In 1938 there was only one Free Will Baptist Church in Oklahoma City, that was until November whenever a small group began meeting in the home of Tom and Peggy Blackburn for Sunday School and Worship Services. After eight weeks the group had outgrown the Blackburn residence and had to move into a larger home to increase its occupancy. This change only lasted a short while before the need to move presented itself again, this time into an empty building on a corner lot which provided more parking spaces for growth.
After a while, the building was remolded and the church was officially organized and given the name of Central Avenue Free Will Baptist Church. The first service was conducted in early February 1939. Reverend E. E. Morris served as the first pastor. Surprisingly, just seven years later on July 1946, the church hosted the 12th Annual Session of the National Association of Free Will Baptists—a major honor.
The church continued to grow even more there on Central Avenue, but after Reverend Jerry Dudley was elected as pastor in August of 1966, it didn’t take long for a plan regarding the relocation of the church property to be finalized. The selected land was located at 7201 South Santa Fe Avenue, which is where the church still exists today. Construction began in June 1967 and the church officially made its final move in October 1967 and voted to change its name to Southern Oaks Free Will Baptist Church. Southern Oaks has now been a stable figure in its community for over 50 years with a history stretching back in excess of 80 years. There are many people who can look back today and testify that God has used this church as a tool that has touched and directed their lives in one way or another. Southern Oaks is now under the direction of its eighteenth pastor, Paul J. Collins, and will continue to be a beacon of hope as long as God wills.