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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


Free Will Baptist Bible College Enrolls 317 Students

NASHVILLE, TN—Free Will Baptist Bible College enrolled 317 students from 23 states and four foreign countries for the 2008 fall semester, according to Dr. Greg Ketteman, Provost.  While enrollment statistics indicate a robust student body, the numbers are somewhat lower than last fall’s enrollment of 324.

Dr. Ketteman said, “In the past two years we have graduated 147 students (69 in 2008 and 78 in 2007), which means we have a healthy retention and graduation rate.  It also means we must enroll and retain more new students in order to grow.  This year’s 30% increase in new student enrollment is generating a lot of excitement on campus.  This is an impressive group of young adults, and we are encouraged to see them pursuing God’s will for their lives here at FWBBC.”


FWBBC Students


At press time September 24, the college reported 182 dormitory students, 66 commuter students, 18 Adult Degree Program students, 15 online students, and 32 Lifetime Learning students.  Officials set the full-time student equivalency at 258.  Ninety-nine students are enrolled in ministry-related fields.

By classes, they include 57 seniors, 56 juniors, 62 sophomores, 104 freshmen, 33 non-degree/part-time students, and one special student.  There are 143 women and 170 men in the student body.

Explaining that he expects final registration figures to rise, Dr. Ketteman said, “Enrollment for our new Online Degree Program and the Adult Degree Program will continue through mid-semester.  We are still enrolling new students in both programs, since enrollment takes place throughout the fall term due to each program having multiple modules.  We project a total enrollment of 325 students for the fall term.”

By states, students number:
Alabama - 10
Arkansas - 13
California - 3
Florida - 7
Georgia - 11
Idaho - 1
Illinois - 8
Indiana - 9
Kansas - 3
Kentucky - 14
Maryland - 1
Michigan - 16
Mississippi - 8
Missouri - 15
North Carolina - 24
Ohio - 8
Oklahoma - 2
Oregon - 2
South Carolina - 13
Tennessee - 96
Texas - 2
Virginia - 12
West Virginia - 6
International - 29 (Canada, Cuba, Mongolia, Korea)

President Matt Pinson said, “We’ve had a great beginning to a promising new academic year with change in the air.  The students have brought energy and high expectations to the campus.  We’re excited about relocation activities, about the new academic programs in pre-nursing and science.  We’re also delighted with the response to our growing Online/Lifetime Learning program.”

Here are three ways to contact Free Will Baptist Bible College for more information: Call 800-76-FWBBC, email, or visit the college’s website at

Arkansas Youth Group Works at FWBBC        

NASHVILLE, TN—A group of 12 Arkansas youth and sponsors from First Free Will Baptist Church in North Little Rock spent five days (July 28-August 1) at Free Will Baptist Bible College in multiple work projects as part of what they called “Operation Make a Difference, Nashville.” 
Alan Thomas, the church’s minister of youth, said, “These are Gap kids in middle school and junior high.  They’re 12-14 years old, and for the most part, this is their first time on the FWBBC campus.  They’re learning what it means to have a servant’s heart about God’s work.  This makes 18 years that our church has sponsored mission trips, all within an eight-hour drive of Little Rock.”

The group arrived in a church bus late Monday and stayed in college dorms Monday-Friday, loading for the return trip home Saturday morning.  They worked two days on campus in a variety of projects—in the college library, weeding, gardening, moving furniture, cleaning, and more—before touring Randall House Publications and then working one day at the FWB National Office Building.

Ernie Thompson, FWBBC’s cleaning operations supervisor, said, “We’re always glad to welcome work groups to campus.  They help us with essential summer clean-up and painting projects.  Plus, they get a hands-on acquaintance with the college and visit with the staff.  We hope to see some of these young people back as students in a few years.”

All Gap Team members wore “G” bracelets as a reminder of why they were in Nashville.  The youth raised their own money for the mission trip by baking and selling 200 pans of cinnamon rolls in addition to other local projects.  FWBBC board member Mark Stripling pastors First FWB Church.

Barry RaperBarry Raper to Direct FWBBC Wednesday Evening Services

NASHVILLE, TN—Reverend Barry Raper, program coordinator for Christian Education and Youth Ministry at Free Will Baptist Bible College, has been named director of Wednesday evening campus services, according to President Matt Pinson.  He succeeds Bert Tippett, FWBBC’s director of church relations, who coordinated the Wednesday services 12 years, but requested that President Pinson appoint another leader.


Dr. Pinson said, “This is an important transition for FWBBC.  The services have flourished under Brother Tippett’s leadership for more than a decade.  The students love him and trust his biblical insights.  Last spring when Mr. Tippett felt it was time to hand the responsibility to someone else, we gave long and serious thought to his successor.  I’m delighted that Barry Raper agreed to come on board in this strategic area.  His experience as a pastor, his warm personality, and his commitment to excellence in Christian service make him the ideal person for this role.”

Bert Tippett said, “I told the students last May that after 12 years this was my final service as director, and I had asked President Pinson to select someone else to lead the Wednesday services.  What a great choice he made!  Barry Raper is the perfect fit for our services.  He’s a good friend of mine and a wonderful man of God.”

Raper joined the FWBBC faculty in August 2005 as an adjunct, then as a full-time faculty member in January 2006.  He graduated from FWBBC in 1999, worked in recruitment with the college, then enrolled in Southern Baptist Theological Seminary where he completed a Master of Divinity degree in 2002.  He returned to Red Bay (AL) where he served associate pastor at his home church, Red Bay FWB Church, and was called as pastor in 2003. 

Barry is active in student life on the FWBBC campus, serving as sponsor for the William Jennings Bryan Society and encouraging students in Christian education and missions outreach projects.  While attending FWBBC, he was captain of the Flames basketball team, was named FWBBC’s “Best All-Around Student,” and served as student body chaplain.

James StevensComposer’s Symposium to Feature James Stevens

NASHVILLE, TN—Dr. James Stevens, internationally-acclaimed music composer and chair of the Free Will Baptist Bible College Music Department, has been selected as one of seven clinicians for the 2009 Composer’s Symposium sponsored by Pine Lake Music Company.  For more then 35 years, Pine Lake Music has provided choral music, musicals, and collections for churches, as well as sound tracks, sheet music, and artist recordings for individuals.

Dr. Stevens said, “I will be teaching classes in theory, participating in panel discussions, critiquing new music by attendees, and giving private lessons as the schedule permits during the week.”

The prestigious symposium meets June 15-19, 2009, in Decatur, Georgia, and is expected to attract 60-70 composers for an intense week of evaluation and professional challenge.  This marks the fifth year Pine Lake Music has sponsored the annual gathering.
Other noted composers will join Stevens as presenters next summer—Joseph M. Martin, Joel Raney, J. Paul Williams, Pepper Choplin, Mark Cabaniss, and Jean Anne Shafferman.

“This conference is designed to help up-and-coming composers reach the next level in their skills and knowledge of the choral music industry through the teaching of professional composers across the country,” Stevens said.  “Each composer will have an opportunity to have some of his works performed at the conference and receive direct and personal feedback from the clinicians.”

Dr. Stevens has been a member of the FWBBC Music faculty since 2004.  During the past year, he has led keyboard workshops at the Free Will Baptist national convention and during Southern Baptist Church Music Week (Ridgecrest and Glorieta), published a piano book of hymn arrangements in Korea, and was the primary speaker at Sunmin Music’s Church Music Workshop in Seoul.


Daniel Sanders to Coach FWBBC Volleyball 

NASHVILLE, TN—College officials announced that a new women’s volleyball coach for Free Will Baptist Bible College has been named in time for the 2008 fall semester.  Twenty-seven-year-old Middle Tennessee resident Daniel Sanders began his duties in late August.  Sanders is project manager at the F.M. Russell Company.

Athletic Director Mike Phillips said, “We welcome Daniel to FWBBC as he steps in and takes charge of the women’s volleyball program.  With his military background, he brings a sense of discipline and hard work to the program.”

Mr. Sanders, a Nashville native, attended Tennessee Tech and is currently pursuing a business degree at Volunteer State Community College.  His hobbies include jumping out of airplanes and playing ice hockey.  He succeeds former women’s volleyball coach Dee Dee Vandivort.

 “I’m very excited for the opportunity to coach the volleyball team,” Sanders said.  “I think we will have the most motivated and best disciplined team to date.  It should be an exciting season for everyone.”

Daniel and Kristi Sanders have one child, Ashlyn, who is three years old.


FWBBC Grad Eddie Colf Commissioned for Chaplaincy

NASHVILLE, TN—Eddie Colf, 2007 Free Will Baptist Bible College Pastoral Ministry graduate, was commissioned June 30, 2008, as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy Reserve Chaplaincy Program.  The commissioning ceremony was conducted in Atlanta (GA) at the Navy District Recruitment office by Chaplain LCDR David Brown, Navy Region East Chaplain Program Officer.

Ensign Colf, age 29, is now eligible to participate in courses and special schools offered by the Navy to assist in his training as a chaplain.  He anticipates a short visit to Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard bases in the San Diego (CA) area, plus an eight-week Officer’s Boot Camp at two east coast facilities in the summer of 2009.

Eddie and Beth (Spruill) Colf currently live in Birmingham (AL) where he is in his second year of a three-year Master of Divinity program at Beeson Divinity School.  In addition to graduate studies, Eddie is a volunteer assistant to the bereavement coordinator of Care First Hospice.  He interns as associate minister of Christian education at a predominately African-American congregation in Tuscaloosa.  Beth (a 2007 FWBBC graduate with a B.S. degree in Business Administration) works in the corporate accounts division at Medjet Assist, a medical transport membership company.


Eddie Colf

Photo: Ensign Eddie Colf signs commissioning papers.


Converted at age 14, Eddie is a product of the bus ministry outreach at Philadelphia FWB Church in Folkston, Georgia, where he answered the call to preach at age 16.  His eagerness to make a difference as a young Christian brought him to the attention of the broader Free Will Baptist denomination, and he was selected as a member of the 1996 and 1997 Truth and Peace leadership teams.

Realizing his need for biblical and ministerial training, Colf sought means to finance his FWBBC education.  He signed up for a five-year tour of duty with the Navy in order to secure access to the G.I. Bill.  His Navy experience included several years in the submarine service.  While stationed at Norfolk (VA), he and his wife attended Virginia Beach FWB Church and were active in children’s ministry.  He also served as protestant lay leader with the Navy and began making plans to re-enter the service as a chaplain.

The Colfs are members of First FWB Church in Oak Grove, Alabama.  Eddie was first licensed to preach in Florida, then Virginia, and is now licensed by Alabama’s Cahaba River Association, and is on track for ordination.



Jerod McNealJerod McNeal Named Flames
Baseball Coach

NASHVILLE, TN—Jerod McNeal, a 22-year-old Business graduate of Free Will Baptist Bible College, has been named coach of the Flames baseball team, according to Athletic Director Mike Phillips.  McNeal, from Lake Butler, Florida, begins part-time coaching duties immediately.
Dr. Phillips said, “Jerod has begun recruiting student athletes, reserving baseball fields, evaluating talent, and working on strength and conditioning programs for the men’s baseball team, even though baseball season does not start until next February.  His full-time coaching responsibilities start in February 2009.”

McNeal completed a B.S. degree in Business Administration this spring at FWBBC.  He was also president of the John Bunyan Society his senior year.  As a member of the Flames baseball team, he was named 2008 NCCAA Mid-East Region Player of the Year.

Former Flames coach Lynn Bracey said, “Jerod is the one of the best, if not the best, players I’ve ever seen.  He is respectful and exhibits good Christian character.”


Elizabeth Lemons Named Women’s Basketball Coach 

NASHVILLE, TN—Mrs. Elizabeth (Hale) Lemons, an Illinois native and 2006 Free Will Baptist Bible College graduate, has been named women’s basketball coach, according to Mike Phillips, athletic director.  Mrs. Lemons played three years with the Lady Flames while a student at FWBBC.  She brings coaching experience to her new role, having served two years as assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Pleasant View Christian School.

Dr. Phillips said, “The student-athletes and the entire FWBBC community will immediately see her love and passion not only for basketball, but for people as well.  I think the Athletic Committee made a great decision when they recommended Liz Lemons.”

Lemons (age 24) begins her new duties as women’s basketball coach immediately.  Originally from Edington, Illinois, she completed a B.S. degree in Exercise Science at FWBBC.  Elizabeth and husband Michael live in Nashville where she works at Curves Fitness.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to return to my alma mater,” she said, “and give back some of what was given to me.  This is a great responsibility, and I look forward to building relationships with our players, students, and staff.”


Michael Oliver Named Administrative Assistant

NASHVILLE, TN—Reverend Michael Oliver, a Pastoral Ministry student from Alabama, has been named administrative assistant in the institutional advancement office at Free Will Baptist Bible College, according to David Williford, vice president for institutional advancement.  The 34-year-old Oliver began his duties September 1.

Mr. Williford said, “Michael Oliver is exactly what we need with his professional experience in management, his maturity as a minister who understands how to work with people, and his proven ability to function within an organizational structure.  We’re eager for him to become part of the institutional advancement team.  We expect him to have an immediate and positive impact on the office workload.”

Oliver owned a trucking company in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for seven years before enrolling at FWBBC.  After he was called to preach, he made arrangements to sell the trucking company and relocate to Nashville to study at FWBBC. 

Michael is scheduled to graduate in December 2010.  He was ordained in 2003 while pastoring Davis Chapel Free Will Baptist Church (Fayette, AL).  He recently resigned as a supervisor with UPS.  He continues to serve in the community as associate pastor at Olivet Free Will Baptist Church (Clarksville, TN).

“I’m thankful for the opportunity to work at Free Will Baptist Bible College,” Oliver said.  “I enjoy the Christian environment and look forward to working with the staff in the institutional advancement office.”

Michael and Kim Oliver have two children, Seth (9) and Jon-Albert (6).


33 Michigan Teens Stop at FWBBC

NASHVILLE, TN—Michigan teens on an eight-day ministry trip to Mississippi and Alabama stopped at Free Will Baptist Bible College and put in a hard half-day working on campus, according to Ernie Thompson, cleaning operations supervisor.

“This was a great group to have on campus,” Thompson said.  “They were willing to do whatever we needed.  The theme for their trip was ‘Being a Servant,’ and they were certainly that with us.  They didn’t mind sweating in the heat alongside our crew when there was heavy lifting, painting, or repairing to be done.  We all got our hands dirty.  We could tell this was more than fun and games to them.”

The 33 teens (18 boys, 15 girls) from Kirby Free Will Baptist Church in Flat Rock, Michigan, arrived in three 15-passenger vans with youth pastor Tommy Swindol (2005 FWBBC graduate) and summer interns along as sponsors.

The July 5-13 ministry tour included working with churches in Red Bay (AL) and several Mississippi congregations during the day.  At night the teens performed a drama and music program in the communities.  During their July 11-12 stay at FWBBC, the Michigan Team performed for Truth and Peace participants who were also on campus.

Pastor Mike Trimble (1982 FWBBC graduate) leads the Kirby FWB Church.


FWBBC Introduces New Trustees

NASHVILLE, TN—Delegates to the 70th annual Free Will Baptist national convention elected three new members to the Free Will Baptist Bible College Board of Trustees and elected a fourth member to a second term, according to President J. Matthew Pinson.  The elections took place in Birmingham (AL) during the July 16-19, 2006, convention.

President Pinson said, “We’re delighted to welcome these new Board members to the college family.  They are good men with personal commitments to FWBBC.  We will need their collective knowledge and skills as we move forward with plans to relocate the campus.”

Nashville layman Bob Bass was elected to fill the unexpired term (2008) of Dr. Greg Ketteman who resigned to become Provost at the college.  Mr. Bass, an entrepreneur and builder with a B.S. degree in engineering from Tennessee State University, graduated from FWBBC with a B.A. degree in Bible.

Mr. A.C. Allen, a South Carolina businessman, was elected to his second six-year term on the Board of Trustees.  His term expires in 2012.

Two outstanding pastors were also elected to the Board for six-year terms expiring in 2012—Reverends Ken Simpson (MO) and Mark Stripling (AR).

Pastor Ken Simpson leads Beacon Free Will Baptist Church in Raytown (MO), where he also serves as moderator of the Greater Kansas City Association.  He graduated from FWBBC in 1992 with a B.A. degree in pastoral training and subsequently earned the M.A. degree in theological studies at Covenant Theological Seminary.

Arkansas pastor Mark Stripling has led the growing First Free Will Baptist Church in North Little Rock since 2001.  He serves on the Executive Boards of both the Arkansas State Association and the Central Association.  Mark graduated from FWBBC in 1986 with a B.S. degree in church music and is pursuing a master’s degree in biblical studies at Trinity Theological Seminary.

Veteran Illinois pastor and long-time Board member Gene Outland (2008) was elected chairman of the Board of Trustees this summer.  Outland pastors Hazel Dell Free Will Baptist Church in Sesser.  He succeeds outgoing chairman Gary Fry (M0) who completed two full six-year terms on the Board and was not eligible for re-election.  A second Board member, Pastor Richard Barnes of Virginia, also completed 12 years on the Board and was not eligible for re-election.


Missouri Men Work in FWBBC Dormitory

NASHVILLE, TN—Seven men from O’Fallon, Missouri, spent a weeks during the heat of summer (August 4-7) in three-story Goen Hall on the Free Will Baptist Bible College campus waxing floors, halls, and common areas, according to Ernie Thompson, cleaning operations supervisor.  With temperatures nearing 100 degrees daily, the five men and two teens climbed stairs with heavy equipment and worked late in the evenings to put a shine on the men’s residence hall.

Pastor Rick Dement (First Free Will Baptist Church in O’Fallon) said, “My son Caleb graduated from FWBBC in May, so I was in the dormitory and saw first-hand that the floors needed some attention.  We assembled a seven-man team and promised President Pinson that we’d start Monday and stay until it was done.  Before we leave Friday, this job will be finished.”


Missouri Volunteers

PHOTO: Front Row (L): Ben Osterkamp, Scott Collins, Jon Osterkamp. Back Row (L): Rick Dement, Roger Drennen, Randy Matlock, Jerry Crossfield.


Teen brothers Ben (17) and Jon (15) Osterkamp accompanied Pastor Dement and four other men to participate in the work project.  The church’s assistant pastor (Scott Collins, a 2005 FWBBC graduate),along with retired businessmen Randy Matlock and Roger Drennen, and 71-year-old truck driver Jerry Crossfield completed the Show-Me State crew.

Ernie Thompson, a Missouri native, said, “These fellows were all business.  They understood why they were here and the effort it would take.  They started early and stayed late.  They brought equipment with them to get the job done, and even furnished $1,000 worth of vinyl base replacement trim at their own expense.”

Pastor Dement is moderator of the Missouri State Association of Free Will Baptists.


Nathan WilhiteNathan Willhite to Coach FWBBC Flames 

NASHVILLE, TN—Free Will Baptist Bible College has named Nathan Willhite, a 2008 FWBBC Exercise Science graduate, as men’s basketball coach, according to Mike Phillips, athletic director.  Willhite previously coached the Lady Flames to a 2007 basketball national championship in the Association of Christian College Athletics (ACCA) Division II.

Dr. Phillips said, “Coach Willhite brings much-needed collegiate experience and discipline to the men’s program.  I’m looking forward to seeing how God uses him in his new position to build our men’s basketball program.”

Mr. Willhite (age 28) completed a B.S. degree at FWBBC in May.  He coached the Lady Flames five years, including their breakout national championship season when his squad boasted the National Player of the Year and ACCA National Tournament MVP.  He is replacing acting coach Brian Jamison. 

“I’m really excited about the upcoming season,” Willhite said. “We have several new players coming in that will make a difference not only on our team but in the student body.  One of our goals is to be a competitive team every time we take the floor, and I believe we can achieve that over time.  I’m thankful for the opportunity to coach these men and to lead them on and off the court.” 


FWBBC Shuffles Bible Department Personnel 

NASHVILLE, TN—Free Will Baptist Bible College made two major shifts within the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department this summer, according to President Matt Pinson.  Old Testament professor Dr. Garnett Reid was named chair of the department, succeeding former chair Ralph Hampton who retired in May 2008.  Dr. Kevin Hester was appointed program coordinator for Biblical Studies.

President Pinson said, “This is an important move for the college and for the Biblical and Ministry Studies Department.  While we lost 50 years of leadership when Brother Hampton retired last spring, I’m thankful that we had well-prepared men in Dr. Reid and Dr. Hester ready to step up professionally and continue the excellent work in Bible and Ministry.  Both men are FWBBC alumni, and they have more than 30 years of collegiate teaching experience between them.  They have the respect of the entire college family.”

Dr. Reid has taught at FWBBC since 1982, specializing in Old Testament. Dr. Hester joined the Bible faculty in 2003; he also teaches History courses.  They are regular presenters at theological and educational forums. 

Reid writes the “Intersect” Bible study column in ONE Magazine, the bimonthly denominational publication.  Hester recently published his first book titled Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great: The Christological Synthesis of Gregory’s Morals on the Book of Job.

Provost Greg Ketteman said, “Dr. Reid and Dr. Hester possess leadership qualities such as biblical scholarship, a commitment to holy living, outstanding classroom presentations, a demonstrated love for the students, and loyalty to Free Will Baptist doctrinal positions.  The mantle has passed to these fine men with an educational vision and a drive to build on yesterday’s strengths.”

In his role as department chair, Dr. Reid will oversee administration of the department including planning, budgeting, advising, and supervision. In addition, he will provide information for public relations, represent the college as needed, and participate in professional groups.

Dr. Hester’s duties as program coordinator for Biblical Studies include oversight of curriculum in the department.  Biblical Studies is one of four major divisions in the department—the others being Pastoral Ministry, Missions, and Christian Education and Youth Ministry.



©2009 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists