In the summer of 1915, a group of Baptist believers gathered for their first official Assembly meeting on the property of the Carter family in Van Buren, MO. They called their meeting Southeast Missouri Bible Institute. The following year, the Carter family donated 35 acres of their property, and Ozark Lumber and Mining Company donated another 35 acres, to make the 70 acre campground we still enjoy today. The name was later changed to South Missouri Baptist Assembly.
In the early years, the Assembly gathered for one or two week-long meetings in the summer. People camped in tent villages and prepared communal meals around campfires. They enjoyed spirited worship services and great preaching. They participated in many family activities, and spent both quiet and recreational time on Current River.
Over the years, buildings have been added and programs have expanded. Modern air conditioned buildings replaced the tent cities, and a dining hall replaced the communal campfire meals. But the purpose remains the same – to provide a place where people can come together to worship our Lord and Savior.
SMBA is supported by its member associations: Reynolds Baptist Association, Cane Creek Stoddard Baptist Association, Southeast Missouri Baptist Association, and South Central Baptist Association. These organizations and their member churches make up the majority of our guests and visitors, but we welcome and encourage others to come and enjoy our facilities, as well.
1. We believe fully that the Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is the only written record of God’s revelation of Himself to man.
2. We believe the teachings of the Bible are relevant to today’s society and to traditional family values.
3. We believe salvation is a gift of God through faith in His only begotten son, Jesus Christ.
South Missouri Baptist Assembly Inc. is a facility that exists for the purpose of providing a place where the associations, churches, and agencies of the Southern Baptist Convention can empower kingdom growth by doing evangelism and discipleship in the name of Jesus Christ.
The goal of SMBA is to provide an environment in its facilities and activities that encourages development in spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social, and physical areas.
SMBA does permit other Christian denominations and non-profit groups whose purpose and objectives are compatible with those of SMBA to use its facilities, as space is available.
In keeping with the purpose of SMBA, the manager has the authority to schedule or refuse use of the facilities. Any group using the facilities must agree to abide with the rules and regulations, safety procedures, and the Statements of Faith and Purpose.