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October-November 2013


November 2013

Journey of a Lifetime


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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 Lewis Achieves CMP Status

ANTIOCH, TN—Ryan Lewis, executive administrator for the National Association of Free Will Baptists, earned the CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation from the Convention Industry Council in July. Only a small percentage of conference planners and industry insiders achieve this honor due to the stringent requirements and comprehensive testing.
Free Will Baptists have long been regarded as pioneers in the religious meetings industry. Lewis follows in the footsteps of previous convention planners Jack Williams (who not only earned the CMP designation but also was among the first recipients), Keith Burden, Melvin Worthington, and Dean Jones.


Ryan Lewis, CMP

“The CMP designation is an important achievement for any planner,” Ryan said. “It shows a commitment to excellence and continuing education in the field. Free Will Baptists have developed a strong reputation in the religious meeting industry due to the efforts of my predecessors, and I want to uphold the high standard they set.”

Executive administrator since 2008, Ryan plans and manages the annual convention and leadership conference, represents the Executive Office at state meetings, assists in coordinating leadership training, and oversees, a website dedicated to providing practical resources for pastors.

“The CMP designation is awarded only to those who meet high standards of proficiency in meeting management, as demonstrated by substantial professional experience and superior examination performance,” said Executive Secretary Keith Burden. “We are extremely proud of Ryan for this achievement. It not only increases his effectiveness as a meeting planner, but it gives credibility to the denomination within the meetings industry.”

Ryan graduated from Welch College in 2005 after being voted Most Outstanding Student. After graduation, he joined the college staff as director of student recruitment until accepting an associate pastor position at First FWB Church, Amory, Mississippi. He and his wife Ashlee attend Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church in Nashville, Tennessee, where he serves as music director. They have two children, Carter and Ella-Claire.


Archie Ratliff Remembered

KINSTON, NC—Pastor Archie Wayne Ratliff, 63, senior pastor of Bethel FWB Church, Kinston, North Carolina, passed away Monday, December 17, 2012, at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He battled and defeated esophageal cancer in 2009, but the radiation and chemotherapy treatments later resulted in leukemia.


Archie Ratliff

Reverend Ratliff was born November 29, 1949, in Anderson, Indiana, to John and Lucille Elliott Ratliff. Following graduation from Welch College in Nashville, Tennessee, Archie pastored Glennville FWB Church (GA) for five years, and Peace FWB Church (IN) for 13 years, before accepting the pastorate at Bethel in 1991.

Ratliff is remembered for his role in Free Will Baptist leadership. He served on the Board of Trustees of Welch College for eight years, moderated the Indiana State Association of Free Will Baptists from 1983-1990, and was deeply involved with the work of Free Will Baptist International Missions.

Ratliff is survived by Portia, his wife of 43 years; three daughters: Kim Truett and husband Chris, Michelle Williams and husband Rusty, Jenifer Carnes and husband Adam; and nine grandchildren.


Symposium Dates Announced

MOORE, OK—The Commission for Theological Integrity will host the 17th annual Theological Symposium, October 28-29, 2013, at Hillsdale College in Moore, Oklahoma. Make plans now to join this important discussion. Contact the commission to pre-order the latest issue of Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought:

Matt Pinson, Commission for Theological Integrity
3606 West End Avenue
Nashville, TN 37205

©2013 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists