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April-May 2016


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Welch College (formerly 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

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Stevens Wins Steinway Piano Composition Contest

Dr. James M. Stevens of Welch College was recently named winner in the 2015 Steinway Piano Composition Contest for his arrangement of the classic devotional hymn, “Near the Cross,” written for the intermediate pianist. The contest was sponsored by SMP Press (Sheet Music Plus), Steinway Piano, and Composers Inc. Stevens also received an honorable mention for his original composition, “Silent Stars.”


The cash prize includes an invitation to San Francisco, California, where his composition will be performed in concert by one of the Steinway artists. Dr. Stevens’s piano compositions and books have consistently been in the top ten best sellers at Sheet Music Plus, the world’s largest sheet music dealer where over 350 of his works can be found listed with James M. Stevens Music ASCAP publishing company.

According to Welch College Provost, Dr. Greg Ketteman, “We are obviously very proud of Dr. Stevens. He is a highly-skilled, prolific composer and arranger who is viewed as world-class by his professional peers. His continuing professional work provides an ideal context for Welch College students to be challenged as they develop their God-given talents.”

Stevens is a graduate of Samford University, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the University of Kentucky where he received a Doctorate in Music Composition. He has served as the Music Department Chairman at Welch College since 2004.


Welch Obtains Regional Accreditation for M.A. Degree

Both of Welch College’s accreditors have approved its Master of Arts (M.A.) degree in Theology and Ministry, according to Kevin Hester, Dean, School of Theology at Welch College.

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the regional accrediting body for the southern states, reviewed Welch College’s Application for Level Change in December. Later that month, Dr. Larry Earvin, Vice President of SACSCOC, contacted Welch president Matt Pinson with notification of SACSCOC approval.

The Association for Biblical Higher Education had previously contacted Welch College with news of its approval in November. In his congratulatory letter, Dr. Ron Kroll, director of the Commission on Accreditation said, “May God bless your continued engagement in biblical higher education!”

With these approvals Welch College has reached a milestone by becoming the first Free Will Baptist college to offer a regionally accredited credential on the graduate level.

The first cohort in the M.A. in Theology and Ministry has begun. For general questions, or for enrollment information, please email M.A. Program Coordinator Dr. Jeff Cockrell at

The first session will be completed April 15. The second session of two courses will begin online April 25 and go through June 24, with the on-campus intensive May 23-27. Courses for the second session include Issues in Old Testament Studies (taught by Dr. Matthew McAffee) and Discovering and Communicating Biblical Truth (taught by Dr. Jeff Cockrell).

“The 33-hour M.A. consists of hybrid courses, in which a portion of the coursework is completed online and the other portion in one-week, on-campus intensive sessions,” Hester said. “Two courses will be offered at every week-long intensive. This means those wishing to complete the M.A. in 16 months can do so by taking two courses at a time. Those who take only one course at a time will take 32 months to complete the degree.” Free campus lodging for students will be available during the intensives.

More information about the M.A. program in Theology and Ministry may be found at or by contacting Dr. Jeff Cockrell at




©2016 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists