Our Story

How it all started...

The following Brief History of the Springfield Baptist Student Union was written by Wayne Bartee, former Professor of History at Missouri State University, and alumnus of the Springfield BSU.

"Students launched the BSU in Springfield immediately after their return from the first Southwide student convention in 1926. Clara Lindsey Fuson recalled years later the enthusiasm they brought home from that gathering. They quickly secured the sponsorship of their home church, First Baptist Church. By February 1927, the FBC Sunday Bulletin was announcing a meeting of the well-organized BSU Council of 16 members and a church sponsor.

“Each morning they hold a 15-minute prayer meeting before school opens at Teachers College [now MSU]. One of their aims is to help solve young people’s problems. Watch them grow!”

Expanding the vision...

And grow they did! By 1929, they were strong enough to host the first state student convention and through the years several members served as state presidents. A succession of able directors led the student work as it expanded, and many served also as Bible teachers. Groups sprang up at Drury and other schools also, in recent years including OTC.

In 1949, FBC Springfield, along with the Greene County Association, purchased a house on National Avenue across from the campus for $18,000 to give the BSU its own home. In 1956 this house and the adjoining one were torn down to allow the construction of a spacious new Baptist Student Center with a classroom, lounge, offices, and a large basement with a kitchen. Their lunches were served daily and for years ping pong was played, always with zeal--sometimes with talent! Recently the Chinese Church has met there too.

The stated purpose of BSU has always been “to serve as a link between church and campus.” Dean Finley, student intern, then director 2000-2007, remembers the strong emphasis always on discipling students and training leaders for the next generation in churches and BSU work.

The center has served as a “home away from home” for students as well as a locus for activities. It would be impossible to name all that the center has witnessed. Some of the most memorable are: Bible study, prayer groups, singing groups such as The Eternal Generation and New Dawn, parties, daily lunches, Monday night dinners, preparations for mission trips, youth revivals, concerts, plans for retreats and conventions, on and on. More than a few BSUers met at the center and later married the girl or guy of their dreams.

Where we are headed...

The approval for plans in 2019 to replace the current building with a five-story structure containing apartments and retail area as well as ample BSU space signals a revival of support for the BSU, with stable financing, as our 100th birthday approaches in the 2020s!

Chris Wilson, the current BSU director, adds that even under the COVID pandemic “We still continue the tradition of providing meals, but our main focus is discipleship. Life on life discipleship. We are continuing to partner with our local churches to reach the campus with the gospel.”

Be a part of our story...

Join us every Thursday night for The Gathering in the Plaster Student Union at 7:00 pm.
We also serve our BAND and FOOTBALL TEAM each week.

Our Community Groups meet at The Potter's House, the PSU, and all around the campus. Email staff@springfieldbsu.org if interested