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Lynsey Stripling

encounter at star bagel

Adapted from an April 2008 senior testimony at Free Will Baptist Bible College.

by Lynsey Stripling Riggs


Find out more about Free Will Baptist Bible College at


A few weeks ago, I ran into a parent of a prospective student at my favorite restaurant in Nashville: Star Bagel. We talked for a while and he said he needed to ask me something about Free Will Baptist Bible College. Since I work in enrollment management and get paid to answer questions from parents, I said no problem.

He went on to say he wanted a real answer and my honest opinion, something genuine. I started to get a bit nervous. He told me that he wanted his children to continue to grow and mature in their spiritual walk during their college years.

Then he said, “Lynsey, if you had a chance to do it all over again, would you? If you had to enroll as a freshman this fall, would you choose Free Will Baptist Bible College?”


People Who Matter

My first instinct was yes, of course, I love FWBBC. But I knew that wasn’t what he needed to hear. So I began telling him that what really helped me grow over the past few years and what would help his children do the same were the people at Free Will Baptist Bible College.

Yes, I can talk about economics, accounting, Bible doctrine, and ancient philosophers…but that’s not what stands out in my reflection of FWBBC. Here’s what does stand out.


Lynsey Stripling



A Professor’s Tears

I remember a fifth-hour class with Dr. Kevin Hester, a New Testament class filled with almost all girls. He read a passage in Corinthians about sexual purity. Dr. Hester removed his jacket, sat down on the chair in front of us and began to weep, begging us to remain sexually pure. He cared so much for us and wanted us to have God’s best. I’ll never forget that lecture.

That was the day Dr. Hester the Bible expositor became a broken-hearted friend with a timeless message from God.


Trusted Counselors

I remember the times I went to Bert and Dianne Tippett and discussed how my parents and I weren’t seeing eye-to-eye, or how I had just had a fight with my boyfriend. They always gave me godly advice and told me they would be praying for me. And I knew they would. Mr. Tippett is the director of church relations; Mrs. Tippett coordinates the college’s mailing list. But they’re both bigger than their job titles.


Staff Members’ Testimonies

I remember listening to Wayne and Brenda Spruill’s testimonies and thinking if God can get them through all that and they can be two of the happiest, most helpful people I know, then I never have a reason to complain.

Wayne, FWBBC’s director of institutional research, does his job from a wheelchair. His vibrant wife Brenda is administrative assistant to the vice president for financial affairs. Both of them are modern-day examples of Paul’s advice to be content regardless of circumstances (Philippians 4:11).


Big Business

I remember conversations in business classes about anything and everything we were dealing with, and how business instructor Mike Walker always took time to help us confront the hard issues, even if it meant we didn’t finish his class work for the day.

He helped us turn a page in life and encouraged us to move on with God’s will for us. He had a heart for missions and saw his students as more than statistics.


My College

I thought about all I have to thank Free Will Baptist Bible College for—traveling experiences, an accredited degree, great people to work with, lifelong friends, a husband, and so much more. More important, I now have a deeper relationship with Christ because of influences from FWBBC. During my time here, I have established solid faith behind all those emotions I felt as a teenager.

Don’t get me wrong; I am not perfect. I have not learned all there is to know, and I have encountered difficulties along the way. This place is not perfect and neither are its people, but It’s my place, my college, and my people.


Do It Again

As I thought about all those things and shared a few of them with this parent, my answer to his question became clear. YES! I would choose Free Will Baptist Bible College all over again. Knowing what I know now, and considering all that’s happened and is about to happen, I would do it all over again.

I’m excited about the journey that’s about to begin. My fiancé [now husband] Jacob Riggs and I have many open doors, and because of this place, we are ready and willing to fulfill God’s call on our lives.

I left that parent in Star Bagel with a bit of advice, and I leave it with you today. Free Will Baptist Bible College is what you make of it. This place is a people-rich environment that can help you come to terms with life, if you let it. I came away with four years of friends, a college degree, and a purpose for living. There was more I could have learned, but what I have today from these wonderful people has changed my life. Yes! I’d enroll again in FWBBC.


About the Writer: Lynsey Stripling Riggs graduated from FWBBC in May 2008 with a B.S. degree in Business Administration. She and Jacob Riggs (also a 2008 FWBBC graduate) were married May 24. Lynsey serves in enrollment management at Free Will Baptist Bible College. To learn more about the college, visit




©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists