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December-January 2014

Roots: Growing
Deeper in Faith


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Leadership comes in all forms and sizes, but the results are the same. Leaders influence behavior and make a difference in people’s lives. Profiling leaders reveals a diverse combination of traits, but changing lives is a common theme.


Leader Profile


Phil Whiteaker

Many Free Will Baptists are influential yet quiet leaders. Phillip Whiteaker, chairman of the FWB Foundation Board, is such a leader. (The Foundation manages over $50 million for the purpose of serving ministries within Free Will Baptists and the body of Christ.)

For 16 years, Phil served as an elected circuit judge for the state Arkansas, and currently is an elected judge for the Arkansas Court of Appeals. Ordained in 1986, Phil serves as the worship pastor at First FWB Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas. When you see Phil, you see a leader whom God placed in a unique position within the legal system, yet Phil continues to be very involved in his local church.

He and his wife Terrie (married 28 years) describe their ideal date as dinner and a theatrical production such as a musical or a play. They live close to both their son Chris (age 27), and daughter (Jesse, age 23) and their only grandchild Bri (age 5). Phil and Terrie both teach Fusion to adults in Sunday School. Phil says serving together in church forms a real bond between the two of them.

Phil loved history and American government as a boy, and as a teen found he had significant interest in political affairs. He decided to major in political science in college but wound up with a double major in political science and pastoral ministries. Unsure of what to do after graduation, he took the LSAT (Law School Admission Test) and applied to law school. He was accepted, and to this day, he acknowledges God’s hand in his career, guiding him along this journey.

When describing God’s will for his life Phil said, “It has been something that ‘but for’ (to use a legal term) the direction and hand of God upon my life, would never have occurred in the way it did.

Phil brings wisdom, candor, an analytical mind, and technical expertise to a national board. Boards find balance when combining pastoral insight and lay professionalism.

Phil, You are a great leader!




What does your quiet time look like?

In the culturally cluttered world, quiet time is hard to come by. Most days I use my commute time to commune with God in prayer, recognizing God’s goodness in my life, and worshiping Him with songs from my heart


What do people misunderstand about your leadership style?

Decisiveness is a casualty of war from my professional training. As a judge, I am trained to listen, ask questions, reach a judgment, and make the decision. Such mental training is not easily shut off, bleeds over into my personal life, and can be mistaken for arrogance or callousness. 

What would you like to see Free Will Baptists do in the next five or ten years?

Become a unified group of believers not blinded by bias, prejudices, or personal agendas. A group with a single solitary purpose: Be more like God and glorify His name.


What are you reading right now?

Forgotten God: Reversing the Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit by Francis Chan
American Illness: Essay on the Rule of Law by F. H. Buckley

What are your top three books (other than the Bible)?

Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain*

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

* Note: His favorite author is Mark Twain.


Paper or Plastic Questions

  • Mountains or Ocean? Ocean

  • Music or Talk Radio? Music

  • Coke or Pepsi? Coke

  • Facebook, Email, twitter, or texting? Email

  • Mac or PC? PC

  • Socks or house shoes? House shoes


Leader Profile is a regular feature of ONE Magazine. Learn more at



©2013 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists