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Lakeside Baptist Church's History

A vision became a reality on Sunday, November 17, 1963, when a small but determined group of persons gathered at the Lime Street Elementary School to form a new Southern Baptist Congregation in the southeastern section of Lakeland. A mission of the Southside Baptist Church for only two months, Lakeside Baptist Church was constituted on January 17, 1964, with a charter membership of 221.

Rev. Cornelius Davis became the first pastor at Lakeside on June 7, 1964. Shortly thereafter ground was broken for the construction of the church's first facilities, a 500-seat sanctuary and educational building. These completed facilities were dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1965. Within two years additional educational facilities and a music suite were constructed. In 1973 a two-story educational building housing a chapel and a parlor were erected.

In 1976 Lakeside Baptist Church established a Spanish Mission and called a full-time pastor, Rev. Jose Corrales, from 1976-1980. Rev. Guillermo Pichs served until 1982. Rev. Jose Nochea served as pastor from November 1982 until the fall of 1993. Dr. Hector Llanes was called as pastor in May 1994 until August 2000. In 2001 the mission became La Promesa Baptist Church and called Pastor Jorge Gonzalez.

Dr. Walter Bennett became Lakeside's second pastor in January, 1979. During his pastorate educational space was expanded through the acquisition of portable buildings, and plans for a new sanctuary were completed. Dr. Bennett's pastorate concluded in June, 1982, when he joined the staff of the Florida Baptist State Convention at Jacksonville, Florida.

The new sanctuary was dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1983, with the two previous pastors and the interim pastor, Dr. Charles Massey, leading the service.

On June 19, 1983, Dr. Gary C. Redding became the third pastor at Lakeside. He led the church in major renovations including the conversion of the old sanctuary into a fellowship hall, enlargement of the kitchen, relocation of the Norma Warren Memorial Library, and the upgrading of the portable education units.

Construction began in May, 1988, for an educational and music building which doubled the education space of the church. These facilities were dedicated on Easter Sunday, 1989.

Rev. Joe Hinkle served as interim pastor for over a year, and Dr. Craig Sherouse was welcomed as the fourth pastor on July 30, 1990. He led the church in renovations and in purchasing 5 acres adjoining our property to the north where a field was constructed for recreational purposes. Dr. Sherouse was called as pastor to First Baptist Church in Griffin, Georgia in August, 2003. Dr. James Graves was called as the Pastor in the Interim on February 29, 2004. Rev. Dean Rucker began serving as Senior Pastor on February 7, 2005. Since then, the church had an interim pastor for 2 years, Ed Northrop, followed by our new pastor, Todd Dorsey, who has a great vision for this church and the city of Lakeland.

As Lakeside Baptist Church prepares to move into an exciting future, past experiences can be surveyed and we can all say: "Surely, this is the Lord's doing and it is marvelous in our eyes!" (Psalm 118:23)

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