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March 2014

Life on Purpose


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Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit their website.


Forum 14/Bible Conference to Address "The Gospel for Life"


Welch College will host the annual FORUM14/Bible Conference March 9-11. The event will be held on the campus of Welch and will focus on the theme, “The Gospel for Life.” Through plenary and breakout sessions, speakers will address the implications of the gospel for evangelism, discipleship, Christian living, ministry, and public ethics.

The event promises to be engaging and informative with a wide range of highly accomplished speakers set to address this important topic. The featured speakers will be Ajith Fernando and Dr. Russell Moore.


Ajith Fernando, internationally acclaimed speaker and author, is the teaching director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka. Prior to his current position, Mr. Fernando served as national director of Youth for Christ in Sri Lanka for 35 years. A graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary, he is a visiting lecturer at Colombo Theological Seminary and author of 15 books published in 20 languages, including Jesus Driven Ministry and Sharing the Truth in Love: How to Relate to People of Other Faiths. He is actively involved in a grassroots ministry to reach the urban poor in his area with the gospel. Mr. Fernando will speak several times over the two-day conference.

The event will also feature Dr. Russell Moore, who will speak on Monday, March 10. Dr. Moore is President of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, a post he assumed after many years as vice president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Moore is author or editor of five books, including The Kingdom of Christ and Tempted and Tried. Highly respected as an ethicist and cultural commentator, Dr. Moore brings fresh, well-informed perspective to the topic of the implications of the gospel.

Four outstanding Free Will Baptist ministers will also address conference attendees:

  • Dr. Jeff Manning has been senior pastor of Unity FWB Church in Greenville, North Carolina, since 1991. A 1986 Welch College graduate, Dr. Manning serves on the Board of Free Will Baptist International Missions and also teaches as an adjunct faculty member in expository preaching at Welch College. He earned his D.Min. in expository preaching in 2002 from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His blog can be found at

  • Jeff Nichols recently celebrated 20 years of service on the ministry staff of The Donelson Fellowship, a Free Will Baptist church in Nashville, Tennessee, where he serves as executive pastor. He is a 1987 graduate of Welch College and holds an M.A. degree in Business Science from Trevecca Nazarene University. Before his current position, he served as children’s pastor and youth minister in Missouri.

  • Chris Talbot is a 2012 graduate of Welch College serving as minister of students at Unity FWB Church in Greenville, North Carolina. He is currently pursuing an M.A. in Ministerial Studies at Grace Theological Seminary and is a regular contributor to the Helwys Society Forum,

  • Vice President for Institutional Advancement David Williford will speak Sunday night to open the conference. Williford joined the Welch College staff in 2002 after 27 years of successful pastoral ministry, including several years as promotional director for Florida Free Will Baptists. A 1979 graduate of Welch College, he also completed an M.A. in Pastoral Studies at Welch and additional graduate study at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

President Matt Pinson said, “This is shaping up to be one of the best conferences ever. We have an excellent slate of speakers addressing the most important topic we must consider: the gospel and its implications for private and public life. All are invited to come and join the conversation.”


Two Welch College Professors Receive Doctorates

Welch College professors Ian Hawkins (left) and Barry Raper (right) both completed defense requirements for their doctoral dissertations and officially received their degrees, according to Dr. Greg Ketteman, provost.

Ian Hawkins (pictured below, left) is the Biology and Science Department program coordinator at Welch College. He began his tenure as professor in 2006. He successfully defended a two-part dissertation on April 14, 2013. Part one was entitled, “Virtual Versus Hands-on Laboratories: Which Is Best for Electrochemistry?” Part two was entitled, “Synthesis of Aurones Using a Deep Eutectic Solvent.” He received the Ph.D. in Math and Science Education from Middle Tennessee State University at the school’s August 2013 Commencement.


Barry Raper (pictured above, right) is program coordinator of the Youth and Family Ministries Department at Welch College and pastor of Bethel FWB Church near Ashland City, Tennessee. He graduated from Welch in 1999 and returned as a member of the faculty in 2006. He received a Doctor of Ministry in Biblical Spirituality on May 17, 2013. The topic of his dissertation was “Teaching Biblical Meditation as a Means to Transformative Prayer to Students at Welch College.”

Dr. Ketteman said, “Doctors Hawkins and Raper embody the very best about the faculty at Welch College. While these godly men have carried heavy loads throughout their respective doctoral programs, their courses have reflected serious academic depth, breadth, and excellence in pedagogy. We are thankful for their examples of diligence and humble service, and we congratulate them on completing their programs.”


Welch College Hosts 101 Students at Welcome Days

One hundred one prospective students representing 17 states attended Fall 2013 Welcome Days at Welch College, November 7-9, according to Debbie Mouser, director of enrollment services.

The 70 young ladies and 31 young men who visited campus attended classes and chapel and interacted with Welch students. Seniors, parents, and sponsors also met with President Matt Pinson during a Friday morning reception.

The visiting students toured the campus, enjoyed comedy and entertainment with area youth minster Jon Forrest, and closed out the night by cheering on the Welch College Flames basketball teams and playing dodgeball.

This was the first visit to Welch College for more than half of the visitors. The students praised the hospitality and helpfulness of the Welch College faculty, staff, and students during their visit.

Mrs. Mouser said, “I was very pleased with the number of visitors on campus for Welcome Days, and I am thankful we had the opportunity to present Welch College to them. This marks the highest number of visiting students for a Fall Welcome Days in quite some time. We look forward to future correspondence with these students, parents, and sponsors as they consider this important decision.”

Welch College will host Senior Days February 6-7, 2014, and Spring Welcome Days April 17-19, 2014. For more information, contact the Enrollment Management Office:



©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists