About Us

First Southern Baptist Church has a long history as a community of people who love God, love their city, and desire to be a relevant church with an outward focus where all are welcomed.

We believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, Our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and buried. On the third day, He rose again from the dead. He ascended to heaven, and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence He will come to judge the living and the dead. We believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy universal church, the inerrancy of God’s inspired Word, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the obedience of baptism symbolizing a crucified, buried, and risen Savior, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

all are welcome

Rooted in Eternal Truth

We follow the Teachings of the Holy Scripture


God is the Creator and Ruler of the universe. He exists eternally in three persons: The Father, the Son, and Holy Spirit. These three are co-equal and are one God. References: John 1:1; Genesis 1:1, 26-27; 3:22; Deuteronomy. 6:4; Psalm 90:2; Isaiah 9:6, 45:18; Matthew 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14; 1 Peter 1:2; Matthew 3:16-17

God the Father

We believe that God the Father holds all the attributes of God while exercising a unique role in the Trinity. The Godhead agrees with the role of each: God as Father, Son as sacrifice, and Spirit as power. He is the father of Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit, and yet still one with both as God. The Father adopts believers into relationship with Him as their Father. References: Luke 1:35; Matthew 3:17; Romans 8:15-17; John 15:1&2; Hebrews 12:7-11

Jesus Christ the Son

Jesus Christ is the Son of God, the Messiah, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He is co-equal with the Father as God. Jesus lived a sinless human life and offered Himself as the perfect sacrifice for the sins of all people by dying on a cross. He arose from the dead after three days to demonstrate His power over sin and death. He ascended to Heaven’s glory and will return again someday to claim His own and take them to Heaven. References: Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:22-23; John 1:1-5; 8:58; 14:6; 14:10-30; Acts 1:9-11; Romans 1:3-4; I Corinthians 15:3-4; I Timothy 6:14-15; Titus 2:13; Hebrews 4:14-15; Rev. 1:8

The Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit is co-equal with the Father and the Son of God. He is present in the world to make men aware of their need for Jesus Christ. He also lives in every Christian from the moment of salvation. He provides the Christian with power for living, understanding of spiritual truths, and guidance in doing what is right. As Christians we seek to live under His control daily.   References: John 14:16-17, 16:7-13, 17; Acts 1:8; Romans 5:5; I Corinthians 2:12; 3:16; 2 Corinthians3:17; Galatians 5:25; Ephesians 1:13, 5:18 ‍

The Bible

The Bible is God’s Word to us. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural direction of the Holy Spirit. It is living and active and relevant for today. Because it is inspired by God, it is the truth without any mixture or error. The Bible is infallible, inerrant, and absolute truth. Where it speaks we listen and obey. References: Psalms 12:6, 119:105, 160; Proverbs 30:5; Hebrews 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:13, 3:16; 2 Peter 1:20-21


God created man, male and female, in His image and likeness. God created man to be in relationship with Him and with each other, to do good works, to be on mission, and to reflect God’s glory. Followers of Jesus Christ are His ambassadors. References: Genesis 1:27; Psalms 8:3-6; Isaiah 53:6a; Isaiah 59:1-2; Romans 3:23; Genesis 3

Heaven and Hell

Men will either exist eternally separated from God by sin, or eternally with God through forgiveness and salvation. To be eternally separated from God is eternal death in Hell. To be eternally in union with Him is eternal life in Heaven. Heaven and Hell are real places of eternal existence. References: John 3:16, 14:17; Romans 6:23; Romans 6:23, 8:17-18; 1 Corinthians 2:7-9; Revelation 20:15

Salvation and Eternal Security

Salvation is necessary for man, because of our sin, which separates us from God. Salvation is God’s free gift to us, but we must accept it. We can never make up for our sin by self-improvement or good works. Only by trusting in Jesus Christ and God’s offer of forgiveness can anyone be saved from sin’s penalty. When we turn from our self-ruled life and turn to Jesus in faith we are saved. Eternal life begins the moment one receives Jesus Christ as Lord of his life. This is evidenced by repentance, confession, baptism by immersion, and a life committed to His service. All true believers continue forever. Believers that God has accepted in Christ and set apart for His work by His Spirit will never lose their salvation. Believers may sin because of neglect and temptation; however, even though they may sin, true believers are still saved by the power of God through faith in Jesus Christ. References: John 1:12, 14:6; Romans 5:1, 6:23; Galatians 3:26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Titus 3:5; John 10:28; Romans 8:29-30; 1 John 2:9


Baptism is an act of obedience in following Jesus for those who have believed the message of the gospel, repented, and confessed Christ as Lord and Savior. We are baptized to follow the example set by Christ, because Christ and the apostles commanded it, and because it shows we are believers. Baptism has a great deal of spiritual significance because it is a picture of death and resurrection. Baptism literally means “to be immersed” and we fulfill our role in obeying Christ through the physical act of baptism in water by immersion. God’s role is a spiritual baptism. At First Southern, we wait until our children are old enough to believe and understand the true meaning of baptism before we baptize them. A baby or a young child cannot understand sin or the need for Christ. It must be their decision, and their decision must be accompanied by faith and repentance. References: Matthew 28:18-21; Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:37-38, 8:35-39, 18:8; Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12

The Church

God’s definition of the word “church” (Greek: Ecclesia) is: the called-out ones. The church is one body that works together. We believe that the church exists throughout the world and is witnessed and experienced in local autonomous gatherings of believers. The purpose of the church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ. References: Matthew 28:18-19; Romans 12:4-5; Acts 2:42-47

Every Believer is on Mission

The Bible teaches that every Christian is called to “full-time” Christian service, regardless of his or her vocation. We practice the truth that every believer is a minister by encouraging every member to find a place of service and ministry. Every believer has direct access to God through Bible reading/study, prayer, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. Every Christian is to be a disciple developing relational environments in which they share their faith with those around them by word and by action. References: Revelation 1:6a; 1 Peter 2:9

Meet our Staff

Our heart is for all people.

our history
Our story began in an empty wheat field in an unincorporated area of Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, between Oklahoma City and Tinker Air Force Base in Midwest City. A new housing development led to a small mission plant; a new town named after a builder’s daughter; and a donated parcel of land for a new Southern Baptist mission chapel. These interconnected events also led to an incredible spiritual harvest in future years. On November 14, 1948, Del City Baptist Chapel, located at 4517 S.E. 29th Street, opened its new building. Oklahoma Baptist University graduate, J.C. Wiles, was hired as the first mission pastor.
Del City Baptist Chapel officially became First Southern Baptist Church of Del City on September 9, 1951. C.O. Branson was the first church pastor. In 1953 and with another donated parcel of land, the church relocated to the northeast corner of S.E. 28th and Sunnylane Road – 2800 S. Sunnylane Road. Due to membership growth, there was great need for more physical space to worship, attend Sunday school, and serve the expanding community. In 1956, J.T. Roberts became First Southern’s next pastor.
Three pastors served First Southern in the1960’s. Joe Hubb Collier was called in 1960 as pastor; Ralph A. Crawford in 1963; and John R. Bisagno in 1965. The church continued to grow in membership under all three men but especially under Pastor Bisagno. Membership growth under Bisagno’s tenure was more than the previous years combined. The church campus continued to expand to accommodate all those coming to the church. In 1966, Pastor Bisango brought Starlite Crusade to the community at Del City High School’s football stadium. These summer revivals would run for thirty consecutive years with thousands coming to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

“We were essentially the Instagram police and called out fake influencers left, right and centre. It was fun and all, but there is only so many bikini chicks you can look at on Instagram before you start losing your mind.”

Dan, Co-founder and CEO of Lumio

Two pastors served First Southern during the 1970’s. Jimmy Draper, Jr. was called in 1970 as pastor, and Bailey Smith in 1973. Due to increased membership, a larger church sanctuary was initiated under Pastor Bisagno and completed under Draper’s tenure. However, after only one year, the church was back to two Sunday morning services. Draper would later become president of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) in 1982 and 1983 and serve as president of the SBC’s Lifeway Christian Resources from 1991-2006.
As the church continued to outgrow its physical location and exceed capacity in its two Sunday services, Pastor Bailey Smith would propose a plan to relocate the church yet again. After some difficulty and a change in location, construction would finally begin on 80 acres at 6400 S. Sooner Road – our current location. During Smith’s tenure at First Southern, he served as the SBC’s Pastor’s Conference president and also as president of the SBC from 1980-1982. In 1985, Tom Elliff was called as First Southern’s next pastor. Elliff had a passion for missions and so does First Southern.
Brother Tom would faithfully serve as First Southern’s pastor for nearly twenty years. He is now our Pastor Emeritus. He would shepherd the church through the completion of our current facility and the move from the old location in Del City. Elliff would be the third First Southern pastor to become president of the SBC, serving in 1996 and 1997. Brother Tom would lead the church through many challenging times with faithful and unwavering guidance. Elliff left First Southern to serve as senior-vice president and later as president of the SBC’s International Mission Board.
In 2007, Pastor Tony Lambert was called as First Southern’s next pastor. He was passionate about Jesus and led the church to be more expressive in worship and praising the Lord. Pastor Tony would often say, “It’s not about you; it’s Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!” Lambert encouraged the church to continue to engage lost communities with the Good News of Jesus Christ. A new activities building was completed under Pastor Tony’s guidance and it quickly became a resource for community outreach and church events.
In 2013, Pastor Shane Hall was called as First Southern’s next pastor. He came with a quick wit and love for Jesus. Shane seized opportunities for community engagement in new neighborhoods around the church. He would oversee the complete renovation of our sanctuary when it was damaged by flooding from a broken water pipe. Pastor Shane was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2014 and went home to his Lord and Savior in February 2018. Shane was our faithful Pastor during his long battle. In November 2018, Pastor Keith Burkhart was called to First Southern as our next pastor. The church was hurting after Pastor Shane’s death and Keith would come as shepherd and comforter. He would also encourage us to finish Shane’s plan for paying off the remaining church debt.
In 2021, First Southern celebrated its 70th anniversary as a church. For over 70 years, First Southern has been equipping believers with the tools and encouragement to engage the lost with the Good News of Jesus Christ. Our heritage has been to speak God’s Truth by preaching and teaching His Holy Scriptures –“The Lord is near to all who call on Him, to all who call on Him in truth.” (Psa. 145:18) God has tremendously blessed this church through the years and we are excited to see His continued work. We give Him all the glory!