Sunny Side

Ministry Team

Joel has served Sunny Side as pastor since August 1996.

Denise Varnadoe

Minister of Music
Denise has served as minister of music at Sunny Side since 1998.

Paul Muehlberger

Paul has served Sunny Side as Minister of Education since 2000.

The Deacons of our church are tasked with just one responsibility. They are to attend to the spiritual, physical  and emotional needs of the members of the church. If you have a need, please make it known to one of our deacons so they can provide the necessary assistance.

Lay Volunteers to the Next Generation

– June Baker
– Rick Betsill
– Emily Holmes
– Danny Pettus
– Layne Stewart

– Victor Barr
– Farah Betsill
– Lily Betsill
– Brayden Bone
– Angie Nichols

– Nikki Howell
– Robert Howell
– Danny Pettus
– Jennifer Pettus
– Joel Stewart

Basic Beliefs

Core Values


UNITY: The common bond of the fellowship is the confession of Jesus Christ as Lord.


DIVERSITY: Each person is the special and unique creation of God and those differences are celebrated and embraced as vital to the health of the church.


COOPERATION: We have been brought together as a single body of believers supporting one another’s ministry for the common goal of advancing the kingdom of God.


COMMITMENT: Believing God has established the church as the means to further His kingdom we believe it is appropriate for individuals to support the work of the church through their attendance in corporate services, participation in ministries according to individual call and financially with tithes and offerings.


ACCEPTANCE: We welcome everyone into the life of our church realizing that each of us are at a different place along our spiritual journey. It is not our place to judge but rather to embrace and encourage one another to discover the truth of God’s word and then apply those principles in one’s life.

What is reChurch?

#1 A return to the basics of Church life.

After 2000 plus years we have to ask ourselves, is this what God envisioned for His church? In the book of Acts the early church experience was quite simple:

42 And they were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

43 And everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

44 And all those who had believed were together, and had all things in common;

45 and they began selling their property and possessions, and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

46 And day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

47 praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

Acts 2:42-47 (NASB77)

We want to focus our efforts on corporate worship of God, small group bible study and fellowship, community outreach and ministry, all with the expressed purpose of leading others to faith in Christ.

#2 The removal of barriers that keep others from coming to faith in Christ.

It is not their intention, but unfortunately many churches can often be the biggest obstacle to individuals coming to know Jesus as Lord and Savior. It is not a criticism or condemnation of other churches. It has just been our experience that some churches place undue burdens and high expectations on individuals genuinely interested in knowing more about Jesus. The church must have an open door and more importantly an open heart for all people. It does not matter what you have done in the past or are presently about today. One does not have to accept the tenants of our faith, or act in a certain way to find acceptance in the church. We welcome the opportunity to have an open and honest dialogue about matters of faith.

#3 Recapturing our passion for the Lord and His Church.

It is so easy to become comfortable in the faith, to take God for granted. When that happens we fail to fulfill our purpose as followers of Christ. It does not happen overnight. It takes time and after a while one comes to realize how far from God they have drifted. It can happen to the best of us, but like the prodigal son, we can come to our senses and return to the Father. To do this we must be reminded of what it was like when we first entered into a relationship with the Lord, how we were filled with excitement and expectation. Here at Sunny Side we want to help individuals recapture what they have lost or discover what is missing from their life.

Baptist Faith & Message

We are a Southern Baptist Church in that we stand in agreement with the stated beliefs of our denomination as expressed in the Baptist Faith and Message.

We cooperate with the Southern Baptists locally, state wide, nationally and around the world by sending a portion of the monies received as tithes and offering for the expressed support of our missionaries and seminaries. 

Our Journey

The First Baptist Church of Sunny Side was organized in 1840, making it one of the oldest churches in the area. For 180 plus years, from one generation to the next, men and women have faithfully served the Lord. The church has seen seasons of growth as well as decline. Over the years the community of Sunny Side has changed. The church itself has relocated to its present location, was burned to the ground and rebuilt, hit by a tornado and repaired. Property was purchased, buildings constructed. Ministries started and ended all with but one purpose: To reach the community for Christ.


Today we seek to continue the tradition of an unwavering commitment to the cause of Christ. We have recently embraced some changes that we believe will help us be more effective in ministering to the needs of our community. We seek to be a church that will serve as a beacon of hope to our community; a place where all people can come and experience the love of Christ. We would like to invite you to join us on this journey.

Where this journey will take us, only the Lord knows. One of the things that the current leadership of the church realizes is that we must prepare the church for the next generation. We stand on the shoulders of past generations and we want to continue that great tradition of passing the baton of leadership to the next generation of believers that the Lord will raise up in this church. All that we do is for those who are not yet a part of our family. May the First Baptist Sunny Side’s journey continue until the Lord returns.