Our Story

How it all started...

The first mention seen about Baptist Student Union at Jacksonville State University was 1930. First Baptist Church of Jacksonville was where it was established. According to their 1985 church history, written by Dan Hollis, the church started ministry to students at Jacksonville State Normal College shortly after it was established in 1871. It was a Baptist state convention study committee in 1923 that explored ways to enhance student work. Records show that by 1937 there was an active BSU group at JSU. In 1935, the BSU president participated in the BSU convention.
A campus minister was employed by the State Board of Missions beginning in 1957. There have been four since that time.

Campus Ministers

Leonard Roten

1957 - 1967
Leonard is from Missouri and moved back there after his ten years as campus minister at Jacksonville State. 

John Tadlock

1967 - 1981
Tad is from Mississippi. He left JSU to be campus minister at Clemson and later served as state director of campus ministry in Virginia. He is retired in Richmond.

Bob Ford

Prior to coming to Jacksonville, Bob served at both Montevallo and Livingston.  Bob still resides in Jacksonville.

Gary Brittain

1990 - 2023
Gary moved to Jacksonville to work as an associate to Bob Ford. He is from nearby Hokes Bluff.  He previously served at Livingston University, as a volunteer campus minister and an area campus minister.

BSU Secretaries/Directors

Mary Jane Buoy                               January – June 1948
Joy Cunningham                              June – December 1948
James W. Railey                              January 1949 – January1950
David Richardson                            January 1950 – August 1950
Richard D. Wallace                         September 1950 – August 1951
Mary Jo Thomas                              September – December 1951
Frances Jones                                  January – March 1952
Betty Ann Hogue                             April – September 1952
Lula Mae Leake                               April 1953 – November 1954
Anita Ward                                       April – August 1955
Willis Harper                                    August 1955 – July 1957

from A History of First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Alabama 1836-1986, p 164

Faculty Advisors

P.J. Arnold                                               1947-1953
Mrs. Lucille Crow                         1954-1955
Mr. Gibson                                      1957
Dr. Gary (Doc)                                1958
Mrs. Charlotte Thornburg        1963-64
Mr. Opal Lovett                           1968-1972
Dr. Virgil Benson                        1972-1973
Mr. Jim Roberts                          1974-1975
Mr. Rodney Friery                     1979-1981
Mrs. Miriam Higginbotham 1983-1989
Dr. Marvin Shaw                       1990-2011
Coach Jim & Dr. Jan Case     2012-2015
Mr. Rence Cochran                     2016-Present

Where we are headed...

BSU started as a ministry to campus headquartered at First Baptist Church of Jacksonville. Through the years the groups moved from vespers, choirs and banquets to an ensemble, Agape lunchesSPOTS trips, and summer missions. Today, with the name changed to BCM, the experience is BCM Worship, praise bands, and D-Groups. But the substance of the ministry remains the same-- to see lost students saved, saved students discipled and discipled students sent--to the campus and into the world.