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news about the denomination

The following news items apply to (or affect) the Free Will Baptist denomination scattered across the nation and around the world.To read more about Free Will Baptists and the various departments that make up the national organization, visit


Read a brief history of Free Will Baptists in the United States.




Ryan LewisANTIOCH, TN—On August 4, 2008, 25-year-old Ryan Lewis joined the Executive Office staff as executive administrator. Although young, Lewis brings substantial promotional and managerial experience to the position.

Executive Secretary Keith Burden said, “We are glad to welcome Ryan to our team. While he is young, he has all of the abilities and skills necessary to make him an excellent meeting planner. We look forward to seeing what he will accomplish in the years to come.”

Ryan graduated from FWBBC summa cum laude in 2005 with a B.S. degree in Exercise Science. He was voted Most Outstanding Student his senior year and was included in Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities. He traveled with the New Mercy and Rejoice ministry teams, and played baseball and basketball for the Flames.

Following graduation, Lewis joined the college staff as director of student recruitment. He held the position until October 2005, when he resigned to accept the associate pastor position at First FWB Church in Amory, MS. While serving at the church, he also worked with the music and youth, and coached the boys’ basketball team at Amory Christian Academy.

Ryan is the son of Ernie and Suzanne Lewis. Ernie is pastor of Blue Point FWB Church in Cisne, IL, and assistant clerk of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

As executive administrator, Ryan will plan and manage the annual convention, represent the Executive Office at state meetings, assist in coordination of leadership training, organize disaster relief, and oversee, a website dedicated to providing practical resources for pastors.



Master’s Men Sponsors Tournaments

ANTIOCH, TN—Twenty-six teams representing nine states participated in the 2008 Master’s Men National Softball Tournament, August 1, 2. The growing tournament was played on fields in Mt. Juliet and Antioch, TN, in blistering conditions. When asked to describe the event in one word, participant Ryan Lewis (TN) responded emphatically, “Hot!” He went on to say with a smile, “It was an enjoyable event with tight competition. I was glad to see this many churches get involved to support Master’s Men.”

The tournament was a defensive battle, with low scoring throughout. The final score in the winners bracket was 4-2 as Community FWB Church (AR) edged out Kirby FWB Red (MI).


Community FWB Church


First place Championship Tournament
Community FWBC, AR (pictured above)
2nd place Kirby Red, MI
3rd place Westgate FWBC, SC
4th place Northridge FWBC, OH

Consolation Bracket: Calvary Fellowship from MO
Second place Zion Hill Green from GA

Across town, 72 golfers from nine states gathered at Pine Creek Golf Course for a 7 a.m. shotgun start as the 2008 Master’s Men National Golf Tournament got off to a fast start. The tournament finished in record time, with the first group finishing their round at 11:00 a.m. Perhaps the golfers were anticipating the buffet lunch of Tennessee barbeque, cole-slaw, baked beans, and hot chocolate chip cookies.
When all of the scores had been calculated, the team of Jerry Norris and Robert Maurer (MO) walked away with top honors, shooting a low round of 62. They were followed by the team of Junior Stamps and Johnny Loftis (TN) who shot a 65.



Free Will Baptist Chaplains Honored

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Chaplain Lt. Col. Tim Sturgill (Air Force, pictured below) recently received the Meritorious Service Medal for his work as the Deputy Command Chaplain of AFMC. Chaplain Sturgill will be relocating in late summer to Dover AFB, Delaware, where he will serve as Wing Chaplain. He will be responsible for all religious programming at the world’s largest aerial port, and he will supervise the ministry at DOD Port Mortuary where all fallen soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan are received.



FRANKFORT, KY—Chaplain Eddie Young, chaplain for the Kentucky National Guard and member of the Southside FWB Church (KY), was recently honored with the Commander Award for Public Service for 16 years of volunteer chaplain duty with the Prestonburg and Hazard Kentucky Units of National Guardsmen.

Young began his military career as a Tennessee National Guardsman and eventually joined the Navy. After receiving a medical discharge from the Navy, he became a member of the U.S. Air Force Auxiliary and eventually a chaplain.

When the Prestonburg National Guard Unit was deployed to Kosovo in 2004-05 in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Young provided a valuable service to those left behind. According to colleague William Draper, “Chaplain Young provided countless hours of counseling and chaplain support to the family members who had been deployed.”

In a honorary letter, Colonel Patrick J. Dolan (Chaplain), U.S. Army, said to Chaplain Young, “…I had heard of your ongoing service to our soldiers in the Prestonburg unit. Your care for them, in season and out of season, year after year, has been nothing short of legendary. It is a kindness we can never repay…”


©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists