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the 2ndstory

Are you ready to experience the love of Christ in a whole new way? Then you've got to check out Second Baptist Church! We're an amazing community of believers located right in the heart of downtown, and we're all about spreading the love through worship, fellowship, and service. With over 67 years of history, we're committed to creating an environment for anyone who wants to grow in their faith. So come on down and join us for Sunday services - we can't wait to meet you! LET'S GROW TOGETHER!


Our mission to be a dynamic, spiritual organism empowered by the Holy Spirit goes beyond our churches four walls. We love to share Christ with the church, community, and throughout the world. We operate under the objective of obedience to God and His leadership. As we follow God, we come together to lead our congregation to build a relationship with God to help them experience the growing knowledge of God and make a commitment to surrender to Him daily.

Our History: How It All Began

It is true! Great things sometime start small. God has a way of using ordinary people to do the extraordinary. There is literally nothing we can do to disqualify ourselves from being candidates whom God uses for His work. The Bible references ordinary flawed people that God used to fulfill his mission: 

  • Noah drank too much. But God used him to build an ark to save the world, Genesis 6-9. 

  • Abraham and Sarah, were old, seniors in their lifespan, but God used them to build a nation, Genesis 11-25 

  • Joseph was an entitled teen. God used him and put him in positions to be taught and trained to save Egypt and Israel, Genesis 37-50. 

  • Moses stuttered. God used him as His spokesperson, Exodus 3-4. 

  • Peter was a quitter whom God brought back to start the Kingdom. Matthew 26, John 21, Acts 1-2. 

  • Paul was the enemy, God used him, and he became the most prolific Christian in the New Testament. Acts 26:12-23 


Throughout the bible, there are examples of how God used ordinary people to fulfill His purpose for this world. Likewise, the founders of SBC were ordinary people. God chose eighteen men, women, and children to fulfill His purpose of organizing a church. These members and their families were previously members of New Hope Baptist Church located in the neighboring community. The initial meeting with the purpose of organizing a church took place in the home of brother and sister Lewis Rawlings on January 11, 1957. The founders came into agreement and voted to call their new church Second Baptist Church. Officers were elected and or appointed: Deacon Lewis Rawlings was appointed chairman of the Board of Deacons, Deacon Curtis Campbell was elected Superintendent of Sunday School, Brother Joe Turner, Chairman of the Building Fund, Sister Ella Mae Grundy, Director of Baptist Training Union (BTU), Sister Minnie Sabbs, President of the  Women’s Missionary Unit (WMU), Sister Lena Beckton, President of Usher’s Board and Pastor’s Aid Club (PAC), and Sister Blanche Johnson, Church Clerk.  Meetings and church services took place in the Rawlings’ home as they continued to seek direction from God for His new church. 

"How did we get here?"


The SBC Legacy Timeline


Pastor A.P. Poindexter


Pastor James Bell


Rev. L. Lowe


Rev. Mal Daneils/H.A. Bates


Pastor Jake Hall


Pastor Billy Simmons


Pastor Duggar Johnson


Pastor Billy Simmons


Pastor Kevin Kelly


Pastor Maurice Watson

On January 21, 1957, Rev A. P. Poindexter was called to SBC as the first Pastor. SBC joined the Jefferson Springs District (Arkansas Baptist State Convention), February 1, 1957. 

After a time, the congregation outgrew the Rawlings home. Deacon Rawlings owned a boarding house (chickens) which he allowed to be renovated, by men in the church and community, for a suitable place to worship and accommodate the growing church. This facility was used (rented) as a worship facility for approximately six years.  

Sister Pauline Worthy, President of the Willing Worker’s Club (WWC) raised the first $125 that was used as down payment on two lots owned by Deacon Rawlings. The lots were located at 3900 Tatum Street.  

On September 4, 1958, Rev. Poindexter resigned as pastor. Rev. James Bell became the second Pastor of SBC on October 4, 1958. December 4, 1958, under Pastor Bell’s leadership, a contract was written to purchase the two lots located at 3900 Tatum Street. Workers started to construct the church on June 6, 1960. The WWC with Sister Elizabeth Robertson as President purchased widows for the church. SBC joined the Union District Baptist Association in 1963. On March 17, 1963 (3rd Sunday), the first worship service was held in the new facility. Three new deacons were ordained:  Deacons Elmer Wilson, Mal Daniels, and Jack Wade. Later that year, three ministers were licensed:  Ministers Mal Daniels, David Terry, and Jesse Ware. SBC continued to grow spiritually and financially. 

On April 5, 1964, Pastor Bell resigned. Rev L Lowe was elected as the third pastor of SBC on July 21, 1964. During Pastor Lowe’s leadership pews and pulpit were purchased. Sister L. M. Wheeler president of the WWC planned programs that netted money to purchase a piano and communion table. During this time, three men were in preparation to become Deacons:  L. W. Nichols, James Land, and Curtis Wheeler.  

On February 4, 1968, Rev. Lowe’s term as pastor was terminated. On March 17, 1968, the church ordained Rev Mal Daniels and Deacon L W Nichols. On May 13, 1968, Rev H A Bates was elected as the fourth pastor. Under Rev Bates’s leadership, the floor was tiled, and carpet laid in areas of the building; the annex walls were erected, and file cabinets and mimeograph machine were purchased. On December 3, 1971, Rev Bates’s term as pastor was terminated. Rev Mal Daniels served as intermittent pastor during SBC’s absence of a pastor. 

Brother Willie Blevins was ordained as deacon on December 5. 1971.  On March 3, 1972, Rev James Hall became the fifth pastor of SBC. Under his leadership, the roof was put on the Annex on September 16, 1972. Rev Hall resigned on June 30, 1976. Until a new pastor was called, Rev Daniels and Rev. Billy Simmons led the church. 

On August 6, 1976, SBC elected Rev Billy Simmons as pastor. Pastor Simmons became the sixth pastor of SBC. Pastor Simmons immediately began working to complete work on the church. On July 14, 1976, five new members were baptized. Of the five members baptized, one of them, Master Gerald Johnson, was called to the ministry. Minister Johnson preached his first sermon and was licensed on August 15, 1976. Under the leadership of Pastor Simmons, the church completed the installation of the new baptismal. Brother Lee Vorn Anderson was the first to be baptized in the new pool on November 17, 1976. 

Pastor Billy Simmons was instrumental in getting the pulpit and choir stand built as well as installation of carpet in those areas. He facilitated the construction of a kitchen and equipped it with the necessities, men and women restrooms and ladies lounge were constructed, and the pastor’s study was carpeted. Four classrooms and central heating were added to the church. Pastor Simmons also facilitated getting the church plumbed for water. 

By the end of 1976, the church was mostly complete with necessities. However, work had just begun. In 1977, the Lord spiritually enabled SBC to ordain two young deacons:  Brothers Leslie Shorter and Lee Vorn Anderson, two outstanding and faithful deacons. Brother Willie Blevins was called to the ministry during this time. Church membership increased by sixty-seven. God continued to bless SBC to make improvements: installed central air, painted church’s exterior, installed a steeple, added a concrete sidewalk, purchased a piano, added church vestibule, paneled interior walls, and membership tithes and offerings increased more than in the history of the church. The WWC under the leadership of Sister Grace Washington purchased pulpit furniture, stained glass windows, hot water heater for the baptismal pool, and beautiful potted palms. The PAC, under the leadership of Sisters Gloria Butler and Bonnie Cole, purchased a desk for the pastor’s study. The Youth Department purchased the Christian flag and the United States flag. 

In 1979, Brother James Turner was placed on trial for deaconship and later ordained. Deacons Tommy Jackson and Leslie Shorter were called to the ministry. They both were ordained in 1980. 

On July 25, 1980, Pastor Billy Simmons submitted his resignation. Again, Rev. Mal Daniels stepped in to serve SBC until God sent another pastor.

Rev. Duggar Johnson became the seventh pastor of SBC on January 4, 1981. After only two months of becoming pastor, Rev. Johnson began work toward negotiating the purchase of land on 40th and John Barrow Road. Under Rev Johnson’s leadership, four deacons were ordained:  Brothers Joe Smith, Enoch Tims, Bobby Smith, and Tommy Bass.  

Deacon James Turner was called to the ministry in October 1982. Rev Turner preached his first sermon and was licensed on October 24, 1982. Brother Walter Seals was added to the Board of Deacons in January 1982. 

Rev Duggar Johnson resigned as pastor on November 27, 1983. Rev. Andrew Robertson along with Rev James Turner oversaw the pulpit in the absence of a pastor.  

With prayer and the aid of the Holy Spirit, on February 5, 1984, The SBC family called on the former pastor, Rev Billy Simmons. He accepted and returned to the SBC family. 

Upon returning to SBC as pastor for the second time, his first goal was to make sure that love and unity abided in the church. Then he began working to secure a means of financing the property located at 40th and John Barrow Road. In April 1984, Pastor Simmons negotiated with Bob Hess for SBC’s financial needs. In January 1985, the property was financially secured through a local bank. 

On August 17, 1987, God gave Pastor Billy Simmons a revelation to begin negotiations to purchase the church located at 1709 John Barrow Road. The first worship service at this location was held on December 13, 1987. Pastor Billy Simmons resigned in 1998. 

In 1999 God sent Rev. Kevin A. Kelly to SBC as Pastor. In a short time, the church outgrew its worship facility. The mortgage was paid off in October 2001 and the church celebrated eliminating the mortgage with a burning ceremony on Watch Night, December 31, 2001. Under Pastor Kelly’s leadership, an expansion to add 350 seats was completed. Pastor Kelly was a visionary and goals were set annually to accomplish these visions. Pastor Kelly revealed to the church a vision to construct the Family Life Center (FLC), to serve the church and community. Groundbreaking for the FLC was held in October 2001 and construction was completed in December 2002.  

On September 22, 2004, the congregation unanimously voted to purchase property located at 6111 West 83rd Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. Thus, “One church, two locations” was coined. This purchase included property in the Southwest Little Rock community which encompassed a school and sanctuary.  

The church continued to grow, and God continued pouring blessings and resources for needed maintenance, and renovations. There was also an expansion of needed classrooms. This venture was completed in August 2006. The vision of our current worship facility (The Dome with extended seating capacity) was presented to the church in October 2008. Construction of the Dome was completed in January 2014. The Dome not only included a magnificent worship sanctuary, but it also included the Taste of Glory Café, Vision Print, added rooms for meetings, media, and parking garage. 

Afterward, God blessed SBC with surrounding land purchases to accommodate parking. Later SBC acquired a facility in Maumelle, AR to hold worship services for that community.  

During the COVID pandemic, the southwest location was sold, and the Maumelle location closed permanently. SBC’s one location, 1709 John Barrow, Little Rock, AR, showed continued growth.  

Pastor Kevin Kelly resigned as pastor August 11, 2021. During the absence of a pastor, the church’s Board of Elders took responsibility for the church and pulpit inviting great Pastors from local and out of state churches to come and preach God’s word during the absence of a pastor. 

God sent another great shepherd and man of God to his church. Dr. Maurice Watson accepted God’s assignment as Senior Pastor for SBC September 2022. Dr. Watson was installed, December 2022. His first task was to re-establish unity and transparency in the church. Pastor Waston shows diligent in leadership, teaching, and preaching. He established communication and united with pastors and community leaders in the city working for improvements for all people. 486 new members were added to the church congregation with 100 baptized. Tithes and offerings increased, and several major projects and improvements were completed in a very short time: 

  • Revised Church Bi-laws and Constitution. 

  • Appointed Board of Trustees assigned to maintain church policies and ensure compliance. 

  • Implemented and completed building maintenance projects which included roof repairs, plumbing repairs in the South Wing, drainage and sewage repairs, sidewalk repairs, replacement, and maintenance of air conditioners. 

  • Purchased golf carts to aide in parking and membership support. 

  • Updated parking with additional parking spaces for people with disabilities, visitors, and Mother’s Ministry members with mobility issues. 

  • Purchased a new twenty-one passenger bus. 

  • Updates made to the security and alarm system. 

  • Implemented a new key policy. 

  • Replaced microphones and soundboards. 

  • Purchased jumbotron or digital signage display system. 

  • Hired External Audit firm with audit ongoing. 

  • Hired a Director of Worship and Arts. 

  • Filled vacant Accounts Payable position. 

  • Planned and implemented NexGen Ministry youth and young adult trip. 

  • Conducted Vacation Bible School for the first-time post COVID. 

  • Worked to implement the first annual church picnic since COVID. 

  • Implemented First Responders Sunday to celebrate First Responders in the City. 

  • Conducted Mother’s Ministry Conference. 

  • Engaged the Outreach Ministry with expansion of pantry to aid families in community. 

  • Helped with disaster relief cleanup efforts and financial support to families impacted. 

  • Worked with Arkansas Food Pantry as an outreach effort to support community. 

  • Continued support with HBCUs by providing recognition and financial aid. 

Continuing Our Legacy

Starting in 1957 and throughout the years, God has continued His assignment of great men to conduct their God given assignments to grow SBC. The church continues to grow under the leadership of our senior pastor, Dr Maurice Waston. Dr Watson’s favorite phrase is “Let’s Grow Together,” emphasizing unity in the church. 

Jeremiah 3:15: “And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” 

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