Inspired by the fervor and passion of Dr. Bob Jones Sr., the ministerial class at Bob Jones University has sung these words of their trademark song for decades.
Even now, Ministry Chapel sings the same song, though the old ministerial class system and the “preacher boys” who took it have been replaced by a newly designed ministry class for all students who feel the call to ministry. This Wednesday, Oct. 9, students will watch a film titled Dr. Bob Jones Sr. and His Preacher Boys to recognize BJU’s annual Heritage Day. The film portrays the founder’s passion of sharing the Gospel and will focus on the early days of the ministerial class that advanced that Gospel outreach.
Heritage Day presents an opportunity to learn about more than just the facts and figures of our University. Randy Page, chief of staff, said, “I think the important thing to remember at any institution is that it’s not about things; it’s about people.” And the preacher boys of Dr. Bob Sr. formed an integral part in BJU’s history, our founders’ hearts and BJU’s mission—training students to go and spread the Gospel.
The first year of Bob Jones College, there were six. In 1947, exactly 20 years later, there were 600 “preacher boys” at Bob Jones, which had just become a University.
To be sure, not everyone at BJU was a preacher boy. With six academic schools, men and women had a variety of majors to choose from. But the preacher boys were something special; they were Dr. Bob Sr.’s heartbeat.
As an evangelist, Dr. Bob was consumed by a passion to reach the world for Christ, and he strove to do so from his early teens.
Young as he was when he began to preach, Dr. Bob knew he couldn’t reach the world alone. The preacher boys were the solution, young men as zealous for the ministry as the man who would begin to train them.
Though the Ministerial Class started small, it grew quickly. After the GI bill passed following World War II, enrollment in BJU nearly doubled and the number of preacher boys had grown to be 100 times the original size.
A few years ago, the ministry program evolved, and the Ministerial Class system that for decades had produced the preacher boys was updated and expanded. Once the “Preacher Boy class” changed, the term was not used as often because students who sought different types of ministries enrolled in the program alongside the traditional ministerial students.
Now traditional ministerial students alongside other ministry-oriented students train together to leave these halls and join other BJU alumni in Dr. Bob’s original vision: to reach the lost as Christ commands.
Research by Andrew Schmidt