Heroes of the Faith: S.M. Lockridge

I’ve decided to do a little research into some of the great people of faith over the centuries. With today being the 1st day of Black History month, let’s look at S.M. Lockridge. (March 7, 1913 – April 4, 2000) was the Pastor of Calvary Baptist Church, a prominent African-American congregation in San Diego, California, from 1953 to 1993. He was known for his preaching across the United States and around the world.

Lockridge was born in Robertson County, Texas, the oldest of eight children and the son of a Baptist minister. A graduate of Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, he worked for two years as a high school English teacher. In 1940 in Dallas, he felt led to preach. In 1941 he married Virgil Mae Thomas.

In 1942, he accepted his first pastorate at Fourth Ward Baptist Church in Ennis, TX. In August 1952, he was named pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in San Diego where he served until retiring in 1993.

During Lockridge’s tenure at Calvary Baptist, a predominantly African-American congregation, his ministry reached more than 100,000 people. He preached at crusades, revivals, religious rallies and evangelistic conferences around the world.

He also served in key regional, state and national positions with the Baptist Church, including being elected as the Moderator of the Progressive Baptist District Association, President of the California Missionary Baptist State Convention, and the first president of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America, where he held all three major positions simultaneously.

He held doctorates and numerous honorary degrees, and was often sought as a public speaker, even after he retired in 1993. He served as guest lecturer at numerous schools and universities and on the faculty of several others, including the Billy Graham School of Evangelism.

Lockridge was active in the civil rights movement, and under his leadership Calvary Baptist hosted several of its leaders, including Martin Luther King Jr.

Lockridge’s best-known message is a six and a half minute description of Jesus Christ, known as “That’s my King!” for Lockridge’s repeated refrain. Here’s a portion of that message: