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April-May 2015

10 Years in Print: Special Edition


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news about the denomination

The following news items apply to (or affect) the Free Will Baptist denomination scattered across the nation and around the world.To read more about Free Will Baptists and the various departments that make up the national organization, visit

Read a brief history of Free Will Baptists in the United States.



Former Moderator J.D. O’Donnell Dead at 85

Liberty, Texas—J. D. O’Donnell (pictured below), former moderator of the National Association of Free Will Baptists died November 29, 2014. A graduate of Bob Jones University, he later continued his education at the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed B.D. and Th.D. degrees.



Dr. O’Donnell was involved in Christian higher education for much of his career. He served as a professor at Free Will Baptist Bible College (now Welch College) from 1961-1965. In 1965, he became president of Hillsdale FWB College (known then as Oklahoma Bible College), where he served until 1971. Under his leadership, Hillsdale was relocated to the current campus three miles south of Moore, Oklahoma. He was an outstanding educator who contributed much to the lives of his students and to higher education among Free Will Baptists.

He held a number of positions within the denomination, including membership on the Radio-TV Commission, Chaplain’s Commission, and Commission on Theological Liberalism. He worked for a time as editorial manager for the Free Will Baptist Sunday School Department, and served as assistant moderator of the National Association from 1969-1970 and moderator from 1971-76.

Dr. O’Donnell was also successful as a pastor, serving five Free Will Baptist churches between 1949 and 1973. In the closing years of his ministry, he pastored successfully in the United Methodist denomination, retiring from pastoral ministry for the last time at age 78. 
He was author of five books and co-author of two. Several of his books, such as Faith for Today and Handbook for Deacons, are still in use today.

O’Donnell is survived by his wife Jean and sons Dan and Daryl.

Adapted from an obituary written by Dr. Thomas L. Marberry, friend and former student.


2015 Yearbook Now Available

Antioch, TN—The 2015 Free Will Baptist Yearbooks have been mailed to district association clerks for distribution of complimentary copies to local churches. If you wish to purchase a copy for personal use, contact Randall House Publications at 800-877-7030 or visit


Introducing 2015 Convention Nominees

Home Missions


Earl Hanna, South Carolina (replacing Earl Hanna, South Carolina)
Tim Stout, Ohio (replacing Tim Stout, Ohio)
Mike Cash, Arizona (replacing Ron Parker, Louisiana—ineligible for re-election)

Mike Cash has pastored East Valley FWB Church (AZ) since 2003. Before arriving at East Valley, he was associate pastor/youth pastor at Hilltop FWB Church (NC) from 1997-2003. He graduated from Southeastern FWB College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Bible with Pastoral Theology and Missions. Mike has served as moderator of the Arizona State Association since 2009 and is treasurer of the Alumni Association of Southeastern FWB College. He is active in the Phoenix community as chaplain of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department, volunteer counselor at area crisis pregnancy centers, and by coaching little league football, basketball, and baseball teams. Mike and his wife Misty have one son, Dylan.

Board of Retirement and Insurance


Larry Clyatt, Florida (replacing Larry Clyatt, Florida)
Rick Dement, Missouri (replacing Rick Dement, Missouri)
Ron Barber, Oklahoma (replacing Jack Daniel, Georgia—ineligible for re-election)

Ron Barber is active in both the youth and music programs at Bethany FWB Church (OK), as well as serving as deacon and trustee. He is a CPA and attorney with 34 years of experience advising both for-profit and non-profit organizations. In additional to practicing law, he manages business interests and market investments for private individuals with holdings in excess of $1 billion. He has served on the Board of Directors for more than 30 organizations, including previous terms on the Board of Retirement for 20 years (10 as chairman). Ron earned a B.S.B.A. from University of Arkansas in 1977 and the J.D. from University of Tulsa College of Law in 1980. He and his wife Debbie have two adult children, Ben and Maggie, and three grandchildren.

Free Will Baptist Foundation


Gene Williams, North Carolina (replacing Gene Williams, North Carolina)
Rick Locklear, Michigan (replacing Rick Locklear, Michigan)
Phil Whiteaker, Arkansas (replacing Phil Whiteaker, Arkansas)

Commission for Theological Integrity

2020 Rodney Holloman, Tennessee (replacing Rodney Holloman, Tennessee)

Historical Commission

2020 Eric Thomsen, Tennessee (replacing Eric Thomsen, Tennessee)

Music Commission

2020 Bryan Hughes, North Carolina (replacing Byran Hughes, North Carolina)

Media Commission

2020 Travis Penn, Indiana (replacing Travis Penn, Indiana)

Executive Committee


Glenn Poston, Tennessee (replacing Glenn Poston, Tennessee)
Mike Wade, Oklahoma (replacing Mike Wade, Oklahoma)
Edwin Hayes, Ohio (replacing Edwin Hayes, Ohio)

Edwin Hayes is executive secretary of the Ohio State Association, where he edits Ambassador magazine, directs the Ohio Bible Institute, directs the annual Ohio Men’s retreat, oversees Ambassador Bible Bookstore, and performs the denomination’s promotional work for Ohio. Edwin previously pastored his home church, Columbus First, from 1980-1993). He earned a degree in Business Administration from Franklin University in 1983, and has served as clerk of the Randall House Board, as Ohio State Moderator, and as a member of the Franklin Conference Mission Board. He has also written a number of articles for denominational publications. Edwin and his wife Linda have two daughters, Julie and Holly.

General Officers

Moderator: Tim York, Tennessee (replacing Tim York, Tennessee)

Assistant Moderator: William Smith, Georgia (replacing William Smith, Georgia)

Clerk: Randy Bryant, Florida (replacing Randy Bryant, Florida)

Assistant Clerk: Ernie Lewis, Illinois (replacing Ernie Lewis, Illinois)



©2015 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists