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December-January 2014

Roots: Growing
Deeper in Faith


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Exceeding Abundantly

by Dustin Walters


Paul wrote in Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever, amen.” This verse has taken on a deeper meaning to me during my time at Welch College.

I am not Paul, nor am I a member of the Ephesian Church. But I agree with Paul that God is able to do more than we ask or think. When God chooses to act in this way, it is for His glory—something I have learned as God has been faithful to me during my time at Welch College.


College Decision

Throughout my life, I have known the importance of attending college. Dad never attended college but always tried to convey its importance to me. I will be the first in my immediate family to graduate from college, which brings a sense of pride and motivation for my studies.

During high school, I never set my mind on a particular college. I had already answered the call to the ministry, but opportunities opened up elsewhere. I was a football manager, and a school in North Alabama presented an offer to be the manager there. Between a Pell Grant and the scholarship, my schooling would have been paid for without much worry. This was a great relief for my family and me.

I had prayed about the opportunity before it arrived. I thought God would use me to “shine the light” at a secular school. After all, one of my best friends from high school was planning to play on the football team. We were going to be roommates, and I thought I would be his spiritual mentor. While God could have used me there, He had a better choice in mind.

I completed the admission process at the University of North Alabama, finished all necessary paper work, and was admitted. All that remained was to register for fall classes.


What God Wants

God began to deal with me about the decision I was making. He did this through personal prayer and study, but also through others with whom I came in contact. I made the decision to attend Welch College on my own, but God sent several people who helped me see what God could do. One was my high school librarian, Lesa Parker. She had attended Welch College. She never once told me that I should as well, but she asked me the question, “Are you doing what you want to do, or what God wants you to do?” This question convicted me greatly as it related to my college choice.

God continued to convict me about college. A Welch faculty member, Terry Forrest, was influential in my decision. He called me one afternoon while I was at work. When he called, I was sure God wanted me to attend UNA because everything had fallen into place. Brother Forrest proposed that the enemy opens doors just like God does. He asked pointedly, “If God has called you to be a preacher, don’t you think you need to study to be a preacher and not something else? Why would you want to get a degree in a field that God did not call you to?” He told me that he wanted me to pray earnestly about this, and that he would be praying for me as well. If Terry Forrest prays for you, you should prepare for God’s leading. I’m grateful that prayer still changes things.

Time went on, and I began to sense that God might be leading me to Welch, but I wasn’t ready to submit to His calling. Then, I read 2 Chronicles 25:9, and the passage spoke to me clearly. The story of King Amaziah should be studied and loved by all Christians. God told Amaziah to trust Him as mighty in battle. Amaziah did what we would all do based on natural wisdom. He hired an army. But God instructed Amaziah not to use his mercenaries. His instructions left Amaziah “questioning his investment” in verse 9.

After reading that passage, God really convicted me about where I would go to school. It seemed as though the Holy Spirit was saying, “If God can give you $1,000 for a semester of school, what makes you think He can’t give you $10,000 for a semester?” God was showing me through the Holy Spirit that I didn’t fully trust Him. I was so focused on how I could pay for school that I did not trust God as I should.

So, I continued seeking a way to make ends meet on my own.


Work Hard and Believe God

I think it is biblical to have a strong work ethic, but too often, I rely entirely on my own talents and abilities. God showed me that I should trust Him because He owns “the cattle on a thousand hills.” God is the best provider anyone could hope for. He is, after all, Jehovah-Jireh.



Clearly, I was relying on my own power and wisdom to attend college. I had been taught self-reliance from an early age—if you don’t work, you don’t eat. No doubt, Christians should be hard working above all others. However, we must realize why we are working: to bring glory to Jesus.


More Than Money

To those considering Welch College, I urge you: do not allow money to be the determining factor. I ask you to search yourself and determine whether you really trust God or not. One note of caution: I am not advocating a “prosperity gospel,” where, if you just trust God, everything will be given to you. But if you really believe God is calling you to Welch, He will provide a way.

He has provided for me “exceedingly abundantly” as the KJV renders Ephesians 3:20-21. God did not pay for my schooling up front. I have endured many struggles, and it has not always been easy to make my payments; but God has provided. He has provided through faithful supporters sending random money; He has provided through loans, scholarships, and the faithful giving of those within our denomination. And He has provided me with a great job.


Wait on God

I see God’s faithfulness as it relates to my school bill. My first semester at Welch started out in the hole— $1,700 behind on payments. I began to doubt God. I said, “God, I thought You wanted me to come here. How can I come if I can’t pay for it?” God reminded me to trust Him once again. In one month’s time, my first semester was paid in full—$10,103. I could have never done this on my own. God did it!

By the time I started my second semester, I had a job at UPS. I was still uncertain how I would come up with enough money for just another month. After making payments and adding scholarships, I remained short by $272 (a large debt for a college student). God came through again. I had to work overtime during Christmas, but God used the extra wages to provide the means.

After completing my third semester at Welch College, I worked 12-hour days throughout the summer and on the final Friday of the summer I calculated I would be $671 short on the fall semester payment. On Monday, I was paid. You want to guess the amount? $686. God came through again.

I stand amazed at God’s goodness. He has provided exceedingly abundantly for me at Welch College, and I know He will do the same for others who place their complete trust in Christ. Consider the words of Ephesians 3:20-21: “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”

God will provide for His children. Not so we will obtain more wealth and earthly glory for ourselves, but that His glory will be proclaimed throughout the world. He is worthy of all glory and honor forever.

"If God calls you to Welch College, He will provide the means."

I pray God will use my story as a reminder that He is faithful and able. I pray for each person who reads this. You might be considering Welch College. Some of you might choose to help others attend by providing financially. I pray that you obey the Holy Spirit in your response.


About the Writer: Dustin Walters is a junior Pastoral Training major from Hamilton, Alabama, where he attended Winfield FWB Church. Learn more about Welch College at




©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists