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 www.nafwb.org.
Jack Williams With the Lord
Antioch, TN—Dr. Jack Williams, former editor of Contact magazine, died Friday, April 29, 2016, at age 73. Jack had struggled to regain his health since November 2012, when a massive stroke left him partially paralyzed.
Jack was born in 1942 on a sharecropper’s cotton farm in West Carroll Parish, Louisiana. He was saved in 1958 at age 16 and eight months later he accepted God’s call to preach. When the nearby Sardis FWB Church offered him a pastorate shortly thereafter, the 17-year-old high school senior accepted, and using a borrowed Bible, began his nearly 60-year ministry.
After graduating from high school, Jack attended Free Will Baptist Bible College, graduating in 1966 with Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Theology degrees. More importantly, he met and married Janis Wilcox, “prettiest girl in West Virginia,” as he called her. He continued his education at Sacramento Baptist Theological Seminary, completing a M.A. in 1973 and a Ph.D. from Louisiana Baptist University in 1976.
From 1959-1969, Jack pastored churches in Louisiana, Tennessee, and Arkansas before accepting a position as academic dean at California Christian College, where he remained for eight years. Then, in 1977, Jack began what became his life’s work as editor of Contact magazine and executive assistant for the Free Will Baptist Executive Office. In addition to editing the magazine, the role included oversight of day-to-day operations and the planning of the annual convention.
Jack quickly earned a reputation for excellence and professionalism, both in the convention planning community and in the publishing world. He was known for witty writing, journalistic objectivity, and constant encouragement and development of new writers. His strong journalistic ethics are evident in the words of his final Contact magazine editorial: “Those who wield the journalistic sword must be careful where they lay the edge of the blade lest they harm the innocent while probing for truth.” His writing and work as editor earned 13 awards from the Evangelical Press Association and helped launch a fleet of new Free Will Baptist writers.
In 2005, after Contact magazine ceased publication, Jack accepted a position as director of publications for Welch College, where he remained until his retirement in 2014.
Throughout his life and ministry, Jack remained fully dedicated to the work of Free Will Baptists. In addition to a number of local and regional positions, he served as assistant moderator of the California State Association (1971-1977), member of the national Sunday School Board (1975-1977), and chairman of the Free Will Baptist Press Association (1978-1991). Another notable denominational work was with the Free Will Baptist Historical Commission, where he served from 1977 until his passing.
Robert E. Picirilli recalls his long-time friend: “Jack was one of the good guys, a personal friend whom I admired. Nobody loved the Free Will Baptist denomination and its ministries any better. He was a gifted speaker and writer, spoke positively about others, and believed in building up rather than tearing down. We’ll remember him most for his long stint as editor of Contact, and I for the many years we worked together on the FWB Historical Commission. We will miss him.”
Executive Secretary Keith Burden noted, “Jack Williams was an encourager, a cheerleader. He may have been short in stature, but he cast a long shadow across our denomination. I’m a better leader and writer because of Brother Jack.”
Perhaps the best way to remember Jack is to recall his own words, penned in an editorial for Contact: “The point of all this is that the work of God goes on when the people of God die. Abraham dies—Isaac steps up. Moses dies—Joshua leads Israel across Jordan. Stephen dies in the last verse of Acts 7. Acts 8 opens with God’s hand already on a young man named Saul of Tarsus. The work of God never stops. The people of God wipe away the tears, strap on their spurs, and keep looking up…I like the way God writes obituaries for His people. They all end, not with a period, but with a comma.”
Jack is survived by Janis Wilcox Williams, his wife of 53 years; daughter, Rebecca Deel and husband Recardo; son, Brad Williams and wife, Tina; grandchildren, Austin Deel, Andrew Deel, Kristen Williams and Kullen Williams; sister, Carol Mariche; and brother, Jerry Williams. He was preceded in death by a grandson, Kyler Williams. Funeral services were held Wednesday, May 4, 2016.
Introducing the 2016 Nominations for Standing Boards and Commissions
Michael Armstrong (OH) replacing himself
Louis Hatcher (GA) replacing Billy Hanna (GA) who is ineligible for re-election
Wayne Miracle (GA) replacing Terry Pierce (MS) who is ineligible for re-election
Louis E. Hatcher is a member of First FWB Church, Albany, Georgia, where he serves as Sunday School teacher, lay speaker, and usher. He has been a senior partner with the law firm of Watson, Spence, Lowe, and Chambless, L.L.P., since 1999. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from University of Florida in 1986, and Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law at Samford University in 1990, graduating Magna Cum Laude. He served as a member of the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority in Orlando, Florida, as a legal advisor to management regarding business, labor, and personnel issues; is a member of the Cumberland School of Law Advisory Board, and has been an elected member of the Lee County Board of Education since 2002. He is significantly involved in the community as a public speaker, high school football coach, recreation league coach, member of school advisory councils, and judge of teen courts and school courts.
Rev. Wayne Miracle has served 17 years as pastor of New Life Fellowship in Statesboro, Georgia. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies and Pastoral Ministry from Welch College in 1990. He has been both assistant moderator (2004-2011) and moderator (2011 to present) of the Georgia State Association, a member of the General Board since 2007, and a member of the Executive Committee since 2012. He has served as moderator of the South Georgia Association since 1994, and was a trustee of the Georgia State Association from 1991-2004 (chairman, 1998-2004). He has been active in promoting Welch College, serving as the co-host of Welch College Ignite the Flame dinners since 2011, and as a regional influencer since 2013. He was president of the Alma-Bacon County Ministerial Alliance from 1995-1996.
International Missions 2022
Greg McAllister (CA)
Will Harmon (AR)
replacing Tom McCullough (MI) who is ineligible for re-election
Rodney Yerby (AL)
replacing Danny Williams (AL) who is ineligible for re-election
Rev. Will Harmon has pastored churches in Texas and Arkansas. Currently, he is pastor of Cavanaugh FWB Church, Ft. Smith, Arkansas, where he has served since 1997. He earned a Bachelor of Arts in Theology from Hillsdale College in 1983 and a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a former member and chairman of the Board of Trustees of Hillsdale FWB College and currently is a member of the Executive Board of the Arkansas State Association. He has served in many other leadership positions on the district and state levels.
Rodney Yerby is a deacon, minister of music, and Sunday School teacher at Madison FWB Church, Madison, Alabama. He worked 13 years for SPARTA, Inc. in engineering and management for the aerospace defense industry. Currently, he is an engineer/project manager at Kord Technologies. Rodney earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from University of Alabama in 1982 and pursued graduate studies in Computer Science, University of Alabama at Huntsville. He serves as state clerk of the Alabama State Association, as chairman of the Alabama Free Will Baptist Children’s Home Board of Directors, and is convention photographer for the National Association. He has also served the denomination as International Missions Ambassador, a member of an International Missions Advisory Council, and as an E-TEAM leader in 2003, 2005, and 2007.
Randall House 2022
Darin Gibbs (NC)
Timothy York (NY)
replacing Tim Eaton (OK) who is
ineligible for re-election
Toby Youngblood (OK)
replacing Tim Owen (FL) who is
ineligible for re-election
Timothy York is a church planter working with North American Ministries to establish a church in Buffalo, New York. Prior to becoming a church planter, he pastored First FWB Church, Decatur, Alabama, four years and was youth pastor at United FWB Church, Dickson, Tennessee, for two years. He earned a B.A. in Pastoral Training from Welch College, and a Masters in Church Planting and Discipleship from Liberty University. He served as clerk of the Kentucky State Association in 2002, and has been clerk of the David Marks Heritage Association since 2014.
Toby Youngblood has been pastor of Faith FWB Church in Glenpool, Oklahoma, for 13 years. Prior to this pastorate, he served three years as youth pastor at Sunnylane FWB Church in Del City, Oklahoma, five years at Cavanaugh FWB Church in Ft. Smith, Arkansas, and three years as Vice President of Student Affairs for Hillsdale FWB College. Toby earned a B.A. in Theology from Hillsdale FWB College. He is a member of the Oklahoma Mission Board and former member of the Board of Trustees of Hillsdale FWB College.
Pam Hackett (SC)
Jonda Patton (KY)
Lee Ann Wilfong (MO)
Theological Integrity 2021
W. Jackson Watts (MO)
Historical Commission 2021
Jeff Cockrell (NC)
Donnie Burke (CO)
Media Commission 2021
Daniel Edwards (IN)
General Board 2019
Alabama: Danny Williams
replacing Rick Cash
Arizona: George Harvey Jr.
Arkansas: David Taylor
replacing Tim Campbell
Association of Mexico: Luis Felipe Tijerina replacing himself
Atlantic-Canada: Oral McAffee
California: Rick Scroggins
Colorado: Mark Thomas
David Marks Heritage: Tom Jones
Florida: Jim Christian
Georgia: Wayne Miracle
Idaho: Gene Kissinger
Illinois: David Shores
Executive Committee 2019
David Taylor (AR)
replacing Tim Campbell (AR) who is ineligible for re-election
Wayne Miracle (GA)
David Shores (IL)
Moderator: Tim York (TN)
Assistant Moderator: William Smith (GA)
Clerk: Randy Bryant (FL)
Assistant Clerk: Ernie Lewis (IL)