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Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1951. To find out more information about the school, visit their website at




FWBBC Athlete Named ‘Player of the Year’

Jerod McNeal, a Free Will Baptist Bible College graduating senior from Lake Butler, Florida, and member of the Flames baseball team, has been named the 2008 NCCAA Mid-East Region Player of the Year, according to Athletic Director Mike Phillips.

McNeal finished the season ranked number one in batting average (.571), slugging percentage (1.21), on-base percentage (.641), runs batted in per game (1.73), and almost every other offensive category.


Jerod McNeal


Flames coach Lynn Bracey, who has coached baseball more than 20 years, said, “Jerod is one of the best, if not the best baseball player I’ve ever seen. He is one of the most respectful players on the team and exhibited good Christian character all season.”

McNeal’s teammates praised his knowledge of the game as well as his leadership ability. A banner recognizing McNeal’s accomplishments will be placed in the Picirilli Activities Building on the FWBBC campus.

Jerod McNeal graduated May 9 with a B.S. degree in business administration.

PHOTO: Jerod McNeal (L) and Mike Phillips display banner.


FWBBC Receives $20,000 for Texas Student Scholarship

Free Will Baptist Bible College received a $20,000 gift for an endowed scholarship to be named “The Texas Student Scholarship,” according to Jeff Caudill, director of enrollment services. The donors are FWBBC alumni from Texas who gave the gift to help offset education costs for Texas students at FWBBC.

President Matt Pinson said, “We are so pleased that our alumni are stepping forward at this important point in the college’s history to provide much-needed funding for scholarship endowments. We hope this encourages other alumni to consider doing something that will benefit students financially for years to come.”

Recipients of The Texas Student Scholarship must be members of a church affiliated with the Texas State Association of Free Will Baptists and have a minimum G.P.A. of 2.0. All qualified students will share in the available funds.

The donors wish to remain anonymous, and they challenge others across the denomination to add to the scholarship or start another fund to benefit students. “We have found that you can’t out-give the Lord.”


200 Attend FWBBC Welcome Days

One hundred thirty prospective students from 15 states and 40 churches attended Spring 2008 Welcome Days, March 27-29, at Free Will Baptist Bible College, according to Jeff Caudill, director of enrollment services. With parents and sponsors, the campus visitors numbered more than 200 for the three-day event.

The group included 17 high school seniors, 41 juniors, 42 sophomores, and 10 freshmen, as well as 16 graduates and other individuals. Twelve of the graduates and seniors are current FWBBC applicants.
“I’m glad I came,” said Kyle Morrison from Calvary Fellowship FWB Church in Fenton, Missouri. “I had an awesome time, and I can’t wait to become a student here. I’m pumped!”

Heath Hubbard, director of recruitment, said, “We were so excited to have 50 young men and 80 young women on campus. They attended classes and chapel, interacted with our current students, and enjoyed a Hawaiian luau. President Matt Pinson hosted a reception for high school seniors, recent graduates, youth pastors, and parents.”

More than 200 prospective students visited the FWBBC campus during the 2007-2008 academic year. The college will sponsor four Senior Days during the 2008-2009 academic year (October 16-18 and November 20-22, 2008; January 22-24 and February 12-14, 2009), as well as two Welcome Days (November 6-8, 2008; March 26-28, 2009).


FLAMES ANNOUNCE 2008-2009 Men’s Basketball Schedule

The Free Will Baptist Bible College Flames basketball team will play more than 30 games during the 2008-2009 season, according to Dr. Mike Phillips, athletic director. The team will travel to seven states for games and tournament play.

The Flames are scheduled to play 15 home games in the Picirilli Activity Center on the FWBBC campus. For a complete schedule, visit

Florida Family ‘Operate FWBBC for a Day’

The family of the late Wesley Owen, a layman at Piney Grove Free Will Baptist Church in Chipley, Florida, informed Free Will Baptist Bible College officials that they wanted to “operate FWBBC for a day” in memory of Mr. Owen who died in September 2007. The cost to operate the college for a day is approximately $3,600, according to David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement.

“Daddy believed in FWBBC,” said Tim Owen. “He bled FWBBC blue and white, and was a long-time supporter of the college.”

Mr. Owen’s son Tim (pastor of Piney Grove FWB Church), his nephew Dennis Owen (retired missionary to Uruguay), and two grandsons all attended FWBBC. Tim Owen serves on the Randall House Board.
Wesley Owen’s wife Katie, his sons Tim and Wendell, and other members of the extended family provided the necessary funds to operate the college for a day.

David Williford said, “The idea of challenging churches and individuals to operate the college for a day originated with the late Paul J. Ketteman, long-time public relations director at FWBBC. We hope the generosity of the Owen family will encourage others to consider this as a means to honor loved ones.”

FWBBC Team Attends New Orleans Forum

President Matt Pinson spearheaded a team of 12 Free Will Baptist Bible College faculty, staff, and students who traveled to New Orleans, Louisiana, April 3-5 for the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (NOBTS), according to Provost Greg Ketteman. The FWBBC contingency was among 700 people present for the three-day conference.

Dr. Ketteman said, “The Forum was very productive and stimulated thought among the faculty and students who attended. It confirmed how reasonable our faith is. I was especially pleased with President Pinson’s substantive remarks during Friday afternoon’s roundtable discussion.”

The 2008 Forum featured 11 events, including the Baptist Center for Theology and Ministry’s conference with a guest presentation by Dr. Ed Stetzer, director of research at LifeWay Christian Resources, titled “The Emergent Church, the Emerging Church, and the Faith Once Delivered to the Saints.”

President Pinson and two other educators were invited to interact with Dr. Stetzer after his presentation during a 90-minute roundtable panel discussion. The other panelists included NOBTS faculty members Jack Allen (associate professor of church planting and director of the Cecil B. Day Center for Church Planting) and Paige Brooks (instructor in theology and Islamic studies).

Pinson said, “We were delighted with the invitation to attend the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum. This was an excellent opportunity for professional development for our faculty members and intellectual growth for our students. There’s a lot going on in the theological world, and we as Free Will Baptists need to stay current with trends and issues.”

Two other major Forum attractions spotlighted a lively dialogue between Bart Ehrman (UNC Chapel Hill) and Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary) on “The Textual Reliability of the New Testament,” and presentations by the Evangelical Philosophical Society.

The invitation for FWBBC faculty and students to attend the Forum came from Dr. Steve Lemke, provost at NOBTS, who spoke in chapel at FWBBC this spring. During the team members’ visit to New Orleans, Dr. Lemke gave them a personal tour of NOBTS’ collection of historical biblical documents.

missionaries to Share M.I.R. Duties at FWBBC

Three veteran international missionary couples will share Missionary-in-Residence responsibilities at Free Will Baptist Bible College during the 2008-2009 academic year, according to Provost Greg Ketteman. Kenneth and Rejane Eagleton (Brazil), Don and Ruth McDonald (Japan), and Sam and June McVay (Spain) will help FWBBC launch a new modular approach to the campus M.I.R. program this fall.

Dr. Ketteman said, “We may be looking at the face of the future if this mix of traditional and modular M.I.R. outreach is as effective as we hope. The modular concept allows students to benefit from the contributions of more missionaries, since it will not require them to leave the field for an entire year.”

The M.I.R. program is a joint effort by FWBBC and FWB International Missions to promote missions among students. The goal is for students to develop a vision for and accept the challenge of global evangelism.

Don and Ruth McDonald have served in Japan since 1986 and will live in the campus M.I.R house where they will interact with students on a daily basis, teach classes, and encourage students to consider missions. Don will teach a modular course in missions history this fall.

Dr. Kenneth Eagleton, a former medical missionary to Africa, has served as a church planter in Brazil since 2003. He will teach two modular courses during the fall semester—a cross-cultural course in church planting and a contemporary issues seminar focusing on the effects of the charismatic movement on church planting in South America and Latin America.

Missionary Sam McVay has served in Spain since 1997 and will teach a modular course in cross-cultural leadership in January 2009.

Dr. Ketteman said, “We’re conceptualizing a mix of traditional and modular M.I.R arrangements for the future. This will allow FWBBC and FWBIM to maximize the possibilities for students to be impacted by the lives of missionaries fresh from the field.”

Plans for the 2009-2010 academic year call for the M.I.R program to cycle back to a more traditional format with one missionary family in residence—Clint Morgan (regional director for Africa and creative access areas) and his wife Lynette.


Rachel Dennis Named FWBBC Enrollment Counselor

Rachel DennisRachel Dennis, an international business graduate from Free Will Baptist Bible College, has been named enrollment counselor at FWBBC, according to Jeff Caudill, director of enrollment services. The 22-year-old Arkansas native began her duties March 22.

Mr. Caudill said, “Rachel has a real love for FWBBC. She will be involved in numerous student initiatives as well as recruiting. We look forward to Rachel’s energy and creativity in EMT.”

As a student, Miss Dennis was active in student organizations. She served as president of the Sonnet society, president of the sophomore class, and vice president of the freshman class. Rachel worked one summer with the college’s Institutional Advancement Department. She was also a member of the New Mercy ministry team.

“I appreciate the opportunity God gave me to be a student at FWBBC,” Rachel said. “I want to give back a portion of what has been provided for me through professors, mentors, and relationships these past four years.”


FWBBC Stalwarts, Ralph and Margaret Hampton, Retire

Ralph HamptonMargaret HamptonReverend Ralph Hampton, chairman of the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department at Free Will Baptist Bible College, retired in May after 50 years of service (48 years of classroom instruction in Bible and pastoral ministries, and a two-year paid sabbatical while in graduate school). His wife Margaret also retired from her position as library manager at FWBBC’s Welch Library where she served 37 years.

President Matt Pinson said, “Ralph Hampton was a rock of stability on campus for five decades—a man of prayer, a scholar with a warm heart, and a teacher who challenged students to give their best. He demonstrated spiritual and intellectual leadership as a faculty member, and faithfulness in his local church. Thank God for the influence of this good man. We will miss him and his quiet strength.”

Reverend Hampton’s ministry to the broader denomination included six pastorates in Tennessee and Missouri, writing articles for Contact, ONE Magazine, and Randall House Publications, and his signature role with the National Association of Free Will Baptists where he served nine years as moderator (1987-1996) and six years as assistant moderator (1981-1987).

Librarian Carol Reid, who worked 20 years with Margaret Hampton, said, “I have been blessed by her godly example as a wife, mother, preacher’s wife, and friend. Her work ethic, attention to detail, and willingness to do difficult things made her an excellent library manager. Margaret managed student workers, kept library statistics, maintained periodical subscriptions, processed book orders, typed letters, gave tours, and more. She did it all with a servant’s heart. I learned from her as we worked together.”

The Hamptons were honored during 2008 commencement exercises at FWBBC in recognition of their outstanding service to the college.


FWBBC Commencement Week Honors Students

More than 35 Free Will Baptist Bible College students were cited for academic excellence, Christian service, and other meritorious awards during commencement week celebrations May 6-9, according to President J. Matthew Pinson. The annual recognitions were announced during final-week activities in Awards Chapel and Commencement Exercises. Nearly 50 scholarships totaling more than $73,000 were awarded to students.

The following recognitions and awards were made:

Best All-Around Girl: Leah Jolly (KY)
Best All-Around Boy: Jerod McNeal (FL)
Most Outstanding Students: Matthew Bracey (TN), Mary Beth Hovies (TN)
Student Body President Medal: Matthew Bracey (TN)
Yearbook Editor’s Award: Mallory White

Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges:

Ryan Akers (TN)
Jared Austin (TN)
Matt Bracey (TN)
Ashley Boshers (TN)
Jennifer Detherage (IL)
Grace Gaskins (SC)
Ken Gossar (KY)
Mary Elizabeth Hovies (TN)
Brandy Howell (TN)
Heidi Lane (OH)
Derek Lewis (IL)
Jacob Riggs (TN)
Lynsey Stripling (AR)
Ben Wheeler (NC)

Seniors inducted into Delta Epsilon Chi Honor Society (ABHE):

Ryan Akers (TN)
Audra Bridgeman (IL)
Mary Elizabeth Hovies (TN)

Graduating Senior with highest grade point average (4.0): Ryan Akers (TN)

Students with highest grade point average (all with 4.0):
Freshman: Christa Hill (VA), Shawn Richards (TN)
Sophomore: Cason Anderson (TN), Samuel Benninghoff (TN), Alisa Payne (IL)
Junior: Kristen Edwards (SC)
Seniors (non-graduating): Brandy Howell: (TN), Derek Lewis (IL)

Evangelical Training Association Diploma: 57 diplomas awarded

Turner Leadership Award: Ryan Akers (TN), Ben Wheeler (NC)

Adult Degree Program Students of Excellence:
Bible: Luke Bridgeman (AL)
Business: Audra Bridgeman (IL)
Teacher Education: Adam James (TN)

Christian Service Leader of the Year: Mary Beth Hovies (TN)

Spirit Trophy:
Men: Alpha Chi Omega Society
Women: Charlotte Bronte Society

Helen Ketteman Smith Award of Excellence in Business: Lynsey Stripling (AR)
Ann Pate Outstanding Teacher Award: Ashley Boshers (TN)
Music Theory Award: Katie McDonald (TN)
Music Excellence Award: Teddie Collier (MO)
History Award: Matthew Bracey (TN)
The Bert & Dianne Tippett Award: Wayne and Brenda Spruill
Picirilli-Outlaw Greek Award: Mary Beth Hovies (TN)
Academic Advisor of the Year: Garnett Reid

Freshman Essay Award:

First Place—Robin-Lynn Bogart (MI)
Second Place—Megan Nelson (TN)
Third Place—Christa Hill (VA)

Zach Yoho Memorial Scholarship: Amanda Fretter (CA)
Paul J. Ketteman Memorial Scholarship: Paul Gillikin (NC)
Rev. Ronald & Mary Belle Creech Scholarship: Paul Gillikin (NC)
SB Presidential Leadership Scholarship: Brett Inman (MO)
Master of Leadership Scholarship: Christa Hill (VA), Paul Gillikin (NC)
Edscholar: Kayla Bell (TN)

FWBBC Graduates 69 in Commencement Exercises

Free Will Baptist Bible College graduated 69 students from 15 states in commencement exercises on campus Friday, May 9, according to President Matt Pinson. Students completed degrees in six programs ranging from two-year associate’s degrees to four-year bachelor’s degrees. Thirty-eight percent of the class graduated with honors.

Dr. C. Thomas Malone, former FWBBC president and chancellor, brought the 19-minute commencement address from Luke 9:57-62, challenging students to deny self, say Yes to God, realize the urgency of the task, and keep their eyes on Jesus. Dr. Malone served 12 years as FWBBC president, three years as chancellor, and 16 years on the Board of Trustees, in addition to pastoring 35 years in three states.


2008 Graduates


Tennessee pastor Mike Gladson, whose daughter Ashley is a student at the college, delivered the baccalaureate message Thursday evening. He focused on the need for Christians to confront and engage the culture where they are. Gladson pastors Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church in Nashville.

Ralph and Margaret Hampton, who retired after the 2007-2008 academic year, were honored with matching plaques during commencement exercises. Old Testament professor Garnett Reid was recognized for 25 years of service.

The college commends to you and to the work of the Lord the members of the 2008 graduating class.

Associate of Science in Business Degrees

  • Benjamin Thomas Selph
    Bumpus Mills,TN

  • Jessica Nicole Selph
    Black Mountain, NC

Associate of Science in Early Childhood Degrees

  • Aubrey Lin Strobel
    Nashville, TN


Associate of Arts Degrees

  • Kevin Ilagan Hulguin
    Norfolk, VA

Associate of Christian Ministries Degrees

  • Michael Christopher Kernodle
    Newport News, VA


Bachelor of Science Degrees

  • Christopher John Adams
    Louisville, KY

  • ***Matthew Ryan Akers
    Monterey, TN

  • Crystal Brooke Barbour
    Wilson, NC Bachelor of Science Degrees (cont’d)

  • *Sarah Elizabeth Bequette
    Marquand, MO

  • **Christopher Shawn Birmingham
    Tupelo, MS

  • **Ashley Marie Boshers
    Columbia, TN

  • ***Audra Darlene Bridgeman
    Geff, IL

  • **Gary L. Bridgeman
    Guin, AL

  • Jared Heath Brummitt
    Elizabethton, TN

  • Jeremy Bill Craft
    Columbus, GA

  • Jeremy David Crittenden
    Arnold, MO

  • Joseph Scott Curtis
    Paintsville, KY

  • Timothy Charles Dederick
    Wabash, IN

  • Casey Lauren Deel
    Hermitage, TN

  • Rachel Christine Dennis
    Vilonia, AR

  • **Jennifer Megan Detherage
    Fairfield, IL

  • *Katie Grob Douglas

  • Stewart Logan Douglas
    Macon, GA

  • Christopher Michael Edwards
    Jesup, GA

  • *Rachel Lynette Eidson
    Joelton, TN

  • Daniel Lee Fisher
    Morehead City, NC

  • **Nicole Patterson Fisher
    Beaufort, NC

  • Jacob Alexander Frady
    Pikeville, TN

  • ***Grace Anne Gaskins
    Royal Palm Beach, FL

  • *Bradley Eric Gentry
    Limestone, TN

  • Lauren Nichole Helms
    Allen Park, MI

  • Leslie Renee Hull
    Baxter, TN

  • Natalie Jo Ison
    Dayton, OH

  • *Daniel Warren Landers
    Batesville, AR

  • **Heidi Nichole Lane
    Marysville, OH

  • Sharon A. Langston
    Saugatuck, MI

  • Amanda Michelle Lemons
    Mt. Vernon, IL

  • James Jerod McNeal
    Lake Butler, FL

  • Sean Allen Mercer
    Albany, GA

  • Amanda Jo Mitchell
    Houstonia, MO

  • Phillip Travis Morgan
    Cedar Hill,TN

  • Joshua Robert Owens
    Franklin, TN

  • Robert E. Pirtle

  • Michael Raylon Raybon
    Smyrna, TN

  • *Jacob Douglas Riggs
    Joelton, TN

  • Merilee Martin Reagan
    Greenbrier, TN

  • Lindsey McAdams Runion
    Goodlettsville, TN

  • Shelby Wayne Spradlin
    Walnut Ridge, AR

  • *BreeAnna Hope Stegall
    New Windsor, IL

  • ***Lynsey Marie Stripling
    North Little Rock, AR

  • *Laura Ashley Stutts
    Lawrenceburg, TN

  • Ashley Nicole Vandivort
    Nashville, TN

  • ***Benjamin Wayne Wheeler
    Wilson, NC

  • Nathan Thomas Willhite
    Pleasant View, TN

  • George Michael Williams
    Memphis, TN

  • Lance Arnett Williams
    Pocahontas, AR

  • Marlena Ann Williams
    Kingston, TN

Bachelor of Arts Degrees

  • ***Jared Wade Austin
    LaVergne, TN

    **Jennifer Dawn Bishop
    Tifton, GA

  • ***Matthew Steven Bracey
    Ashland City, TN

  • ***Mark Arden Brandenburg
    Nashville, TN

  • Caleb Burton Dement
    Wendzville, MO

  • *Kenneth Edward Gossar
    Bowling Green, KY

  • James Blake Hawkins
    Nashville, TN

  • **Mark Anthony Headrick
    O’Fallon, MO

  • ***Mary Elizabeth Hovies
    Lebanon, TN

  • Janet Lamb McReynolds
    Nashville, TN

    Anthony D. Warden, Jr.
    Bonner Springs, KS

  • Katie Marie Williams
    Mt. Vernon, IL

***summa cum laude
**magna cum laude
*cum laude

©2008 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists