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this place is tough!


by Thurman Pate

To find out more about Free Will Baptist Bible College, visit

A Community of Faith

Much has been said and written about this “community of faith” and the college’s purpose in preparing Christian workers. This is important and must be kept in the center of any discussion about Free Will Baptist Bible College. The college has prepared hundreds of pastors and the majority of our missionaries. Music students serve many of our congregations—often in part-time capacities while supporting their families with secular jobs.

Here’s a personal viewpoint. Over the past 40 years, I have worshiped at Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church in Nashville under seven different pastors, all of whom graduated from Free Will Baptist Bible College. The level of their preparation and training has been evident.

A Community of Learning

 “Are you still teaching at that Bible school in Nashville?” This question is often asked of the college’s faculty members and may indicate that some of our constituents do not have a good understanding of the emphasis and quality of the educational program at Free Will Baptist Bible College. Students who come looking for an extension of Vacation Bible School or youth camp receive a rude awakening.

Academically, Free Will Baptist Bible College is challenging. The accrediting bodies have recognized the institution for its “academic rigor.” Again, on a personal level, after graduating from Free Will Baptist Bible College, receiving bachelor’s and master’s degrees from a large state institution, and a doctorate from a leading large private institution, I have often said that my most demanding work was at FWBBC.

Students Who Learn

Students at Free Will Baptist Bible College receive excellent teaching from qualified and dedicated faculty. Many students who enroll here must first learn how to learn—and that they do!

A former FWBBC faculty member teaching at a prestigious, private institution while working on his doctorate commented on the quality of our students compared to those where he was working. It was his observation that, while we have some academically challenged students due to our open enrollment policy, most of our students compare favorably with those “chosen few.”

 Graduates in Demand

Free Will Baptist Bible College students and graduates are in demand because of their character, training, and work ethic. Over the years, our churches, Christian schools, and missions agencies have sought FWBBC graduates as pastors, teachers, and missionaries, and continue to do so. Another dimension has been added.  

The two largest financial institutions in Nashville have consistently sought students from the college to work with them. Statements such as “We know we can trust them” and “They are easy to train and good workers” are often heard.

Other businesses, such as UPS, hospitals, childcare centers, and the YMCA have sought out our students and hired our graduates. Graduates of the Exercise Science program, Business, and Business Management programs have excelled in their areas. Students who graduate with degrees in English perform well in graduate schools and in careers such as writing and editing.

Transfer Students Compare Quality

Students who transfer into Free Will Baptist Bible College often have an initial shock as they discover that the requirements are more strenuous than the schools where they previously studied. From those who have to leave us, statements are often made about how prepared they were as they moved to another school. Jamie Scrivner, a senior Early Childhood major, made the following comment:

Before transferring to Free Will Baptist Bible College, I attended several other colleges and universities. As an education major, I personally experienced their education programs. The FWBBC Teacher Education Department is unsurpassed in preparation, teaching experiences, professor involvement, and quality. The academics of the program are rigid and demanding, but after completion, the student has a solid foundation in which to enter the education world. The program is the finest I have encountered.

Wanted: FWBBC Graduates

As chairman of the Teacher Education Department, I have heard many positive comments about our graduates. They have done well on state-required exams, including scores in the upper-90 percentiles.

We regularly receive calls from principals of both Christian and public schools asking if any graduates are available for teaching positions. Principals in the local public school system tell us that the application files for our graduates get “placed on top” and are looked at first.

The teacher preparation program, as is true of all the programs at Free Will Baptist Bible College, is very demanding. Surveys from cooperating teachers and their principals rate our students as being as well or better prepared compared to the student teachers from other local institutions.

Free Will Baptist Bible College is a solid institution of learning. Standards are high, and requirements are strong. Students at the college receive a strong education, a high value for the money they spend (and that the denomination provides to support them). Yes, this is a tough place, and we plan to keep it that way.

Dr. Thurman Pate chairs the Teacher Education Department at Free Will Baptist Bible College. For additional information about the Teacher Education program at Free Will Baptist Bible College, contact Thurman Pate at, or call him direct (615) 844-5196.








©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists