Southland Christian Church, Lexington, Kentucky
Southland Christian Church is an evangelical Christian church whose first campus is located in an unincorporated area of Jessamine County, Kentucky, which is just outside Lexington, Kentucky, United States. The church, which has a Nicholasville mailing address, is located at the corner of U.S. Route 68 (Harrodsburg Road) and Brannon Road. The church has two additional campuses—one in Danville and the other at the former site of Lexington Mall in Lexington. It is associated with the Christian churches and churches of Christ. Its current Senior Pastor, Jon Weece, came to the church as a teaching pastor in 2000, and became Lead Follower in 2003.
Size and facility
Southland Christian Church is considered a megachurch. It is one of Kentucky's largest churches, averaging 10,000–12,000 in attendance per weekend in 11 services—four in Nicholasville at its Harrodsburg Road Campus, four in Lexington at its Richmond Road Campus, and three at its Danville, Kentucky campus. The church also has a substantial ministry to the poor through its Helping Through Him ministry, including an on-site warehouse.
The church started in 1956 as a mission of Broadway Christian Church in Lexington. The founding pastor, Wayne Smith, came from Unity Christian Church (near Cynthiana, Kentucky), and held the first service with 172 people in attendance. The church was originally located on Hill 'N Dale Drive (near Southland Drive) in Lexington, Kentucky. In 1981, the church had grown substantially and relocated to a 20-acre (81,000 m2) site across the county line in neighboring Jessamine County. It has since expanded its property to 115 acres (0.47 km2).
The founding Senior Pastor, Wayne Smith, announced in 1995 that he would retire. At the time of his retirement, average church attendance was in the thousands. A pastor search committee was formed, and steps were taken to find a replacement for Wayne Smith.
However, after Smith announced his retirement and in the midst of the search, Mike Breaux, pastor of Canyon Ridge Christian Church in Las Vegas, Nevada, was invited to preach one weekend. Soon after that weekend, the pastor search committee suspended the search process and hired Mike Breaux as Senior Pastor. He then became the church's second senior pastor. During his tenure the church grew to an attendance of more than 7,000 persons a week. Jon Weece joined Southland as a teaching pastor in 2000, sharing in the responsibilities of a church with six weekend services. After a building program that reduced the weekend services from six to five, Breaux moved to Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois, in 2003. In 2009, Mike Breaux became and is currently still a teaching pastor at Heartland Community Church in Rockford IL. He also serves on the churches Leadership Team.
Weece, a former missionary to Haiti, became the third senior pastor on September 1, 2003. Still in his twenties at the time, he was one of the youngest megachurch senior pastors in the United States. He initially shared teaching responsibilities with Jim Burgen, formerly of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville. Burgen has since left for Flatirons Community Church in Colorado and Weece now shares preaching responsibilities with regular guest, Mike Breaux. Under Weece's leadership, the Southland services have grown to an attendance of around 10,000 each weekend.
In 2009, Southland opened its first satellite campus in Danville, KY. An additional satellite campus is planned for the former Lexington Mall site on Richmond Road in Lexington.
In 2010, Southland purchased the former Lexington Mall to begin construction on a new "Richmond Road" campus. The campus opened in January 2013.
As a Restoration Movement church, Southland's beliefs are similar to other churches' in the movement, although local congregations are independent and may vary slightly from each other. Southland members include a large number of people with roots in denominations outside the Restoration Movement, including a significant number from Baptist and Wesleyan/Methodist traditions among others. As such, the church also has strong influences from, and often even identifies itself with, protestantism.
In short, the following is a summary of what Christians who are members of Southland are asked to believe:
- Jesus Christ is the one and only Son of God, who died for our sins and arose from the dead.
- The Bible is the inspired word of God.
- Every person has worth as a creation of God, but that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
- Forgiveness of sins and the promise of eternal life are available to those who trust Christ as Savior and Lord.
- Those accepting Christ should repent of sin, confess their faith, and be baptized into Him. This implies that salvation is not received by doing one of the above but all of the above.
- The Church is the body of Christ on earth, empowered by the Holy Spirit and exists to evangelize the lost and edify the saved.
- Jesus Christ will one day return to earth and reign forever as King of kings and Lord of lords.
In early 2010, Southland had a message series titled "DNA of a Dangerous Church." During this series, Jon Weece, lead follower, announced Southland's mission to "unleash a revolution of love." This main description was followed by four expressions that should define "the church".
1. We relentlessly pursue a transforming relationship with God.
2. We sacrificially serve our families.
3. We radically invest in the next generation.
4. We generously extend hope to the poor.
While the worship music is live at each campus, the teaching is usually live at the Harrodsburg Road campus in Nicholasville, Kentucky and then streamed live to the Richmond Road campus in Lexington and the Danville campus. Because of this, all campuses are able to have the same teaching schedule and same service times. Currently, there is a Saturday evening service at 5:30pm, a Sunday morning service at 9:30 am, and a Sunday morning service at 11:15. In addition, the Harrodsburg Road campus has a 9:40am service in a smaller video venue with café-style seating and the Richmond Road campus in Lexington has a "608" service at 6:08pm which is geared towards college students and younger adults. All services are contemporary in style and casual in dress.
SouthlandOnline.tv streams at 12pm and 8pm on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursdays and 9:30am, 11:15am, 2pm, 4pm, and 6:08pm on Sundays.