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Cover 35


March 2011


Lives on Loan:
The Importance of Christian Stewardship


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Free Will Baptist
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Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit their website at


Bert Tippett With the Lord

Reverend Bert Tippett, long-time publications editor and director of church relations at Free Will Baptist Bible College, died Wednesday, January 5, after a nearly three-year struggle with prostate cancer. He was 70. He and his wife Dianne joined the FWBBC staff in 1965 and served in numerous roles until his retirement in August 2009.

Best known for his skills as a journalist, editor, and photographer, Reverend Tippett enjoyed an extraordinary pulpit ministry, first as a pastor in New Hampshire (1963-1965) and then as an interim pastor in Middle Tennessee, and 10 years as campus pastor at FWBBC. He delivered the opening address at the 2010 Free Will Baptist national convention in Oklahoma City.


Bert Tippett

Former FWBBC president Dr. Charles Thigpen said, “When Bert was campus pastor, I don’t know how many times I heard students say, ‘I just can’t wait until Wednesday night to hear Mr. Tippett.’ One thing stands out to me, when students had hospital stays and doctors were reluctant for them to return to dormitories, the Tippetts opened their home to them. I know of no other family who performed such a ministry.”

Tippett answered the call to preach in 1961 as a 20-year-old English major at FWBBC. He was ordained to the ministry in 1964. Following a brief New England pastorate, he returned to his alma mater where he invested almost five decades in the students and educational mission of the college.

Between 1965 and 2005, he published 230 issues of Free Will Baptist Bible College Bulletin, the college’s official publication. He served 15 years (1970-1985) as advisor of the college yearbook, the Lumen, and launched Alumni News in 1975. He was one of the architects of ONE Magazine, official publication of the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

“Bert was an All-Pro news hound,” said Jack Williams, FWBBC’s director of communications. “He got the facts straight and squeezed them into a bang-bang format. He became the voice of reason that FWBBC students heard every Wednesday night, the eye behind the camera that captured history, and the face of journalism that was trusted by editors across the denomination.”

Mr. Tippett’s expertise as a photographer eventually resulted in Secret Service clearance to “shoot” the President of the United States. He had a stage pass to photograph performers at the Grand Ole Opry. He served 20 years as official photographer for the Free Will Baptist national convention.

President Matt Pinson said, “We thank God for Brother Tippett and his faithful ministry at FWBBC. He was a true friend, an example of Christian maturity, and a trusted colleague in the Lord’s work. I know of no person more loved and respected than Bert Tippett. He demanded the best from himself and encouraged the best from others.”

During his senior year at FWBBC, Bert served as Student Body president, sang bass in the college quartet, performed with the College Choir, and was named Most Outstanding Student. He graduated in 1962 with a B.A. degree.

The college honored Bert and Dianne Tippett on June 4, 2009, when more than 250 people gathered on campus for an event called The Celebration!

At that time, Dr. Robert Picirilli, retired academic dean, said: “Bert and Dianne began to rise above the crowd even when they were students. Both of them offered up, on the altar of this ministry we call Free Will Baptist Bible College, the sweet-savor sacrifice of excellence. They exemplified how to love God and submit to His bidding.”



College Implements Proactive Economic Measures

Free Will Baptist Bible College has implemented several proactive economic measures to ensure that the ministry of the college remains strong during the current economic recession, according to President Matt Pinson. While freshman and ministry enrollment are up slightly, the total fall 2010 enrollment (approximately 283 students) was somewhat less than hoped, and prompted action to avoid operational deficits.

Dr. Pinson said, “While the college is in good financial shape for the long-term, in order to avoid operational deficits, we restructured in several areas which has resulted in some cutbacks and layoffs. Some faculty and staff have been reduced to three-quarter time, and some vacant positions will remain unfilled for the moment.

“Two full-time members of the FWBBC family, Mr. Michael Walker in the Business Department and Mrs. Robin Smith in the Business Office, have been laid off. These are painful decisions for all of us, and I assure you that the college is working with those affected as they transition through this difficult time.”

While the measures taken are serious, the college remains financially strong, and has taken these and other actions in order to streamline operations, reduce operating budgets, and carry out its mission with excellence during the current economic crunch.
In addition to balancing this year’s budget, FWBBC plans to aggressively pursue student recruitment for the 2011 enrollment window.

Led by energetic new enrollment director, Rusty Campbell, the FWBBC Enrollment Team is bringing a fresh excitement to the table as they set in place a face-to-face, one-on-one recruit visit system along with additional highly motivated recruiters. The college has also added four very-low-cost intercollegiate sports (men’s and women’s golf and men’s and women’s cross country) to attract more student athletes.

David Williford, vice president for advancement, said, “I never cease to be amazed at the Free Will Baptist people. They respond to economic challenges with their financial resources and their prayers. They continue to step forward in growing numbers to help the college with general fund gifts and with gifts to pay off the Gallatin property, so that we can move forward with relocation to a new, energy efficient and space-efficient campus.”

President Pinson sent an email to FWBBC students encouraging them “to do what God sent you to Free Will Baptist Bible College to do—study, grow emotionally and intellectually and socially, develop your spiritual gifts, and find and follow God’s will for your life. That’s your part. Our job as faculty and staff is to provide a warm and welcoming place for you to prepare for a lifetime of leadership and service to Christ. Together, we can move past this difficult economic moment as we watch the hand of God provide answers and resources.”


Trustees Propose ‘Welch College’ as Contingent Name for FWBBC

During a called session September 23-24, 2010, the Board of Trustees at Free Will Baptist Bible College voted unanimously to broaden its earlier directive for a name-change feasibility study by selecting “Welch College” as the contingent new name for the college, according to President Matt Pinson. The proposal came as the 68-year-old flagship denominational institution prepares to launch a study to determine if it is feasible to change the college’s name. The study could result in a formal name-change recommendation to the National Association of Free Will Baptists.

Dr. Pinson said, “The college will be conducting a careful study over the next several months to determine the feasibility of changing its name to Welch College. If the study indicates a climate conducive for a name change, results will be presented to delegates at the 2011 national convention, along with the recommended name change and a motion to lay the proposal on the table for one year.”

A legal issue prompting the Board of Trustees to identify a specific name is the matter of trademark law, which keeps corporations from using names that other corporations with a similar corporate purpose or market are already using. The application process with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to register Welch College as a trademark is a procedure that could take several months, and Trustees felt that it was best to initiate the search process now.

The name “Welch College” arises from the life and ministry of Reverend John L Welch and his wife Mary. Welch was the first moderator of the National Association of Free Will Baptists and a 12-year-member of the Board of Trustees. He pastored 53 years at Cofer’s Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Nashville. John Welch championed education among Free Will Baptists and embodied the ideals of Christian ministry, combining serious biblical preaching and a concern for doctrine with vibrant spirituality, an evangelistic heart, and a practical approach to ministry and the Christian life.

Mrs. Mary Welch served faithfully as a secretary at the college, spent nearly 60 years as a pastor’s wife, and was a leader in the denomination’s women’s movement. For almost five decades, there has been a building on campus named in honor of John and Mary Welch, the historic Welch Library.


Hubbard Shifts from FWBBC to Hanna Project

Heath Hubbard, director of recruitment at Free Will Baptist Bible College since 2008, informed the college administration that he and his wife plan to work with the Hanna Project in southern Spain beginning this fall, according to Rusty Campbell, director of enrollment services.

Mr. Campbell said, “Heath did a great job as a member of the Enrollment Management Team, and we will miss his can-do attitude. His energy and creativity kept recruitment efforts focused. He was our point man on the road meeting people, encouraging prospective students, and representing the college. We wish him well as he takes this next important step in ministry.”


Heath Hubbard

The 26-year-old Arkansas native, graduated from FWBBC in 2006 with a B.S. degree in Bible with minors in Missions and Business. While a student, he was president of the freshman and sophomore classes, and president of the Alpha Chi Omega Society. He played four years on the Flames basketball team and was listed in Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

“This has been the ideal job for me,” Hubbard said. “I am grateful for the opportunity to go out and interact with current and future FWBBC students. I am thankful for my time at the college. I have learned so much from the numerous people with whom I’ve rubbed shoulders.”

Hubbard taught English as a second language six months (2006-2007) in Kazakhstan. Prior to that experience, he worked nine weeks in 2004 with the Overseas Apprentice Program in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan, teaching English and assisting with sports and music camps for teens.

Heath married Joni Thomas in November 2007. Joni has served as student mission’s coordinator with Free Will Baptist International Missions since 2006. The Hubbards are expecting their first child in November.


Deuteronomy 6 in 3-DGarnett Reid Writes Parenting Book

Dr. Garnett Reid, chair of the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department at Free Will Baptist Bible College, wrote a just-published 42-page trade book titled Deuteronomy 6 in 3D: What Matters Most. The booklet relates principles from Deuteronomy 6 to practical parenting amid the complexities faced by 21st century families.

Dr. Reid said, “This book explains Deuteronomy 6, the grounding text; then surveys the chapter’s core message as it weaves throughout Scripture; and finally describes what this truth looks like in real life for real families. My whole purpose was to portray God’s glory displayed in the most precious relationship on earth.”

Deuteronomy 6 in 3D targets parents and those in family ministry. The quick read published by Randall House and priced at $4.99 helps parents better grasp God’s parenting plan, provides practical parenting advice, and reminds parents that a tested, workable source with reliable answers can be found in the Bible. The booklet includes personal anecdotes, solid biblical exposition, and focuses on having a relationship with God and how to share that relationship with children.

Dr. Reid, a member of the FWBBC faculty since 1982 and writer for ONE Magazine’s “Intersect” column, publishes regularly in professional theological journals. The 54-year-old minister is a frequent speaker at academic and preaching conferences.




©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists