Southside Community Fellowship began meeting in the fall of 2004 in a building which had previously been used by a number of other churches. The last church to meet in the building was All Tribes Baptist Church which was an ethnic work seeking to reach Native Americans. Prior to that there was Chief Cornerstone. There were also churches that sought to reach out to the Hispanic community, to the Koreans, and to other denominations. Originally, the building was probably a local grocery store and meat market.
In the spring of 2004 Larry Elrod was asked by the Montana Baptist Convention to see what God might do to start a church in the building which was no longer being used by All Tribes Baptist Church. There were several things to consider. After much prayer Larry agreed to seek to discover what God wanted done. However, this would only be done if the church started was a church for the whole Southside Community. Larry spent the entire summer in the building praying for the community and little by little he began to connect with people.
The turning point for the church start came in the fall when he was invited to a meeting for Child Evangelism Fellowship (CEF) being held in the home of John and Clara Johnson. After the meeting Clara inquired as to what was going on with the building. When she learned about the new church start she asked about the name of the church. When she heard the name she shared that she had had a dream the previous year that there would be church by the name of Southside Community Church meeting in that building. John and Clara were long-time residents of the community and were very instrumental in the church getting started.
In years since the church began the membership and the attendance has grown to 40 to 45 people on a regular Sunday. The membership and attendance has also fallen to as few as 4 or 5 on a regular Sunday. There have been times of great unity within the church and there have been times of terrible disunity within the church. Praise God there have been more years when people were being saved that when people were not being saved. There has never been a time when people were not being discipled and encouraged to be Christ-like.
Over the years God has always provided for His will to be done so the church has never been in debt or been unable to pay her bills. While the purpose of the church has been and still is to make disciples and not perform social ministries, many thousands of dollars have been spent meeting the special needs of others. Through the loving service of many mission teams the building has been improved so that additional ministries like the community center became possible. In every case God gets the glory because He was the One who made it all possible.
One last note, none of the members of Southside Community Fellowship are perfect or anywhere near to being just like Jesus. However, every one of them who has been born again and who have willing submitted themselves to being discipled have experienced wonderful transformation in who they are and in how they live. They are victors. They are no longer victims.