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June-July 2014

Looking for Leaders

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news at welch college


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.


Pastoral Program Changes Hands

This fall will bring a change to the ministry program at Welch College, according to Dr. Greg Ketteman, provost. After 23 years on the faculty, Terry Forrest will retire as program coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, and will be replaced by Dr. Barry Raper (pictured below). Raper will shift from his Youth and Family role at the college, although he will continue to teach some courses in that area.

Prior to his Pastoral Ministry role, Forrest served eight years as Dean of Students and, prior to that time, as a Free Will Baptist pastor and church planter. For the past several years, Forrest has served as associate pastor to Dr. Raper, who, in addition to his duties at the college, serves as pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church, a large, growing congregation in the greater Nashville area.


President Matt Pinson said, “I can’t say enough good about the ministry of Terry Forrest at this college. He has been a rock-solid leader and mentor to scores of young pastors going out from Welch College. He will be greatly missed on this campus, and we’re hoping he will still teach some courses for us on a part-time basis.”

Before coming to teach at Welch College in 2006, Dr. Raper served as associate pastor and then pastor of Red Bay Free Will Baptist Church in Red Bay, Alabama. He is a graduate of Welch College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and recently received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Seminary. He continues to serve as senior pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church.

Dr. Ketteman said, “Dr. Barry Raper is a man of great integrity and deep, passionate commitment to living out God’s Word. He is uniquely gifted as a teacher who thoughtfully prepares then skillfully teaches each class and preaches each sermon for maximum impact. He is a powerful and challenging example for every pastor and youth minister, both in the classroom, and in his broader Christian ministry.”

President Pinson added, “Dr. Raper is a godly man with a remarkable commitment to personal holiness who has a reputation among Welch students for modeling the spiritual disciplines. Yet he combines with these personal qualities a vibrant, gospel-centered pastoral ministry at Bethel. We are so excited to have him step into this role. He’s tailor-made for it.”

Under the leadership of Mr. Forrest and Dr. Raper, ministry education at Welch College has become more academically integrated, with all students in the Pastoral program and the newly formed Youth and Family Ministry program taking the same “Christian Ministry” core, consisting of pastoral ministry, preaching, pastoral counseling, biblical languages, and other courses. In addition, students study a concentration of either Pastoral Ministry or Youth and Family Ministry. •


Welch College Adds Faculty

Welch College will add two new junior faculty members to its teaching roster this fall, according to Provost Greg Ketteman. Chris Talbot will teach Youth and Family Ministry and Frank Thornsbury will teach English.

“Welch College has a rich history of employing fine young Christian adults who spend their lives in diligent service to God in this ministry,” Dr. Ketteman said. “God uses the freshness and strength of these willing servants to revitalize and refresh the work of Welch College. After observing these young men as students and leaders, we look forward to working with new junior faculty members Chris Talbot and Frank Thornsbury as they bring willing hearts, the strength of youth, and sharpened, God-given intellects into the ministry of Welch College.”


Chris Talbot (pictured above with wife, Rebekah), minister of students at Unity Free Will Baptist Church in Greenville, North Carolina, will begin teaching in the Youth and Family program. Originally from Michigan, Talbot is a 2012 Welch College graduate, completing the Bachelor of Science degree in Pastoral Ministry, and completed his master’s degree in Christian Ministry from Grace Theological Seminary in May with plans to pursue a doctorate.

Talbot has served in his current youth role since 2012. Before that he served as an associate pastor in Alabama. He also served three years (two full-time, one part-time) as recruitment/enrollment counselor at Welch, representing the college across the denomination in camps, youth retreats, and other venues.

Named to “Who’s Who Among American College and University Students,” Talbot has an impressive ministry of writing and speaking. He blogs at and has blogged for He is also a contributor to the interdenominational youth ministry website He is married to Rebekah (Ayers), a Welch graduate and music teacher who was elected “Most Outstanding Student” by the Welch faculty her senior year.

Eastern Kentucky native Frank Thornsbury (pictured below) will become an instructor in the English program. He is a recent Welch College history graduate who will complete his master’s degree in English at Valparaiso University this summer. Twice elected student body president at Welch, he was named “Best All Around Boy” by his peers his senior year.


Thornsbury jump-started the college’s involvement in the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. Peers from more than 80 colleges and universities across Tennessee elected him Best Student Senator, and he also received the Carlisle Award, the organization’s top honor. He served as a campaign manager and staffer in a number of Kentucky state political campaigns.

With interests in linguistics, hermeneutics, and the great literature of Western Civilization, Thornsbury will serve as a strong addition to the humanities faculty at Welch. He also has plans to obtain his doctorate.

“I’m excited about these new, young faculty members,” said Welch President Matt Pinson. “Chris Talbot and Frank Thornsbury are just the sort of teachers we need at Welch College. They’re both energetic and zealous about the gospel, and they wed that zeal to a commitment to the discipleship of the mind. What’s more, they’re dyed-in-the-wool Free Will Baptists who will appeal to the broad spectrum of students in our denomination.”


Leigh Ann Smith Joins Welch College Staff

Leigh Ann Smith (pictured below) has been hired to a full-time position in the Welch College Business Office, according to Craig Mahler, vice president for financial affairs. After working several months in a temporary role, Mrs. Smith was named staff accountant, effective March 1, 2014.
Mahler said, “Mrs. Leigh Ann Smith believes in the mission of the college and brings expertise and experience to her new role. She is skilled in the specific office and accounting procedures we need, and we are grateful to have her onboard. ”

Mrs. Smith holds degrees from Lipscomb University in both Elementary Education and Business Administration with an Accounting emphasis. She and her husband Greg have two sons, Archie and Andy.


Mrs. Smith said, “In the few short months that I have been here as a temporary employee, I have been made to feel so welcome by everyone that I have come in contact with. I am truly excited to be a part of the staff here at Welch College. It is great to work at a place where God is at the forefront of all that is done.”

President Matt Pinson said, “Leigh Ann Smith brings to our campus a proven record of excellence in her field, a wonderful, kind spirit, and a solid commitment to our Christian mission. What a great combination for Welch College!” •


©2014 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists