History of the Restoration Movement

Melvin Monroe Campbell


Forty Years Of Gospel Preaching

Recently, Melvin Campbell of Killen, Alabama completed forty years of gospel preaching. He was honored on November 18 at International Bible College. Charles Coil, president of IBC presided at the program. The following made short speeches concerning brother Campbell: Gilbert Kretzer, Ralph Snell, Ralph Keeton and Robert Willis. All these spoke well of brother Campbell and his loyalty to Christ.

Brother Campbell was born October 5, 1912 near Hohenwald, Tenn. He moved with his parents to Anderson, Ala. not far from Florence on March 17, 1925. In July of that year he was baptized into Christ. On November 19, 1933 at North Carolina Church of Christ near Florence, Ala. he preached his first gospel sermon.

Brother Campbell marred Arlene Yancey October 13, 1934. They have three sons and one daughter. They also have eight grandchildren.

During the years 1947, 1948, 1956, and 1957, brother Campbell attended Mars Hill Bible School. He now works as a bus driver for Mars Hill Bible School. He also preaches at Center Hill Church and serves as an elder there with five other elders.

Brother Campbell preaches in many gospel meetings; he has conducted meetings in some places as many as six times. He has preached for forty-three congregations in Lauderdale County where he has lived for forty-eight years. He has preached for thirteen churches in Colbert County, Ala.; four in Franklin County, Ala.; and six in other places in Ala. He has preaches for thirty-five congregations in Tennessee, and one in Mississippi. He has done regular preaching work at the following places, all in Lauderdale County: Shiloh Lone Cedar, Oakland, Stutts Road, Atlas, and at Center Hill where he has been for six years.

I was in Kentucky preaching when brother Campbell was honored. I wanted to do something for this man who has served the Lord faithfully and preached the gospel forty years, so I wrote the following poem for him which Brother Coil read during the program in which brother Campbell was honored.

For Melvin Campbell On His Fortieth Anniversary Of His Preaching

Though the apostles were enjoined
To teach till all men heard
In the Book of Acts we read
That others also preached the word!

Here's one who has done just this
For forty years he's told
The message that's newest yet
Of all things that are old!

He has pointed to the empty tomb
Where lay the mangled frame
Of him who endured Golgotha
And bore the awful shame!

He told the Arimathean's grave
Which served as a precious bed
Echoed the angelic words
"Why seek the living among dead?"

He's told of the precious church
And that for it the Saviour died.
And proclaimed the sweetest story yet,
For all the Saviour was crucified!

He's not been to the moon
But far better than going there
He's been here and there to preach
Preparing to meet the Lord in the air!

Preach, preach, preach my brother,
The unsearchable riches of grace
You will be mighty glad you did
When you meet God face to face!

-Basil Overton

-World Evangelist, Basil Overton, Vol. 2, No. 5, December, 1973, page 9

World Evangelist Obituary

Melvin Campbell was a well known gospel preacher in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee. He was born near Hohenwald, TN on October 5, 1912 to John and Tabitha Webb Campbell. In 1926 he father moved his family to Lauderdale County, AL. He first lived in Anderson, but soon moved to the Pleasant Valley Community. Here Melvin met and married Arlene Yancey October 13, 1934. In their 56 years together, they had four children, Jim, Mary Frances, Johnny and David.

Since brother Campbell's father was also a gospel preacher, he was exposed early in life to the scriptures. In the course of his 90 years he studied and meditated on the scriptures and was widely known for his knowledge of the Bible. He especially loved the book of James. His desire to share his hop with others and with encouragement from his wife, he was prompted to preach.

Melvin preached his first sermon at North Carolina Church of Christ near Killen, AL. on November 19, 1934. From that time until he became disabled 56 years later, he preached in three states. Including his preaching regularly for congregations and his preaching in series of gospel meetings, he preached in 118 congregations. He served as full time minster at the churches of Christ at Atlas, Shiloh, Stutts Road, Lone Cedar, Oakland, Center Hill and Elgin all near Florence, AL. Almost without exception, the churches where he preached grew both spiritually and numerically.

In addition to his work in the pulpit, Melvin was willing to discuss the Bible with anyone, at any time, on a one on one basis. He was widely known as "The Little Preacher Man." It would be of great interest if an accurate record had been kept of the many people he baptized and the many funerals and wedding he conducted. It would be a fair estimate that he conducted more funerals and weddings than any other preacher in the area where he lived.

Brother Campbell started his preaching in the middle of the Great Depression, so getting to and from his appointments was a problem. It was several years later before he owned a car, so he would walk the 3 1/2 miles from his home to the highway to catch the bus to go to preach. He was often paid 50 cents, or less. to make ends meet, he also farmed. He practiced his sermons and quoted scriptures while following a pair of mules.

Melvin's accomplishments would have been more difficult had it not been for his faithful wife who supported him every step of the way. In the summer while he was away in gospel meetings, sister Campbell stayed behind and worked the farm. She cared for the four children, the crops, animals, garden, etc. In later years she went with him wherever he went. She preceded him in death on March 23, 1990. Melvin never fully recovered from her death and his health declined. In December 1995 he entered the Lauderdale Christian Nursing Home near Killen, AL., where he died July 2, 2002.

Melvin's grandson, Derek Hancock, assisted James Bridges in conducting his funeral. Among the many interesting memories of his granddaddy, Derek mentioned the following: "It is no small task to try to eulogize someone who has meant so much to me. And not just to me but to thousands of others. As I thought of the memories I have of him, I kept coming back to one word that seemed to sum it all up. Character! One word that has different meanings depending upon the context in which you use it. You can say that an individual was possessed of a great deal of character, or you can say that the individual was a character. Both meanings applied very well to my Grandaddy." To all those who knew Melvin Campbell that seems to summarize his illustrious life.

-Almon Watson, Melvin's brother-in-law, World Evangelist, Vol. 31, No. 4, November 2002, Page 13.

Location Of The Grave Of Melvin Campbell

Melvin and Arlene Campbell are buried near Florence, Alabama. From Florence, Alabama travel east on U. S. Hwy 72 continuing through Killen and Center Star. Begin watching for mile markers. At mile marker 47, go .5 miles, turn right onto County Road 33 and continue going south 1.6 miles, arriving at the Pleasant Valley Church of Christ. The cemetery is behind the building. There is an access road that goes around the building, between it and the cemetery. The grave is in the front row facing the building near the pavilion. The church building is located at 3700 County Road 33, Killen, AL 35645.

Arlene Campbell - January 2, 1918 - March 23, 1990
Melvin Campbell - October 5, 1912 - July 2, 2002

Photos Taken: May 31, 2016
Webpage Produced: May 5, 2016
Updated: August 18, 2020

History Home

History Index Page