Salem Baptist Church was constituted on January 7, 1870, with the following ten charter members:
Alexander Crumbley Mary E. Elliott
George W. Crumbley Elizabeth Crumbley
William R. Elliott Eleanor Brannan
John S. Elliott Catherine Hightower
John T. Elliott Mary Elliott
Mr. Alexander Crumbley was the only deacon in the newly drafted consitution. On September 19, 1874, Mr. W.H. Smith was elected to serve as a deacon and on that same date in September, the name "SALEM" was adopted for the church. The meeting was held at the Campground School House with W.C. McMichael as presiding preacher. The newly formed church made applications for membership in the Flint River Association of Baptist Churches. Subsequently, Salem has belonged to the South River Association; later returning to the Flint River Association. In September 1990, the Henry Baptist Association was formed to which Salem presently holds membership.
The first meetings/services were held in homes and school houses. Early supply preachers were W.C. McMichael, Aaron Cloud, J.T. Bledsoe and Trousel Phillips. The first pastor, Rev. Jonathan Milner, was called on October 23, 1874. By the time of his calling as pastor of Salem, the membership had doubled. In 1875 the first house of worship was constructed on land dontated by Mr. William Steele. Pastors succeeding Rev. Jonathan Milner are:
H.F. Buckhanan | October 28, 1876 E.A. Daniels | November 6, 1937
E.J. Barksdale | October 4, 1879 Thad Persons | December 6, 1941
J.A. Jackosn | November 1882 Roy L. Matthews | 1943
J.T. Bledsoe | November 10, 1882 Homer C. Johnson | July 28, 1946
J.J. Stephenson | November 12, 1888 L.F. Kenady | December 14, 1947
C.M. Brittain | November 7, 1903 George White | June 12, 1955
R.J. Huff | November 26, 1904 O.D. Mullinax | January 12, 1958
B.H. Phillips | November 25, 1905 Albert Studdard | December 14, 1960
J.J. Stephenson | October 9, 1909 John Smith | March 1963
J.A. Boner | December 3, 1910 James E. Elerson | January 1966
H.V. Adamson | November 9, 1912 Clifford Brewton | April 9, 1972
J.H. Cowart | February 6, 1919 L.F. Kenady | 1975
J.T. Oxford | October 11, 1924 Ed Johnson | October 1983
G.L. Brooks | October 5, 1929 Richard C. Statham | December 10, 1995
Many significant events have taken place in the life of Salem Baptist Church:
The organization of Sunday School on April 10, 1880.
The completion of a second house of worship on April 10, 1897.
The organization of the Baptist Young People's Union (now referred to as Discipleship Training) on October 8, 1921.
The dedication of eight Sunday School rooms on May 5, 1935.
The ordination of five men to preach the gospel, including:
Isso Pritchett | August 6, 1994
A.V. Elliott, Jr. | October 8, 1953
The renovation of the sanctuary in the early 1950's which included new pews and pulpit furniture and installation of a baptistry. (Until this time, baptisms were performed in lakes, streams and swimming pools).
The beginning of full-time worship services in 1949.
The addition of education and recreation rooms (referred to as the "annex") in 1954.
In 1961, Salem initiated a graded choir program; organized a Young Women's Auxiliary, and a Royal Ambassador chapter. The need for a third house of worship became necessary due to continued growth. This building was dedicated on April 8, 1979. The previous building was relocated behind the new buidding and is used as an additional fellowship hall.
On December 10, 1995, a call was extended to Rev. Richard (Rick) C. Statham to serve as Senior Pastor, which he began on January 2, 1996.
Due to continued growth, the church added a third morning worship service to it's schedule on the first Sunday of January 1997. In the late spring of 1997, the church extended a call to Jonathan Wilson, a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, to become Minister to Students. The church, having moved to three worship services, continued to grow thus creating a need for more space. Potts Contracting was secured to add a 90-100 seat balcony to the existing sanctuary at a cost of $150,000. The cost of the project was raised during construction and paid for in 3 months. Shortly thereafter, the church secured the house and property adjacent to Hwy 155 (1702 Decatur Road) which is now used as "The Mission House" providing lodging for missionaries on furlow. The property and house were purchased for less than $100,000 and was debt free within seven months.
In March of 1999, Pastor Rick Statham and the Long Range Planning Committee recommended to the church the current master plan along with a Phase One Building Plan to include the expansion of the sanctuary and the addition of a new preschool and children's building, steeple tower, narthex, and covered walkway. In September of 1999, Salem held a ground-breaking ceremony for the "His Glory. Our Growth." Phase One Building Program. Construction began in January 2000. The church held it's first official worship service in the "near complete" sanctuary on Christmas Eve night in 2000 with nearly 1,800 in attendance in two services.
In recent years, Salem has acquired a 100-acre lot next door that has been developed into a recreation complex that houses soccer and football fields, baseball, softball, and t-ball fields, and a walking track around the lake.