About Us

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Education: Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (DMin Homiletics); Biblical Theological Seminary (MA New Testament); Bob Jones University (BA Bible)

Ministry Experience: Served as an associate pastor in OH [1975-1980] Senior Pastorates: Cambridge, OH [1980]; Lancaster, PA [1983]; Greenville, MI [1990]; South Church, Lansing, MI [1995 to present]

Spouse: Nancy Denyes

Family: Five daughters and six grandsons!

Hobbies: Golf, baseball, biking, and travel. And don't forget the books!

Honors: Graduated with Honors in NT studies at Biblical Seminary

Board Member: Cornerstone University, Grand Rapids [1997 to present], Asia Biblical Theological Seminary

Adjunct Professor of Homiletics: Grand Rapids Theological Seminary [2005 to present]

Testimony: During my teen years I attended a home Bible study which was led by a friend whom I greatly admired. One November night as the gospel was shared, I was under deep conviction and eagerly gave my heart to Christ. Hungry for growth and God’s Word, I began attending a strong Bible-believing church where I was spiritually fed by a wonderful, godly pastor. Soon I was leading Bible studies in my high school, working with Youth for Christ, and serving in my local church. Feeling that God was calling me into the ministry, I sought further preparation in Bible College.

517.322.2000 ext. # 107

Born and raised: Wilmington, Ohio

Education: Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary (MDiv); Cedarville University (BA)

Ministry Experience: Traveling gospel teams and student chaplain at Cedarville College (now University); chaplain in student affairs department of Cornerstone University; senior pastor at First Baptist Church of Okemos for 15 years; pastoral team here at South Church since 2004 and serving now as executive pastor for ministries

Spouse: Becky Phillips

Hobbies: Reading, golf, racquetball, extreme croquet

Honors: Graduated with honor with a Master of Divinity degree from Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary (GRBS); ordained to the ministry of the gospel in 1999; review articles published by The Gospel Coalition website

Community Activities: Board member for the Lansing City Rescue Mission; leading chapel services at Grand Haven Living Center

Testimony: I came to faith in Christ as a freshman in high school, and my ongoing discipleship continued during my time at Cedarville. During that time also, I believe God called me to pastoral ministry, leading me to further preparation at GRBS.

517.322.2000 ext. # 109

Born and raised: Escanaba, MI

Education: Western Conservative Baptist Seminary (MDiv); Western Michigan University (BA History; Political Science)

Ministry Experience: Campus Crusade for Christ at University of Iowa from '75 to '79; pastoral intern for singles ministry at Hinson Memorial Baptist Church in Portland, Oregon '83 thru '85; pastoral intern for singles ministry at South Evangelical Presbyterian Fellowship in Denver, CO; College Pastor at Indian Hills Community Church in Lincoln, NE from '86 to '88; College Pastor at South Church since September 1, 1988.

Hobbies: Mini golf, basketball, tennis, downhill skiing, football, running, reading western novels by Louis L'Amour

Testimony: I'm a native Yooper. I appreciate that I grew up in a committed Catholic home where I knew about God, but I didn't fully understand what it meant to know Christ. I thought life was works-based, that if I followed the Ten Commandments I would get into heaven. When I went to college at Western Michigan University, I had two roommates who were born-again believers and I saw a close friend come to Christ. A Campus Crusade staff member shared the gospel with me, highlighting my need to trust in Christ's provision on the cross and my need to give my life to Christ. I did make the decision to receive Christ, and as it says in John 1:12, "Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God." I was faithfully followed-up with and discipled, and was able to lead friends to Christ.

517.322.2000 ext. # 118

Raised: Woodstock, IL

Education: University of Southern California (MA Music Composition); Eastern Illinois University (BA Music Composition); Ministerial License from the Evangelical Free Church of America

Ministry Experience: Pastor of Worship Ministries at South since February 2011; Worship Pastor in an Evangelical Free church in Cleveland, OH for seven years; Cornerstone Community Church in Pasadena, CA from 2002-2003; For Heaven’s Sake—vocalist for non-profit music ministry that performed music workshops in high schools and performed concerts and led worship in churches throughout the Midwest, from 1993-1998.

Other Musical Endeavors: Conductor/Artistic Director of the Steiner Chorale, Contributing Arranger for PraiseCharts.com and Sovereign Grace Music.

Spouse: Carol Felgenhour (married since 2000)

Kids: Son Ari, daughter Kiran, son Asher

Hobbies: Paintball, camping, reading, WWII Naval history and gaming, sport shooting, Frisbee

Honors: Commission, Co-composed underscore for Hall of Crucifixion-Resurrection, Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale California (2006)

Testimony: My mother introduced me to Jesus Christ when I was nine years old. I grew up Lutheran, but stopped attending church soon after my Confirmation. When I arrived at Eastern Illinois University, I was welcomed by several believers, among them Dave John, an aggressive evangelist and student leader in Campus Crusade. He took me through the Four Spiritual Laws, and I dedicated my life to Christ in my dorm room in October of 1991.

517.322.2000 ext. # 117

Born and raised: Holland, MI, spent time living in Seattle, WA and Kijabe Kenya, East Africa

Education: Moody Bible Institute (BA Youth Ministry; secondary education Bible teaching certificate)

Ministry Experience: Jr. High student ministries at South since June 2002

Spouse: Shannon Wayner

Kids: Maliya, Joshua, Avery, Rylie, and Tate

Hobbies: All sports, especially golf

Testimony: I was raised in a Christian home, with parents who were deeply committed to Christ. From the time I was born, church was a major part of my life, as was Bible study and worship. I remember praying for salvation when I was 3 at our home in Seattle, WA. As much as I could understand what Christ had done for me, I believed with all my heart at that time. As I grew older and my parents and the church continued to teach me, my understanding of Christ and his death and resurrection as a substitution for my sin (so that His righteousness could be given to me) continued to grow. I'm a work in progress, but continue to understand more fully each day the depth of Christ's love for me, and the depth of my sin which he has saved me from. The teaching of pastors Don, Doug, Ben and others continue to challenge me, along with personal Bible study. South has been an incredible place of growth for me, and I am excited to be a part of the ministry team here at South which is having such an impact on so many lives.

517.322.2000 ext. # 123

Born and raised: New Baltimore, MI

Education: Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, concentration in missional studies); Ferris State University (BS Criminal Justice and graduate of the police academy)

Ministry Experience: Youth Pastor in the Chicago area; ministry residency for a church plant called Paseo Christian Church in El Paso, Texas

Spouse: Cariann

Children: Ariyah, Willow

Hobbies: Going off-roading in his jeep, golfing

Testimony: It was in my middle school years that I really had my first exposure to the Gospel and to church, through a youth group bowling event. That was the start of my attending church to hear God’s Word (even though I was the only one from my family to do so). It was on a Sunday morning that I responded to an altar call and made my commitment to follow Christ. Soon after, as I grew as a Christ-follower, I also became a key leader in my youth group, encouraged and mentored by my youth pastor and a couple of the key volunteers in the youth ministry. During the summer between my junior and senior years of high school, I worked with a ministry called Mission Arlington (in Texas), an experience that challenged me spiritually and physically, teaching me to rely on God more deeply than I ever had before. It was during that summer of ministry that I sensed God’s call to full-time pastoral ministry.

517.322.2000 ext. 127

Children's Ministry Director for Early Childhood and AWANA

Born and raised: Lansing, MI

Education: Wheaton College (BA Elementary Education)

Ministry Experience: Children’s Ministry Director since 2000. I work closely with my co-director, Heidi Cheney. I also enjoy teaching the K–2nd graders on Sunday nights each week during the school year.

Spouse: John Risch (married since June 1987)

Kids: Cody and Callie

Testimony: I accepted the Lord as my personal savior as a young child. Through my teen years I really began to understand what it meant to live a Christ-like life. As a young mom in 1990 I attended my first women’s Bible study… I’ve been hooked ever since! Studying God’s Word on my own and then discussing what I’m learning with a small group of women has been a wonderful experience for me.

517.322.2000 etx. # 122

Born and raised: New York; Texas; Haslett, Michigan

Education: Michigan State University (BA Music Education); Bob Jones University

Ministry Experience: Co-Director of Children’s Ministry at South since 2003

Spouse: John Cheney

Kids: Daughter Taylor is married to Michael and their son is Grayson

Hobbies: Reading, organizing, planning parties, being a grandma

Community Activities: Love my growth group and giving oversight to the T&T program in Awana

Testimony: At the age of seven, my pastor preached a Sunday evening message about trusting in Christ for salvation. That night, I listened like I had never listened before, and when we got in the car to go home, I told my mom that I wanted to talk to the pastor. We went back into the church where he talked with me and I prayed the prayer to trust in Christ’s work on the cross to cleanse my sin. Praise the Lord—I have never doubted my salvation since! The Holy Spirit convicts me of sin and I try to stay in the Word daily to know God’s truth.

517.322.2000 ext. # 124

Born and raised: Grew up in Casper, Wyoming, attended college at San Diego State University

Education: Registered Nurse

Ministry Experience: Children’s Leader and Children’s Supervisor in Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) for 11 years. Disaster Response Nurse with Samaritan’s Purse since 2010, Crisis Response Counselor certification, Transport Nurse with Children’s Heart Project/Samaritan’s Purse.

Spouse: Chuck

Children: Twins; Brooklyn and Braden

Hobbies: reading, biking, softball, hiking, kayaking

Community Activities: South Medical Team coordinator, VBS Bible Teacher

Testimony: I grew up going to church on Sundays, but I didn’t have much knowledge of who God really was or that I could have a personal relationship with him. I really began seeking to know God more and reading my Bible after my dad died in a plane crash and I needed comfort and answers from God’s word. My life was completely transformed by knowing a deeper relationship with Christ, and living under His word. I have been working as a disaster response nurse since 2010 and that has drastically changed my perspective and passion. I’ve come to know a bigger God as I trust him in hard times while seeing great suffering in the world. Working at South has also been a blessing as I labor side by side with staff that is passionate about helping others grow in their faith and learn more about who Jesus is.

517.322.2000 ext. 115

Education: Grace College and Theological Seminary (D.Min. in progress); Central Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.); Pillsbury Baptist Bible College (B.S. Bible)

Ministry Experience: Served as youth pastor in Minnesota (5 years); English teacher and missionary/pastor in Japan (9 years); senior pastor in St. Johns, Michigan (5 years); Chief Operations Officer at Student Statesmanship Institute (3 years); Pastor for Outreach and Discipleship at South Church since 2018.

Spouse: Naomi

Family: Three-generations/one roof—Lily (daughter), Isaac (son), Sam and Eva (parents-in-law)

Hobbies: College football and basketball sports fan, working out at the Michigan Athletic Club, reading, Bible memory, board games with Lily and Isaac, and backgammon with Naomi.

Honors: Ordained in 2009; Dale Carnegie Highest Award for Achievement 2014

Community Activities: Lansing City Rescue Mission volunteer; Opportunity Group member, quarterly speaker at Mount Zion All Nations Bible Church

Testimony: When the church doors were open, I was there; perched in the front row next to my brother. But after elementary school, I slipped into rebellion against both my parents and the church. What could cure a cold heart like mine? The words of scripture—specifically 2 Chronicles 7:14

“If my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”

The Bible continues to guide me and inform my choices as I move forward in my relationship with God. My passion is to use my education, gifts, and life experiences at home and abroad be to an ambassador for Jesus Christ and inspire others to do the same.

517.322.2000 ext. # 110

Born and raised: Wixom, MI

Education: Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (MDiv); Michigan State University (BA Political Science)

Ministry Experience: College Ministry Intern with Neil Odgers for five years; Pastoral Intern at South for one year

Spouse: Kate Sova

Children: Owen, Isabel

Hobbies: Reading, hanging out with friends, watching sports

Testimony: I was raised by Christian parents. Growing up we attended a small Baptist church in the Metro Detroit area. While I had much exposure to the gospel it was not until I attended a baptism class that I first really understood it. At that point I realized Christ's death on the cross was the only thing standing between me--a sinner--and the wrath of God. Since then God has continued to demonstrate His faithfulness to me by patiently but persistently convicting me of my sin and allowing me to repent and enjoy fellowship with Him.
517.322.2000 ext. 128

Ministry Assistant to Pastor Denyes and Pastor Phillips; Director of Legacy Ministries

Born and raised: Born and raised in Minnesota, I am a midwestern girl at heart. However the Lord has taken William and I to live in interesting and varied places together: Missouri, Washington D.C., Florida, California, and London! We have lived in Lansing since 2002 and happily call it home.

Education: University of Iowa (BA Marketing)

Ministry Experience: Board member of Salt and Light Global, an academic and humanitarian ministry equipping Christians to engage the culture for the glory of God; Precept Upon Precept Bible Study student and leader since 2002; Lansing City Rescue Mission chapel teacher since 2010.

Spouse: William

Kids: Nicole and Luke

Hobbies: Cooking, hiking, training our puppy, and kayaking (more floating than paddling)

Testimony: I spent many years doing all the things I could think of that "good people" do. I had religion, but no relationship. God graciously brought me to a place where I understood just how helpless I was and how much I needed a Savior. Having given my life to Jesus Christ, he is Lord and I praise him for his love and mercy and grace!


517.322.2000 ext. # 106

Born and Raised: I was born in Austin, MN and raised in Elkhart, Indiana

Education: BA Communications - Cornerstone University (Grand Rapids Baptist College)
Masters of Religious Education - Grand Rapids Theological Seminary

Ministry Experience: I have been the Women’s Ministry Director at South Church since 2004. From 1998-2002 I led Children’s Ministries in Okemos, Michigan.

Spouse: Doug Phillips, the Executive Pastor of Ministries at South, and I met in seminary and were married in 1998.

Hobbies: Traveling, being involved in missions, creating wearable art and teaching.

Testimony: I grew up in a ‘ministry’ home. My father, Leroy Sheveland, was an evangelist and missionary. My two brothers are pastors and my mother was a gifted bible teacher. To say my upbringing was saturated with gospel truth is an understatement and yet it is fresh everyday as I am reminded of the grace of God. My greatest joy is helping train and equip women at South and in South Asia.

517-322-200 ext. 312

Raised: Reynoldsburg, OH (near Columbus)

Education: Ashland University (Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Business Administration)

Ministry Experience: 25 years of experience with The Navigators (since 1997)

Spouse: Laura Parks (married since 2001)

Kids: Dawson, Mary-Elizabeth, Anna, Elijah, Lincoln

Hobbies: Cooking

Testimony: I came to faith at a Rick Cua concert at age 15. When i was in college is where I really became rooted in my faith and realized my call to colligate ministry. My life verse is I Thes. 2:8 "so we cared for you. Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well."


Born and raised: McMinnville, OR

Education: Clackamas Community College

Hobbies: Writing and Recording Music, Cooking, Playing Video Games

Testimony: Born into a Christian household, I accepted Christ and was baptized at 8 years old. During my youth, I became aware of a calling on my life -- to serve in worship ministry. After many years of serving in a number of different volunteer roles, my wife and I felt called to "step out of the boat" and follow where the Lord would lead us. Shortly thereafter, I accepted my first full-time ministry position and moved myself and my young wife to Haslett, Michigan. After 7 months, the Lord lead me to apply for and accept this position here at South. My life verse is Proverbs 16:9, " The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps."

517.322.2000 ext. # 223

Born and raised: Lansing, MI

Education: Calvin Seminary (ThM); Grand Rapids Theological Seminary (MTS); Michigan State University (BA)

Spouse: Melanie Seal

Kids: Tyler, Abby, Brody

Hobbies: Reading, running

Testimony: I trusted Christ as my personal savior at age six. It was not until my teen years that I understood the full implication of that faith. I fully realized my sin kept me from knowing God personally and that Jesus’ death and redemption made that relationship possible. This relationship requires obedience to God’s call in all areas of my life. My Christian experience has shown me the faithfulness of God. As I have learned about the character of God and his Son I have tried to incorporate that into my day to day living. I have tried, although not always successfully, to demonstrate in my relationships what it means to be a member of the redeemed community.

517.322.2000 ext. # 112

Ministry Assistant to Kathy Risch, Heidi Cheney, and Kelly Sites, and for Missions

Born and raised: Illinois, been in Michigan since 9th grade (except Indiana for college)

Education: Fort Wayne Bible College

Ministry Experience: At South since 2001

Spouse: Tim Bassett

Kids: Son Jordan and daughter Rachel

Hobbies: Photography (kids at South call me the camera lady!) and scrapbooking

Testimony: I was saved and baptized as a child, rededicated my life in college, and I continue to grow and see where God leads – it’s an amazing journey!

517.322.2000 ext. # 103

Ministry Assistant to Corb Felgenhour

Born and raised: Leslie, Michigan

Education: School of Life

Hobbies: Composing & Recording, Story Telling, Gaming, Frisbee

Testimony: Raised as a “Pastors Kid,” I came to my senses by the age of 16 and embraced Christ as my everything. I have worked in various churches since that time as a worship leader and youth counselor. Through every trial, Christ has kept me and I will continue to thank Him for His unending, faithful care.

517.322.2000 ext. # 125

Ministry Assistant to Dave Seal

Born and raised: Hope, Arkansas

Education: Bishop College and University of Santa Monica, CA (Master of Arts Program Spiritual Psychology)

Ministry Experience: I have been blessed to serve in numerous church leadership positions including church treasurer, board of trustees, and mortgage liquidation committee chair-person at Friendship Baptist Church before joining the South family. I was also privileged to serve in the capacity of Bible Study Fellowship children's leader and discussion group leader, as well as lead a weekly small group Bible study in my home.

Spouse: Emmett (married since 1966)

Kids: Anthony and Sonja, four grandchildren, and two great-grand children

Hobbies: Flower gardening and reading

Community Activities: I volunteer at the Lansing City Rescue Mission Family Center

Testimony: I was blessed to be raised in a Christian home and at a very early age developed an insatiable appetite for reading God's word. At the age of twelve I confessed Christ as my personal Lord and Savior during a summer revival meeting at our church. I was baptized and have experienced a deep and abiding love for God every day since, culminating with an intense desire to serve in my later years.

517.322.2000 ext. # 108

Born and raised: Born in Lansing, MI. Raised in Eaton Rapids, MI

Education: Lansing Community College (Associates degree in drafting and design); builders license

Ministry Experience: I have had the privilege to serve in various church leadership positions.

Spouse: Tami Harrison (married since 1997)

Kids: Caleb, Moriah, Logan, Bree, Claire

Hobbies: Watching/playing sports and coaching kids’ soccer

Testimony: My family started to attend church regularly when I was nine years old. Soon thereafter, I accepted Jesus as my Savior. In high school we started to attend South Church and I was really grounded in the Word and equipped through the college group here at South.

517.322.2000 ext. # 303

Ministry Assistant to Pastor Denyes and Pastor Phillips; Director of Legacy Ministries

Born and raised: Born and raised in Minnesota, I am a midwestern girl at heart. However the Lord has taken William and I to live in interesting and varied places together: Missouri, Washington D.C., Florida, California, and London! We have lived in Lansing since 2002 and happily call it home.

Education: University of Iowa (BA Marketing)

Ministry Experience: Board member of Salt and Light Global, an academic and humanitarian ministry equipping Christians to engage the culture for the glory of God; Precept Upon Precept Bible Study student and leader since 2002; Lansing City Rescue Mission chapel teacher since 2010.

Spouse: William

Kids: Nicole and Luke

Hobbies: Cooking, hiking, training our puppy, and kayaking (more floating than paddling)

Testimony: I spent many years doing all the things I could think of that "good people" do. I had religion, but no relationship. God graciously brought me to a place where I understood just how helpless I was and how much I needed a Savior. Having given my life to Jesus Christ, he is Lord and I praise him for his love and mercy and grace!


517.322.2000 ext. # 106

Born and raised: Grand Ledge, MI

Education: Michigan State University (Bachelor of Fine Arts - Graphic Design)
Western Michigan University (Teaching Certificate - Art)

Family: Sarah and our four children.

Hobbies: Music, sound & lighting production, and almost anything else.

Testimony: After a difficult time in high school, Christian friends brought me to youth group, and helped me find what was missing in my life. At MSU, Sarah and I joined the South Church college group, and have been part of South's family since 1999 - serving as short-term missionaries, working with junior high, senior high and college students, playing music for services, running sound for services, and helping develop a new Bible community and worship service.

Ministry Assistant to Pastor Odgers, Pastor Sova, and Pastor Van Loh

Born and raised: Koutiala, Mali, West Africa

Education: Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, MI, (Masters in TESOL & Business Administration); Siena Heights University, Adrian (BA Social Work)

Ministry Experience: Sunday school teacher at the Evangelical Church of Torokorobougou, Bamako, Mali for 4 years. Member and treasurer of Youth Group of the Church of Torokorobougou for 2 years.
Sunday school Volunteer of preschoolers at Trinity Church, Lansing, MI for 2 years.

Spouse: Michael 

Kid: Bradley 

Hobbies: Gardening, crocheting, and watch movies

Testimony: I was raised in a Christian home and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior at the age of twelve. I was involved in church activities such as Sunday School, choir and Bible studies. Even though I had much exposure to the Word of God it was not until I attended a youth conference in Bamako, capital of Mali that really understood the good news of what Christ has done for me. He died to save me from my sins not only that he delivered me from my fears. Since then, I have developed a personal relationship with Christ. He has been my source of strength, hope and peace wherever I go.

517.322.2000 ext. # 101

Born and raised: Born in Grove City, Pennsylvania and grew up in Lansing

Education: Michigan State University (BA Elementary Education; Language Arts specialization; minor Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages); MSU (teacher certification)

Ministry Experience: Interned for the Children's Ministry at South for a total of 5 summers; interned for the College Ministry for a year; interned for the Student Ministry for one summer; FireUp after-school program at Cavanaugh Elementary for 5 years

Hobbies: Traveling, hiking, skiing, camping, reading, poetry, art, being an aunt (it rocks!)

Community Activities: directing/choreographing kids musical theatre

Testimony: The majority of my growing up experience was here at South with parents who are very wise. They raised my 3 brothers and I to go beyond just "doing the right thing" and consistently pursued teaching our hearts to seek God above all else - a task that required lots of perseverance! I decided that I wanted to have Jesus as my Savior at age 6. From there, I've spent my life learning that He is also my Lord. He has shown me the importance of discipleship, the necessity of spending personal time with Him in His Word, and the significance of opening my eyes to see what He sees and serve Him where He needs hands to serve. He has taught me that taking ownership and repenting of my guilt and sin allowed me to experience true forgiveness when He died with my burden upon Himself - and rose from the dead, offering a life of forgiveness to anyone who chooses to acknowledge their need of Him.

517.322.2000 ext. # 126


Born and Raised: Born in Lansing MI, raised in Williamston MI

Education: Lansing Community College

Ministry Experience: Serving in the nursery ministry since 6th grade, taking over as Nursery Coordinator in 2019. Also served as a Jr High leader for 5 years, Assistant Director of 2 church productions, and worked at Camp Barakel on summer staff in 2011, ‘12 and ‘14.

Hobbies: Crafts, musical theatre, watching movies.

Deacon Board
Kam Bradman
Jack Brown
John Cheney*
Don Cooper
Mark Dalman
Eric Doerr
Jeremy Foco
Brian Hudson
David Kallman
Bill Patrick
Dave Seal
Terry Stanaway
Don Denyes+
Doug Phillips+
Keith Sova+
Tim Van Loh+
Deaconess Committee
Pat Cannon
Debbie Dunckel
Cheryl Granger
Connie Norman
Anne Park
Connie Potter
Sue Quiroga
Donna Rinkenberger
Robin Ross
Chris Stiles
Ellie Tobey
Trustee Board
Derrick Bell
Brian Calley
Ken Granger
Steve Kallman
Curt Peterson
Dave Tebben
Doug Vaughn*
Doug Phillips+
Dave Seal+
Mission Board
Lynn Bishop
Greg Eckels
Eileen Ellis*
Melissa Gray
John Oldham
Jeremy Rook
Larry Wilson
Don Denyes+
Tim Van Loh+
Nancy Bassett
Mark Dalman +
Christian Ed. Council
David Anderson
Anthony Veltri
Melissa Wilson
Doug Phillips+
Keith Sova+
Lynn Bishop+
Jack Brown+
Church Representatives
Bob Chapman – Church Treasurer
Marilyn Oldham – Church Clerk
Sheila Rynbrandt – Deaconness Co-chair
Lois Freeman – Deaconness Co-chair

* designates chair
+ designates pastoral/board liaison
updated July 2022

1889South Church was born in the hearts of a small group of believers who met to pray at the home of George Isbell. These members of the First Baptist Church of Lansing felt the need for mission work on the south side of the city. On May 26, 1889 they organized a Sunday School. By July of that year the small church met weekly for Sunday School and a midweek prayer meeting. In October of that year, a small building was constructed on South Street and named the South Street Chapel.

1909After the turn of the century, the South Street Chapel experienced marked growth. In 1905 First Baptist Church hired Frank Currey, whose responsibilities included the leadership of the South Street Chapel. Following an evangelistic outreach sponsored by the fledgling church, believers at the Wednesday night prayer meeting filled the chapel. Attendance at regular services dramatically increased.

On May 1, 1906, the growing church purchased property at Washington Avenue and Moores River Drive, despite the concern of some who feared that it was too far outside the city. In 1912 the church was incorporated under the name South Washington Avenue Baptist Church. Some time later the name was shortened to South Church. In 1909 the church completed the erection of an impressive brick building with an elegant porch and stained glass window.

The expanding congregation flourished under a succession of men, each of whom performed a special charge.
Frank Currey 1905-1910 Established first church building.
George O’Donald 1910-1911 Developed youth ministries
Albert D. Werdon 1911-1915 Organized church policy
A.T. Robinson 1916-1919 Gave strength during war years
C.H. Heaton 1919-1924 Upheld Biblical truth
W.F. Dissette 1924-1929 Increased attendance, paid mortgage
William S. Ross 1929-1940 Developed membership to 960 people
D.T. Yaxley 1941-1947 Completed educational annex
Malcolm Cronk 1948-1952 Directed vigorous outreach
Howard F. Sugden 1954-1991 Moved church forward spiritually through skillful preaching
Rick Hawks 1992-1994 Provided transitional leadership
Donald G. Denyes 1995-present

To meet the growing needs of the people on the south side of the city, the church was open seven days a week, which was unusual for any church at that time. During the week the Sunday School room was fixed up and used as a gymnasium and the parlor was used as a reading room.


The face of the building changed as did the needs of the congregation. In 1937 a new religious education unit was completed. In 1947 the second story of the addition was built. Under the leadership of Pastor Howard Sugden, five more additions were made. In 1954 a small unit was built for offices and classrooms. In 1956 a building program that included a large auditorium and additional nurseries and classrooms was completed.

1963A three story educational unit was dedicated in 1963, and in 1967 a multipurpose unit that included a chapel, gymnasium and departmental classrooms was finished. Another phase of the building program was completed in 1972 when the original church building was demolished to make room for a three story educational wing.

In July 2000, South Church moved to a new location and facility on Cornerstone Drive in Delta Township, just four miles west of its former location. On 36 acres of land, South has room to grow and reach the greater Lansing area for Christ.

2000South Church now faces future challenges, rooted firmly in the gospel of Jesus Christ, rejoicing in God’s past work in us, and joyfully anticipating His plan for us. Our newly adopted purpose statement, ‘Passion for Christ, Compassion for Others’ aptly describes our continued commitment to the fulfillment of God’s call.

We believe “that if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.” Romans 10.9-10
WE BELIEVE IN THE ONE TRUE GOD who is perfect, infinite, and eternal in His being, in His holiness, love, knowledge, wisdom and power. He is Creator of the universe and sovereign over all, yet everywhere present in all of creation. He is revealed to us as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three distinct persons in one. (Genesis 1.1; Exodus 15.11; Psalms 8.1-6, 19.1-4, 139.7-10; Matthew 28.19; John 4.23-24, 5.26, 10.30)
WE BELIEVE IN THE LORD JESUS CHRIST who is the second person of the Triune God, the eternal Word and only Begotten Son; that without any change in his divine person, he became man by miracle of the virgin birth. He gave himself in substitutionary death upon the cross, bearing the sin of the world, and suffering its full penalty in our stead; that he arose from the grave in a glorified body; he ascended into heaven where he is our high priest and advocate. (Job 19.25; Matthew 1.18-25; John 1.1, 14; 3.16; Romans 5.18-19; I Corinthians 15.3-7; Galatians 4.4-5; Philippians 2.6-10; Hebrews 4.14-16; I John 2.1-2)
WE BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SPIRIT who is the third person of the Trinity, and the divine agent in nature, revelation and redemption; that his ministry is to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ, convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgment; that he regenerates, indwells, baptizes, seals, and anoints all who become children of God through Christ; that he further empowers, guides, teaches, sanctifies, and fills believers who daily surrender to him. (John 3.3-6; 14.16-17, 26; 16:7-14; Romans 8.9, 11, 16; I Corinthians 3.16-17, 12.13; II Corinthians 3.18; 5.17; Galatians 5.16, 22-25; Ephesians 1.13-14)
WE BELIEVE IN THE HOLY SCRIPTURE accepting fully the writings of the Old and New Testaments as the very Word of God, verbally inspired in all parts and therefore wholly without error as originally given of God, the only infallible and authoritative rule of faith, life, and conduct. (Psalm 119.105, 133, 160; Proverbs 30.5a; II Timothy 3.16-17; II Peter 1.19-21)
WE BELIEVE THAT ALL PEOPLE ARE BY NATURE AND BY CHOICE SINFUL AND THEREFORE LOST AND ALIENATED BY GOD; that Adam and Eve were the direct creation of God, made in his image and likeness; that by personal disobedience to the revealed will of God, they became sinful creatures, the parents of a fallen race; that all people within themselves have no possible means of achieving salvation and are under the righteous judgment and wrath of God. (Genesis 1.27, 3.6; Psalm 51.5; Isaiah 53.6; 64.6; Jeremiah 17.9; Romans 3.23; 5.12; Ephesians 2.1-3)
WE BELIEVE IN SALVATION BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH; that salvation is the free gift of God, neither merited nor secured by any virtue or work of mankind, but received only by personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and that the redeemed shall never perish. (John 1.12; 10.28-29; Romans 8.1, 10.9-10; Ephesians 2.8-9; Philippians 1.6; Titus 3.5)
WE BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF SATAN, a created angelic being who through pride and wicked ambition rebelled against God, thus becoming totally depraved, the great adversary of God and his people, leader of all evil angels, the deceiver and ruler of this present world: that his final doom is certain; that we are able to resist and overcome him only in the armor of God, by the blood of the Lamb and through the power of the Holy Spirit. (Isaiah 14.12-15; Ephesians 6.12-17; I Peter 5.8; I John 3.8; Revelation 12.9-11; 20.10)
WE BELIEVE IN THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST; that his coming is imminent and personal; that he will pour out the righteous judgments of God upon the unbelieving world; and that he will establish his glorious kingdom over all the nations for a thousand years. (I Thessalonians 4.13-18; Hebrews 10.37; James 5.8; Jude 14,15; Revelation 19.11-16; 20.4-7)
WE BELIEVE IN FUTURE LIFE, BODILY RESURRECTION, AND ETERNAL JUDGMENT; that the souls and spirits of the saved at death go immediately to be with Jesus Christ in Heaven, while the unsaved at death descend immediately into Hades where they are kept under punishment until the final day of judgment, at which time their bodies shall be raised from the grave, thereupon they shall be judged and cast into Hell, the place of final and everlasting punishment. (Job 19.25-27; Luke 16.19-23; I Corinthians 4.5; 15.12-58; II Corinthians 5.8-10; Revelation 20.11-15)
WE BELIEVE IN THE PRIESTHOOD OF ALL BELIEVERS; that every born-again person has direct access to God without the need of a human priest because Christ is our great high priest; that the believer has the right and responsibility to personally study the Scriptures and to pray. (John 14.6; I Timothy 2.5; II Timothy 2.15; Hebrews 4.16; I Peter 2.1,5,9)
WE BELIEVE IN THE LORDSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. He alone is head of the Church which is his body into which all true believers are immediately baptized (placed) by the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2.36; I Corinthians 12.12-13; II Corinthians 5.15; Galatians 2.20; Ephesians 1.20-23; 4.11-15; Philippians 2.9-11)
WE BELIEVE IN THE IMPORTANCE OF THE LOCAL CHURCH; that a New Testament church is a local assembly of born-again, baptized believers united in organization to meet for worship of God, prayer, fellowship, teaching, a united testimony, and to actively engage in carrying out the Great Commission. (Matthew 28.19-20; Acts 2.41-42; Hebrews 10.24-25)
WE BELIEVE THAT THE CHURCH HAS BEEN GIVEN SPIRITUAL GIFTS to fulfill its God-ordained mission of edification and evangelism. These include gifted persons who are given for the equipping of the saints for the work of the ministry and spiritual gifts which each member of the body of Christ received from the Holy Spirit at the time of salvation. We do believe that God can perform miracles today and that he can and does heal. Scripture indicates that several of the sign gifts were foundational to the church and to authenticate the ministry of the Apostles. (Romans 12.4-8; I Corinthians 1.22-23; 12.1-11; 13.8; II Corinthians 12.12; Ephesians 4.11-12)
WE BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY ORDINANCES GIVEN TO THE LOCAL CHURCH ARE BAPTISM AND THE LORD’S SUPPER; that Baptism is by immersion of believers, thus portraying the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ; that the Lord’s Supper is the partaking of the bread and cup by the believer as a continuing memorial of the broken body and shed blood of Christ. (Matthew 26.26-30; 28.19-20; Acts 2.41-42; 8.37-38; I Corinthians 11.23-34)
WE BELIEVE IN THE INDEPENDENCE AND AUTONOMY OF THE LOCAL CHURCH. Each New Testament church is free to govern itself without ecclesiastical interference, and should cooperate with other New Testament churches as the Holy Spirit leads; that it is responsible to follow the pattern of the New Testament church and is directly accountable to God. (Acts 13.1-3; 15.22-23; I Thessalonians 5.12-14; I Timothy 3.1-13; Titus 1.5-9). The Official Statement of Doctrinal Beliefs does not exhaust the full extent of our beliefs. While we accept and follow the teachings of the Bible as our final authority in all matters (as set forth herein), for the purposes of the faith, doctrine, practice, policy, and disciplinary practices of South Church, the Official Board, representing the congregational membership, is our final interpretive authority on the Bible’s meaning and application at South Church in all matters.
WE BELIEVE IN GOD’S DESIGN FOR MARRIAGE, GENDER AND SEXUALITY. We believe that God directly created Adam and Eve, the historical parents of the human race, distinct from the rest of creation in their bearing of God’s image and their stewardship over creation. Their union as man and woman models God’s design for marriage and perpetually stands as God’s loving and righteous will for all sexual intimacy. The Genesis account, confirmed throughout the rest of Scripture, also teaches that humankind is differentiated into two sexes (genders), male and female. (Gen. 1:26-27; Gen. 2:18-25; Ex. 20:14, 17, Ex. 22:19; Lev. 18: 22-23, 20:13, 15-16; Deut. 22:5; Matt 15:18-20; Matt. 19:4-6, 9; Rom. 1:18-31; I Cor. 6:9-10, 15-20; I Tim. 1:8-11; Jude 7).
WE BELIEVE IN THE DIGNITY OF EVERY HUMAN BEING. We believe that every person must be afforded compassion, love, kindness, respect, and dignity (Mark 12:28-31; Luke 6:31). Hateful and harassing behavior or attitudes directed toward any individual are to be repudiated and are not in accord with Scripture nor the doctrines of South Church. However, preaching, teaching, and practicing God’s Truth as revealed in Scripture is not hateful or harassing of any person, but rather an act of sincere love.
Source: South Church Constitution and by-laws (updated 4/22/18)