Southside Baptist Church welcomes Pastor Johnny Harvey and his family. Pictured is his wife, Allison, Pastor Harvey and their four daughters from left to right: Mylee, Skylar, Naomi and Brooklyn.

Last year Southside Baptist Church celebrated 50 years in the Brandon community and said goodbye to its senior pastor.

After a weekend visit to Southside Baptist Church, Pastor Johnny Harvey and his wife Allison prayed on the decision to lead the church, and he said, “I fell in love with the community and saw many opportunities for ministries here.”

In April, Pastor Harvey, along with Allison and their four girls, relocated from Atlanta to Brandon to become the senior pastor. In Atlanta, Pastor Harvey worked with the North American Mission Board (NAMB) equipping and encouraging those planting churches.

A few months before receiving the invitation to Brandon, the Harveys began sensing that God was calling them back into ministry at the local church. Pastor Harvey also believes that his time with NAMB helped prepare him as he steps in to shepherd Southside Baptist Church.

The new pastor was impressed by Southside Baptist Church’s longstanding presence in Brandon and its dedicated core group of members. He explained how the church is in a season of praying as they ask God to lead the church to where He wants it to go. One thing is for sure—everyone is ready to show love to the surrounding neighborhood.

“We want to get out into our community, share the gospel obediently and faithfully, serve Him through our local community and love people boldly,” said Pastor Harvey.

For the second year, the church will host its unconventional Vacation Bible School (VBS), where it brings the VBS experience to the people rather than inviting participants to its campus. VBS@The Park kicks off on Wednesday, July 18 at the Bloomingdale East Park, located at 3902 Natures Way Blvd. in Valrico.

The first night begins at 6 p.m. and then from Thursday, July 19 to Saturday, July 21, the rest of the VBS evenings will take place from 5-7:30 p.m. Dinner is served from 5-5:30 p.m. on these nights and families and children are welcome to attend.

On a weekly basis, Sunday services are held at 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday school is available for all ages at 9:30 a.m. Pastor Harvey described the Sunday evening services as a “more intimate and disciple-driven” time. A midweek service is also held on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m.

More information can be found at The church is located at 415 W. Lumsden Rd. in Brandon.

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Amanda Boston is the Christian Voice Editor for the Osprey Observer. She is a graduate of Bible Training for Church Leaders (BTCL), who enjoys sharing how God is working in and through the community. Amanda resides in FishHawk with her husband and two children.