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power of the pew

by Dr. Milton Fields


In a business session some years ago, the speaker asked, “Which would you rather have for the next 30 days: a penny doubled every day or a million dollars?” Most of the crowd quickly chose the million dollars; a handful of people who were quick with their math chose the doubling penny. It’s true. The penny-a-day approach reaps much greater benefits than the million.

Most folks come to salvation through a one-on-one approach. While great revivals, great pastors, and great missionaries have won millions, I dare say you probably became a Christian as a result of the efforts of one person. Surveys indicate that few people visit churches because of their pastors, beautiful buildings, or outstanding programs. Most visit because a friend invites them.

Few would argue that it is important to educate folks; however, in some sense, much education in America has become little more than a sacred (and somewhat unproductive) cow. Is education really important? We at Free Will Baptist Bible College think so, and we have a viable alternative to the average approach—one that is truly educational (biblical and stable) in nature rather than secular (indoctrinated with political correctness). We emphasize the importance of educating the whole man, “created in the image of God.”

Moses urged the Children of Israel to “teach their sons and their sons’ sons” the statutes of God if they wanted to do His will and continue being blessed (Deuteronomy 4:1, 9). Teaching generations of future leaders has been a biblical mandate from the beginning. The first teacher was God Himself, and he commanded his people to follow His example.

Beginning in 1942, the founders of the college realized a shared dream. The school became a place where Free Will Baptist ministers and missionaries were trained and developed into workers qualified to lead their churches and the denomination. After a few years, however, these educational pioneers recognized that preachers and missionaries could not do the job alone. The philosophy of the College changed. Courses expanded beyond pastoral training, missions, and music ministry to emphasize total church education.

While not every business manager, educator, doctor, or engineer will spend time at Free Will Baptist Bible College, it is true that each would benefit from studies at the school. As a student on secular campuses for nearly a decade, I did not attend a single class that promoted a Christian worldview in business, education, medicine, or private living. The concept of integrity was sterile at best, and the quest for power and money appeared to be the underlying theme of each class.

We offer courses to the laymen of the denomination for multiple reasons. The first is obvious. We want to give every person in the church an opportunity to be part of a Christian community of faith and learning—a community that prepares every student to serve Christ and His church. To be prepared to lead, church members must immerse themselves in the Word until they can apply biblical principles to their daily lives. Why? To fulfill Christ’s purpose in their own lives and to serve as qualified role models to others. 

The church must expand her influence beyond her walls. We need folks in education, the court system, the media, and at the hospital—all places where unsaved people are found. We spend the most time and have the greatest influence upon fellow employees. Our co-workers are most likely to respond to our message about Christ and our invitation to church.

Churches need members who understand finance, legal matters, construction, and manufacturing to carry out day-to-day operations of the church. If the college can prepare students to work at the bank, the Board of Education, and the insurance agency, those same skills will certainly help operate the local church.

The college prepares students to live wisely while making a living. Most colleges limit their attention to three domains of human life: cognitive (intellect), affective (emotions and values), and psychomotor (physical activity). By doing so, they leave out the most important theme of life—the spiritual nature of man. At FWBBC, we make Christ and the Word of God the central focus of everything we do. Because they are the most important aspects of our educational model, Christian living, family and personal life, academics, and even vocation rise to a higher plane and achieve a godly purpose.

We are committed to reaching all men everywhere—in the church, in the home, at leisure, in every nation, and on the job. Most of us want to put our lives in little boxes, compartmentalized from each other with little contact between the various facets of our lives. Some think that religion is for Sunday and work for Monday. These individuals believe the work of the Church belongs to the full-time staff while the laity is left to other pursuits. This is not a biblical view of employment, family, entertainment, or even church activity. At Free Will Baptist Bible College, future CEOs, judges, and even housewives are taught that every activity in life is interrelated.

We continue to prepare men and women to serve Christ regardless of the vocation they choose. While we emphasize ministry training, we also offer programs in science, nursing, and the humanities. Why? Because every Christian should be prepared for ministry, no matter what their occupation! Our college is committed to the premise found in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”

Dr. Fields is academic dean at Free Will Baptist Bible College, Nashville, Tennessee. He has served in both public and Christian schools as teacher and administrator. He has also pastored Free Will Baptist churches.

Learn more about Free Will Baptist Bible College by visiting



©2005 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists