Riverside Baptist Church has quite a history beginning with a few faithful, praying Christians and a burden for lost souls. In April, 1981, after a series of Bible study meetings in the home of Perry Godwin, and after much prayer and seeking of the Lord’s will, a meeting was called to organize a new independent, fundamental Baptist church known as Riverside Baptist Church.
Earl Hales, Reginald Godwin, and Perry Godwin were named trustees. One acre at the present site was given by Vester and Ethel Boykin.
Several meetings were held to write the constitution and the articles of faith.
Rev. Charles Carroll offered assistance in this area. Godwin, who had been licensed to preach by Bethany Baptist Church, was called as the first pastor of the new church.
Ralph Wood and Earl Hales were the first deacons. Susie Godwin was the first pianist, and Kathy Hales Kennedy was the first person saved under the ministry of Riverside.
The first service was held in the home of Perry and Mildred Godwin on June 7, 1981, and continued there until Oct. 4, 1981, when services were moved into a mobile home located at the present church site.
From the beginning, Riverside has been a missions-minded church. The church started with one missionary, Ron Vallejo, and now supports approximately 40 missionaries who preach throughout the world. As the founding pastor often said, “The sun never sets on the ministry of Riverside Baptist Church.”
As the church grew and missionaries were added, so were more buildings. The church has a 150-seat sanctuary, seven Sunday School rooms and a fellowship hall.
Founding pastor Godwin, died on July 10, 2003.
The church called Rev. Gene Payne of Raleigh to be its next pastor on Jan. 22, 2004, and he served until August 2010. On Feb. 6, 2011, Riverside Baptist Church called the Rev. Jerry (Jay) C. Murray, Jr., of Smithfield to be its next pastor. The Rev. Ken Bartholomew was called to pastor in December 2015.