prepared our church administratively for new members to come! We glimpsed the capabilities of leveraging technology to communicate better and minister together more effectively.

We also journeyed through MinistrySafe training, learning what it means to be a church that protects her Gospel witness by caring for the most vulnerable among us (along with the volunteers and workers serving them). We were trained in Sexual Abuse Prevention and Awareness and our eyes were opened to the opportunities around us for constant evaluation and improvement. Employees, workers and volunteers in our Family, Youth and Children’s Ministries spent extra time training to bring all of us up to date in the new policies and procedures that will protect our church and ministries in the decade ahead. That work continues.

Finally, we began church-wide Evangelism Training using The Way of the Master. In a few short sessions, we learned how to cultivate a compassion for the lost and present the message of salvation in Jesus using a biblical method of “law to the proud, grace to the humble.” We learned a lost secret of effective evangelism in the use of the Ten Commandments to break the proud heart, expose sin, and silence the mouth in order to offer the healing message of grace to a ready and broken heart. That learning continues.

Effective ministry and mission depends upon a right understanding of the gospel and the ability of God's people to communicate it! While the Holy Spirit helps us in this work, it is our responsibility as a church to learn and practice gospel conversations as a priority before launching into mission projects without this essential foundation.

2020, March - April

In mid-March, the COVID-19 epidemic became a pandemic and wreaked havoc all over the world in terms of lives, healths and economies. Many people became (and are becoming) sick. Many have (and continue) to die from this new virus. Data shows that while this disease can adversely affect anyone of any age, there is one group affected the most — known as vulnerable individuals.

Since March, a continuous flow of ever-evolving restrictions and guidelines have emerged from leaders and health officials with ideas for limiting the spread of this virus and keeping people (especially those most vulnerable) safe.

In response, Southside Baptist Church did exactly what Christians do — we continued to love God and love our neighbors, even while honoring the guidance (and at times, requirements) of authorities that we suspend all-in person gatherings and close the building and work from home.

Put simply, we adapted and continued GATHERING and GIVING.

We continued to GATHER together every week in a new way - online in both Large and some Small Groups. We continued to GIVE our time and resources in Ministry to one another through prayer, encouragement, and at times meeting needs (even obligations of our own congregation by sending tithes and offerings in the mail and giving online). We continued to give on Mission by embodying the Great Commandments of Jesus: loving God and our neighbor, being witnesses for Jesus to our smaller communities of family, next-door neighbors and even friends online.

Southside Baptist Church continues to be the Church — at least, one local expression of it! We are not closed. We are not cancelled. Our activities continue in different ways for a season, but those things that are most important continue uninterrupted.

Adaptability is one of the defining marks of maturity for God’s people. Times like this are not new or unique to us. This virus and its aftermath cannot stop Christ’s Church — not even the gates of Hell will prevail!

The Realm technology we began to implement has enabled the Church Office to effectively operate remotely, as has been beneficial during this season. Calls are forwarded to mobile phones and answered or returned. Nothing has changed significantly for the administration and operation of Southside’s Office, with the exception of in-person visits, which we have intentionally limited. This is a credit to Southside's willingness to adapt and utilize the leading church resource technology available.

The Church Office continues to operate remotely and at times, on-site. This limits the potential spread of the virus among church employees, members and guests. It also keeps Southside’s facility clean and sanitized. Until the church begins to gather again in the building, we will keep access to the building limited to essential facility maintenance and office personnel, who will abide by the recommended health protocols, distancing and hygiene practices. This policy enables the church to steward her facility and associated ministry dollars efficiently. Any who wish to bring an offering by the church are encouraged to call ahead (256) 353-8814. Pastor Christopher may be reached at (256) 274-1780. Your ministers and staff are accessible, reachable, and continue to work through this season on administrative upgrades, planning, pastoral care and the ministry of God’s Word.

On Easter Sunday, we began a new preaching series through the book of Hebrews — online. As a result, we are now better reaching people outside the walls of our building with more online engagement than ever before! Hebrews, just as the first sermon of this year, is challenging us to persevere in faithful obedience to the Lord. It is a timely study that I pray is benefiting you as much as it is me! The point is this — ministry of God’s Word and the prayers of God’s people remain unchanged. The Church is being reminded that the most important gathering is the one in the home.

2020, Present

While many things have changed for a season, the essentials have not. God has not changed! His Church has not changed. His Spirit continues to indwell us and guide us into truth. God’s throne of grace remains accessible. God’s power and authority remain limitless and total. God’s grace remains sufficient for this day as always. Our future in Christ has not changed.

What then should we do? As the Lord is teaching us in Hebrews, let us continue to persevere in FAITH! Everything we do as a Church must be done in faith. God is challenging us as a people to move forward in faith.

Southside’s history boasts great days in the past, but Southside’s greatest days are yet to be! And those days involve you, the people God has called together for such a time as this! As a point of doctrine, the Church is not an organization or building — the Church is a people The faith you demonstrate now will build the foundation for the faith generations walk in tomorrow.

As we press on, we know this — it will be our faith that God blesses — faith to do those things that are otherwise impossible, believing God to make a way when there seems to be no way! You have a part right now in the journey of faith God is leading us into. Begin now to pray about your faith. The journey ahead will require faithfulness, determination and courage from each one of us!

Join the Process!

Begin learning how God is speaking to Southside Baptist Church through the preaching of His Word!

Preaching