Dr. Steve Pettit, the eldest of four siblings, was born in Georgia and raised in South Carolina. He attended The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, earning a B.S. in Business Administration. His life took a significant turn during his freshman year of college when he experienced a profound transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Steve became a prominent figure on campus, serving as a cadet leader, chaplain of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes chapter, and co-captain of the 1977 record-setting soccer team. Feeling called to the ministry after graduation, he pursued an M.A. in Pastoral Studies at Bob Jones University.
In the initial five years of his ministry (1980-1985), Steve served as an assistant pastor at the First Baptist Church of Bridgeport, Michigan. Following that, for 29 years (1985-2014), he held the position of president of the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Association, where he traveled extensively, conducting over 800 campaigns and preaching in 21 countries. During this time, he established Heart Publications, which produced 18 different recordings over 20 years through the Steve Pettit Evangelistic Team. Steve also served as the director of Northland Camp and Conference Center from 2002 to 2011. In recognition of his contributions, Bob Jones University, Northland Baptist Bible College, and Ambassador Baptist College all awarded him an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in 1997.
In 2014, Dr. Pettit assumed the role of the fifth president of Bob Jones University, a position he held until 2023. During his tenure, he led the university with a strong commitment to the authority of Scripture and the integration of a biblical worldview into academic programs and student life. This involved maintaining a vibrant chapel program and focusing on student discipleship. Under his leadership, BJU achieved regional accreditation and tax exemption in 2017. The university also added numerous academic programs, established new schools such as the School of Health Professions and the School for Continuing Online and Professional Education, and created centers for Student Care, Global Opportunities, and Biblical Worldview. Additional sports programs were introduced, and BJU joined NCAA III. Steve has also authored seven books that focus on biblical themes and discipleship.
In 2015, Steve was recognized as the 139th Distinguished Alumni in the history of The Citadel. On May 5th, 2023, Steve Pettit Day was declared in the state of South Carolina by Governor Henry McMaster.
Presently, Dr. Pettit utilizes his gifts as a compelling communicator and expositor of Scripture with a focus on leadership. He travels as an itinerant evangelist with a gospel bluegrass musical team. Steve and his wife, Terry, have four adult children and five grandchildren.