Pastor Profile Carl Baccus
Name: Dr. Carl C. Baccus
Church: Southside Church of Christ
Hometown: Dallas, Texas
Education: Pepperdine University; California Graduate School of Theology
Q: When did you receive the call?
A: I had a desire to do God’s will ever since I was six-years-old. I was baptized when I was 11 and ordained when I was 14.
In 1956, the opportunity came up to develop a small congregation starting with nine members; I did that when I was 18. Then they appointed me at 19, so I’ve been serving this church for 58 years. We went from nine members to over 1,600 active members.
Q: What is it about your preaching style you believe has made you so successful?
A: I was brought up under a fiery preacher by the name of R.N. Hogan who was well known in this community. He was quite an evangelist. He came to Texas when I was 11 and baptized me. He was my mentor for many years. So I’ve always been a fiery preacher because I didn't like to sit in a service and listen to a dead sermon myself. A preacher should have enthusiasm in his presentation; the spirit of God should move him. Now I don't preach as hard as I used to, but I use illustrations.
Q: The church is celebrating its 58th Anniversary—what can people expect?
A: Every year we invite every member who has ever been a part of Southside Church of Christ to come back home. We’re witnessing now in the inner city a change of membership because a lot of people are no longer living in the city. We have people driving as far as Fontana, San Bernardino and Moreno Valley. We have a lot of celebrities return that used to be with us. The Blossoms, Brandy and her brother Ray J grew up in this church. Brandy used to direct the children’s choir and her father Willie Norwood was the minister of music. He’ll be here. The whole celebration is about renewing and reviving people.
Q: You have an outreach program—Concerned Citizens Community Involve-ment—How successful has your nonprofit been?
A: We’ve changed the lives of a lot of people. We believe that changing the hearts of people will change their actions. We’ve baptized a number of inmates and people who were on drugs.
We saw the need of the church serving the whole man: wisdom, intellect and physical so we’re dealing now with the program STEM, which deals with science, technology and engineering. We have a seminar here every Saturday to help children prepare for college. We have a scholarship program where we sponsor several students in college and universities across the nation. We raise money through various fundraising programs, through grants and companies like AT&T who help sponsor some of the scholarship programs. We do this every year and we support each student for four years. If we weren’t doing a good job we couldn't get the money!
We also have a program where we get job opportunities for our members in the community and we put up a list of available jobs on our bulletin board. We have partnered with Kaiser, who constructed a building across the street from us, to have seminars to help our people with diabetes and heart disease. From the mayor of Los Angeles to Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas and Congresswoman Maxine Waters—all of them have been here to commend us for our work.
Q: When did your love for serving the community begin?
A: I started my ministry at eleven. I was working with the youth and the adults in all aspects of the church. I served as a secretary for the financial committee at age 14. Being in an environment with my mother and father who were active in community programs like segregation, the Lord just put it in my heart to minister to people. In those days we had to make our own way in the community. My parents distributed food and necessities to the community and fed a lot of people at their back door. At one time we had the only telephone in the area. People used to get their calls for jobs in my parent’s home. We’ve had that same phone number for over 70 years. And I was involved with that as a child as were all my sisters and my bro-ther.
And then when I came from Dallas for college—at the time, the only school that was not segregated was Pepperdine—I was a part of the Figueroa Church of Christ where my pastor was actively involved in community service with Kenneth Hahn.
Q: After accomplishing so much in your 60+ years of preaching, what’s next?
A: We’re trying to get parents to get the children, and themselves, back to focusing on the spiritual. It has been a challenge to get more people to put more emphasis on their spiritual life, since all these recreation and activities have come up that interfere with people coming to church on Sundays. At one time we were having two services on Sunday and now we just have one.
An example of interference has been parents registering their kids for baseball and the tournaments are held on Sunday. So what we’re doing again is emphasizing parents bringing their children to Bible Study. We have competition for the young people Sunday nights and we’re really hearing good numbers and they’re really sharp in the Bible.