On June 1, 1986 Pastor Paul Hoover and his wife Cindy founded the Souls Harbor Baptist Church. The first service was held at the Chapel of the Flowers in Brookfield, WI with 41 in attendance. That summer and fall included picnics, revival meetings, and youth activities. In January of 1987 a building was purchased in the inner-city of Milwaukee at the corner of 13th and Juneau.
The church took as one of its mottoes, “the old church downtown”, and grew steadily as people in the neighborhood were reached through old-fashioned soul winning and a heart of compassion. The congregation was also interested in the well-being of the community at large. To that end, the 13th and Juneau Association and block watch club were created to aid in improving the neighborhood. The neighborhood improved dramatically over the years, and the church continued to preach the old-fashioned Gospel to the expressway society.
New Location & Building
In 1992, an acre of vacant land was purchased a half block from the old building on North 12th Street. This was the proposed site for a brand new church building. In preparation for this new project, the old church building on Juneau was sold and the congregation bought a store front building on 37th and Lisbon to use as an interim meeting place.
Although the location was temporary… the Lord blessed and the church grew at 3722 W. Lisbon. The bus ministry grew, families were helped, and the Spanish ministry was started with the help of the Seda family.
In 1993, the first unit of the new building was dedicated. Eight years later in 2001 construction began on expanding the building. Two wings were added, tripling the size of the building. These new additions offered the church a bigger auditorium, fellowship hall, kitchen, larger nurseries, and twelve large classrooms.
With the ever-changing needs of a church, the Lord opened up an opportunity on the south side of the city in 2007. The disbanding Bay View Baptist Church sold their building to Souls Harbor, giving the ministry even more room to grow.