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March 2017


Mission: Stewardship


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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.


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2016 Leadership Conference Focuses on Intergenerational Leadership

Antioch, TN—One hundred fifty-five pastors and church leaders from 23 states and a Canadian province gathered December 5-6, at Nashville Airport Marriott Hotel, for the 2016 Free Will Baptist Leadership Conference. During the two-day conference, speakers explored the theme Developing Young Leaders.

Three panel discussions focused on the subject from a variety of perspectives. The opening panel featured five veteran leaders: Carl Cheshier, former convention moderator and former president of Randall University; Dr. Danny Dwyer, former pastor, professor at Southeastern FWB College, and Rekindle program coordinator; Jeff Jones, pastor at Hilltop FWB Church (NC) and professor at Southeastern FWB College; Rob Morgan, teaching pastor at The Donelson Fellowship (TN) and noted author and speaker; and Dr. Melvin Worthington, former executive secretary of the National Association and long-time pastor.

A Tuesday morning panel featured the unique viewpoint of the presidents of the four Free Will Baptist Colleges: Wendell Walley, California Christian College; Tim Eaton, Randall University; Jim Marcum, Southeastern FWB College; and Matt Pinson, Welch College.


The final panel session Tuesday evening highlighted younger leaders: Josh Baer, pastor of Cramerton FWB Church (NC); Paul Bryant, pastor of Cross Creek FWB Church (MS) and member of the Randall House board; Daniel Edwards, pastor of Faith FWB Church (IN) and member of the NAFWB Executive Committee; and Barry Raper, pastor of Bethel FWB Church (TN) and pastoral ministry program coordinator at Welch College.

Between panels, featured speakers provided relevant, practical information regarding the challenge of passing leadership to the next generation. Mike Wade, executive director of the Oklahoma State Association, presented strategies for training and mentoring young pastors. Dr. Eddie Moody and Dr. Greg Ketteman focused on trends and shifts in culture that have led to the need for the younger generation to step forward in leadership. Dr. Moody pastors Tippett’s Chapel FWB Church (NC) and is a member of the board of trustees at Welch College. Dr. Ketteman is provost of Welch College.

“This is a conversation that needs to continue among Free Will Baptists,” Executive Secretary Keith Burden noted. “Our future is bright, but we dare take nothing for granted. Young leaders are the lifeblood of the denomination.”

In addition to keynote sessions and panels, attendees enjoyed music provided by Welch College, including Rejoice ensemble and The College Choir, directed by Dr. James Stevens. They renewed friendships over banquet-styled meals and during free time. A number of national boards met in conjunction with the conference, including the Executive Committee, Board of Retirement, Free Will Baptist Foundation, Home Missions, International Missions, Randall House, and Welch College.

“This has been an invigorating conference,” said Timothy York, church planter to Buffalo, New York. “It was refreshing to hear leaders of the denomination grapple with generational differences so together we might effectively reach our communities for Christ.”

For information about the 2017 Leadership Conference, visit


Southeastern Announces Spring Conference

Wendell, NC—Southeastern Free Will Baptist College will host the “Road to Revival” Spring Preaching Conference April 10-11, 2017. The two-day meeting will feature speakers Gene Williams, pastor of Parkers Chapel FWB Church (NC); Ron Davis, chairman of Southeastern’s Bible Department and director of student affairs; Dr. Curtis Linton, pastor of Cornerstone FWB Church (OK); David Sexton, pastor of CrossPointe FWB Church (VA); and Jeff Jones, pastor of Hilltop FWB Church (NC). Sounds of Victory Choir will provide conference music, along with an alumni choir and quartets during the concluding service.

The college will simultaneously host Discover Your Calling, a mini-conference for teens and sponsors, sponsored by Youth Aflame. The event, held Monday, April 10, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., includes lunch and afternoon activities for student attendees. Southeastern will additionally host an alumni luncheon and reunion on Tuesday.

For more information about the annual conference, visit



©2017 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists