Bruce T. Gourley, Executive-Director

Bruce T. Gourley was Executive-Director of the Baptist History and Heritage Society from 2010-2017.

An historian (Ph.D., Auburn University) and Internet innovator (creator and author of the Baptists and the American Civil War digital project, Yellowstone Net and Montana History Net), Bruce is the general editor of Baptist History & Heritage Journal, online editor for Baptists Today, editor of the Baptist Studies Bulletin, and the former Associate and later Interim Director of Mercer University’s former Center for Baptist Studies. In addition to Auburn University, Bruce holds degrees from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div) and Mercer University.


A Journey of Faith and Community: The Story of the First Baptist Church of Augusta, Georgia  (Mercer University Press, August 2017) — A religious, sociological and cultural analysis of one of the most historically prominent churches of the American South.

Crucible of Faith and Freedom: Baptists and the American Civil War  (Nurturing Faith, 2015) (review)

Baptists Today at 30: Enabling, Recording and Shaping a Baptist Movement  (Nurturing Faith, 2013)

Diverging Loyalties: Baptists in Middle Georgia During the Civil War  (Mercer University Press, 2011) – a top seller in’s Baptist books category* (read reviews)

Images of America: Manhattan, Belgrade, Amsterdam and Churchill and Amsterdam  (Montana) (Arcadia Publishing, 2011)

A Capsule History of Baptists  (Fields Publishing, 2010)

Leading the Way For 200 Years: The Story of the First Baptist Church of Huntsville, Alabama, 1809-2009 (Fields Publishing, 2009)

The GodMakers: A Legacy of the SBC? (Providence House Publishers, 1996)


“John Clarke,” in Witnesses to the Baptist Heritage: Thirty Baptists Every Christian Should Know, Michael E. Williams Sr., editor (Mercer University Press, 2016)

Update of “The Baptist Tradition,” in Worldmark Encyclopedia of Religious Practices (Missoula, Mont.: Thomas Riggs & Company, 2014 edition)

“A Brief Survey of Four Centuries of Baptist Mission Quest,” in On Mission With God: Free and Faithful Baptists in the Twenty-First Century, Pamela E. Durso, editor (Atlanta, Ga.: Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2011)

“Baptist Models of Polity: An Historical Overview,” in Walking Together: The Struggle of Baptists with Polity in the 21st Century (Richmond, Va.: Center for Baptist Heritage and Studies, 2005)


Bruce has authored over two thousand published papers and articles in print or digital form, including the select following related to Baptist history:

He has published book reviews in the following periodicals:

In addition, Bruce is the recipient of the Baptist History & Heritage Society’s 2005 Carolyn Blevins Meritorious Service Award and the 2006 Norman W. Cox Award “For Best Article Published by the Baptist History and Heritage Society in 2005,” for his article entitled “John Leland: Evolving Views of Slavery, 1789-1839.”



  • Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Coordinating Council
  • Georgia Baptist Heritage Council
  • Mainstream Alabama Baptists
  • Yellowstone Country Montana


Bruce has spoken at many conferences and in local churches on subjects related to Baptist history and American religious history at large. He also is available to speak on Yellowstone National Park tourism and history. Current speaking topics include religion and the American Civil War, the contemporary religious landscape in America, religious liberty and church state separation. To contact Bruce for a speaking engagement, click here.


Bruce is also an award-winning, semi-professional photographer whose work has been widely published and is available for sale at Fine Art America.


Bruce lives near Bozeman, Montana with his wife, Debra, and daughter, Elizabeth. He currently serves on the Nominating Committee of the national Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and is a former moderator of CBF West. Prior to his work with the Center for Baptist Studies and Baptist History and Heritage Society, Bruce served as a campus minister for the Yellowstone Baptist Association in Billings, Montana, while teaching church history and New Testament at Yellowstone Baptist College in Billings.

In addition, Bruce has created and maintains a variety of other websites, including his personal website and a Jekyll Island website.

He also enjoys being a father, hiking, backpacking, fly fishing, ultimate frisbee, and outdoor activities in general.

Bruce can be contacted by email or by phone (406-599-1754).

* rankings change constantly. Diverging Loyalties reached #8 in the Baptist books category on January 30, 2012.