School History

The idea for a school of biblical studies in Austin, Texas belongs to Norman Starling. Norman approached the elders at the Southwest Church of Christ with the idea and in 1978 the school began training men to preach. What began as a one-year school became a two-year school operating eleven months out of each year. We are tuition-free. We take students through a study of every book in the Bible and related courses. If you are passionate about improving your knowledge of God’s word let’s talk.

The Southwest Congregation

The first meeting of the Lord’s church currently known as the Southwest congregation occurred on September 4, 1955. The nucleus of the congregation was made up mostly of interested members from the San Marcos Street, Govalle, and Southside congregations in Austin. It was identified according to its location as the Ford Village church of Christ. Its members began meeting in the Jerry Joslin Elementary School building, 4500 Manchaca Road. Two elders, the late brothers Bert Powell and Bruce Voges, were appointed in 1961 to guide and oversee this work. Shepherds chosen in the years to follow include Marion Taylor, Hilton Sherrod, Bill Siebert, Charles Cauley, Brett Gerhardt, and David Locke. Brothers Bill Siebert, Brett Gerhardt, and Mark Speir continue to serve as elders of the Southwest congregation. J. D. Pinkerton was the first full-time preacher to work with the congregation, followed by J. Leathel Roberts, and other Gospel preachers including Johnny Ramsey, Jerry Moffitt, Bill Jackson, Rick Brumback, Sam Willcut, and Cody Westbrook.

Soon after the first year of meeting, the church decided to build a brick building with seven classrooms and an auditorium with a seating capacity of about two hundred, located at 1300 Redd Street. The growth of the congregation was rapid; within the first ten years of its existence, it was necessary to increase the number of classrooms and build a new auditorium. By 1973, even with multiple building additions completed, it was necessary to have two worship services on Lord’s Day mornings. In order to accommodate all of those attending, it was necessary for the young people to meet in the home of Ollie and Lois Brown (about two blocks from the building) for their class meetings, with three other classes meeting in a residence purchased behind the building. In that same year it was decided that a new facility was required to gain room for continuing growth.

A sixteen-acre plot located at 8900 Manchaca Road was purchased, on which the very beautiful 35,000 square foot facility which now houses an auditorium, classrooms, three libraries, printing rooms, and adequate space for the Southwest School of Bible Studies was constructed. The present building continues today as a familiar landmark for all who are acquainted with the southwest Austin area.

Among the many continuing works at Southwest are (1) The Southwest School of Bible Studies, which began operation in 1978; (2) A weekly podcast; (3) The weekly bulletin, The Southwesterner, which is sent to almost every state and many foreign countries; (4) Our monthly publication The Christian Worker, (third oldest paper in our brotherhood), which began publication from Southwest in 1986; and (5) The Spanish congregation, began in 1989 with Al Macias as the minister.

Now in its seventh decade, the Southwest congregation continues to share the riches of the gospel both in Austin and around the world. Its members remain committed to providing the Southwest School of Bible Studies as a means of spreading the gospel worldwide.