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Alta Woods Scholar Credits Local Churches for Foundational Support at MC

James Bradley McGlothin, a junior Christian Studies and History scholar, received the 2021 Alta Woods Baptist Church Scholarship.
James Bradley McGlothin, a junior Christian Studies and History scholar, received the 2021 Alta Woods Baptist Church Scholarship.

The sustaining value of local church support for Mississippi College students cannot be overstated.

For James Bradley McGlothin, recipient of the 2021 Alta Woods Baptist Church Scholarship, that truth has helped ensure a ministerial future unencumbered by debt.

The junior Christian Studies and History scholar knows how important church support can be. During his last semester of high school, the French Camp native started preaching and conducting Bible studies in his home congregation at Bethsaida Baptist Church before opting to pursue a degree from MC.

“I came from a small, private Christian school, and I had a lot of friends who were going to MC,” McGlothin said. “When I came here for a visit, I got the same feeling – It was a strong Christian school with similar values to my own.

“I wanted to get some foundational classes of Biblical Greek and some core Christian Studies classes before going on to seminary, so I chose to come to MC.”

He is definitely making the most of his opportunity at the Christian college. Dr. Burn Page, professor and chair of Christian Studies, said McGlothin’s performance in the Greek 101 class he teaches is consistent with his stellar 4.0 overall GPA.

“Bradley was prepared for the class from Day One,” Page said. “He had all the required textbooks, and he took copious notes. There was no question that he was fully engaged in the class.”

Dr. Ivan Parke, professor of Christian Studies, said McGlothin has excelled in all of the subjects Parke has taught him.

“He never missed class, sat on the front row, and occasionally stayed after class to ask good questions,” Parke said. “Last spring, Bradley apprised me that he was changing his major to double major in history and Christian Studies. I was quite excited.

“Students like Bradley would be cherished by any academic department.”

Those academic credentials solidified McGlothin’s selection by the Alta Woods Baptist Church for its $1,000 scholarship, presented annually to an outstanding Christian Studies student at MC. A part of the Jackson community for more than 70 years, the church at 168 Colonial Drive seeks to reach people for Christ in a variety of ways.

Its diverse missions include work with the Children’s of Mississippi ministry, the women’s prison ministry, and Operation Christmas Child, among others. Since June 2016, the church has partnered with New Jerusalem Baptist Church to share its 1,200-seat sanctuary and other facilities.

Page serves as the church’s pastor and worked as its interim pastor for five years before that. At MC, he also serves as director of the Institute for Christian Leadership based in historic Provine Chapel.

In November, McGlothin had the opportunity to thank members of the Alta Woods Baptist Church personally by giving a sermon for the congregation.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “They were very kind to me, and I got to preach Colossians 1:15-17, about the supremacy of Christ.”

Page said he was proud of his pupil’s performance in the classroom and in front of the pews.

“It was very meaningful, especially because Bradley did such a great job preaching that morning,” Page said. “A church likes to take ‘holy pride’ in being a part of a young man’s ministry who ‘correctly handles the word of truth’ (2 Tim. 2:15).”

While he hasn’t yet decided which seminary to attend, McGlothin is certain of his academic goals: to obtain a Master’s of Divinity and, ultimately, a Ph.D. He said the Alta Woods Baptist Church Scholarship will help him enter the next phase of his journey to the ministry.

“My plan is to become a pastor, and I would love to also teach in a seminary,” he said. “The Lord will ultimately see about that, but right now, that’s the plan.

“The scholarship came at a perfect time for me. It has helped to fill the gap, so Lord willing, I’ll be debt-free when I graduate from MC. That’s a huge benefit going into the ministry. It is helping to free me up so I can see where the Lord takes me. I’ll be able to invest in seminary without having to worry about finances. It’s very special.”

Parke said he has every confidence McGlothin will succeed in his ministerial efforts.

“Hall of Fame pitcher Dizzy Dean asserted, ‘It ain’t bragging if you can do it.’ Bradley is smart enough to brag, but he models humility. He is respectful and considerate. Consequently, I’m confident that he will succeed as a graduate student as well as a minister. He is pleasant and positive. His work ethic is commendable.

“God honors the righteous and exalts the humble. Bradley already defers to God, crediting God’s amazing grace.”

McGlothin, who has been attending Grace Community Church in Jackson during his time at MC, said the scholarship is indicative of the support local congregations provide students.

“There are so many things going on on MC’s campus. It’s important for students to balance their school, social time, and church life in a way that is healthy and pleasing to God,” he said.

“The Lord has put a lot of great local churches around MC that students can be involved in. It’s really crucial for anybody coming to MC to get plugged into a local, healthy church.”