Support Future Leaders

If you have youth who have been accepted for 2022 Truth and Peace or to a Mission trip, let me know and I’ll post it here so we can work together to support our youth with finances and prayers.


Beth Howell

Email me at or text 361-491-1827

Randall House to release Husband of One Wife: An Exegesis

“(Nashville, Tennessee) On December 6, 2021, Randall House and authors will release Husband of One Wife: An Exegesis.

About the book: Husband of One Wife: An Exegesis provides an in-depth examination of a key biblical qualification for pastor—marital status—and discusses contrasting views and interpretations of various qualifications listed in 1 Timothy 3:1-7, with particular attention to how divorce impacts one’s ability to serve in the role of minister. Addresses the questions: Is the Divorced Minister Permanently Disqualified From Pastoral Ministry?, Must the Local Church Pastor Be Married?, Is “Husband of One Wife” More Important Than the Other Pastoral Requirements…or Do They Possess Equal Weight?, Is Polygamy Part of the Equation?, and Can A Divorced Pastor Lead in Ministry Again?

Features include: Multiple authors from a wide range of backgrounds and ministry philosophies. In-depth examination of scriptural qualifications related to the pastor’s marital status. Contrasting views and interpretations.

About the author: Chris Shirley, Ph.D., is on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Jeff Manning, D.Min., is an adjunct professor at Welch College and pastor at Unity Church in Greenville, North Carolina.

Mike Trimble, M.Div., pastor of Kirby Church in Michigan.

Jeff Blair, D.Min., pastor of Locust Grove FWBC in Oklahoma.

Danny Baer, Ph.D., has ministered in Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina.

Doug Carey, pastor Crossroads Free Will Baptist Church in Jenks, Oklahoma.”

Contact: Lena Wooten

Director of Marketing

(615) 361-1221 ext. 308

Leadership Conference Registration Opens November 19

“Nashville, TN—Dr. Thom Rainer will return to the 2021 Leadership Conference, December 6-7, at Sonesta Nashville Airport (formerly Marriott). Pastors and church and ministry leaders from across the denomination will gather to explore the theme “Equipped for His Work,” with an emphasis on church health.

Dr. Rainer will speak during the Monday and Tuesday evening keynote sessions. The founder and CEO of Church Answers, an online community for church leaders, Rainer also served as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Before LifeWay, he was a member of the faculty and administration at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he was the founding dean of the Billy Graham School of Missions and Evangelism. Rainer is a 1977 graduate of the University of Alabama and earned M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 

He has authored more than two dozen books, including I Am a Church MemberBreakout ChurchesAutopsy of a Deceased ChurchSimple LifeSimple ChurchRaising DadThe MillennialsEssential Church, and Who Moved My Pulpit?

Monday at 3:30 p.m., Dr. Brad Ransom will host “Assessing Yourself for Ministry,” equipping pastors to understand how they lead and how to avoid potential pitfalls in ministry so they can lead with confidence and passion. Participants will take part in personal assessment and group feedback sessions. Dr. Ransom serves as chief training officer and director of church planting for North American Ministries, and is a certified practitioner of the Myers Briggs Temperament Indicator (MBTI) and the DiSC personality profile. Attendance to this session is limited, so email if you would like to participate.

On Tuesday, a wide range of seminars (below) will offer practical instruction for 3 for 30: Reach, Train, and Give. A Tuesday evening panel discussion will additionally explore the challenges and opportunities facing Free Will Baptist pastors and churches.”

Is God A Moral Monster

It’s no secret that in our modern world, more people are considering alternate religious views other than Christanity, or are just considering alternate interpretations of the traditional Biblical understanding of God. I try my best to see what most of the critiques and objections skeptics pose towards Christianity are. I also want to see, not only what skeptics question, but also what some who are merely struggling to understand think. It helps me when I dive deeper into these topics just for myself, but also to be “prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks.” 

One objection that gets raised is “How could I worship a God who is ok with slavery?” Questions and objections like this are nothing new and have been and will probably be raised until Jesus takes us home. First, don’t flip out and allow your blood pressure to rival the national debt. Be calm and available for questions, advice, and give sound biblical teaching when the opportunity presents. Being unnecessarily angry and agitated never brings any peace and clarity to the situation. Colossains 3:15 says, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.” If we remember that we are God’s, we are saved, we are His ambassadors, and nothing to fear in Him, then it will undoubtedly change the way you approach every conversation: positive or controversial. 

With this particular question and many others very similar, there are answers. I believe in our day and time, we must be prepared, because the Christian worldview is no longer just assumed to be true and right. A book I recommend (although I haven’t finished it yet) is called Is God A Moral Monster and is written by Paul Copan. He tackles a lot of these questions that people have, especially with the false perception that God in the Old Testament is mean, evil, or is just not worthy or worth following. 

Check it out. Be ready and prepared with a biblical, reasoned, and compassionate answer for anyone who may come across your path. This is the time and place God has specifically chosen you to exist. So be informed of what people are asking. Just be there and available. If you don’t have the answer at that moment, that’s ok. Simply let them know you will research it and get back with them. This will also allow you to keep the conversation going and open the door for more opportunities to build the relationship.

Randall University Fall On Campus Days Complete

“We hosted Campus Days on our campus on October 14-15th! We had a great time taking part in a worship service and many activities like flashlight tag and dodgeball! High school students also had the opportunity to even attend college courses with the students on our campus. We are so thankful for everyone who helped make this event great, and our prayer for these students is that they follow the Lord’s will in their life while planning their future!”

State Office Quarterly Report

October 30, 2021

Greetings from the State Office and the Executive Board!

I hope everyone is doing well and you’ve had a nice taste of fall weather with more to come.  We want to share with you a few things for your information and participation.

It is once again time for us to consider planning for our future events within the association.  The next major event on the statewide calendar is the 2022 All Boards Meeting.  This meeting is traditionally where the state boards do a lot of their planning for the calendar year and beyond, in addition to sharing ideas and fellowship.  The 2022 meeting has been scheduled for Thursday-Saturday, January 27-29 at Fellowship FWB Church in Bryan.  We expect to meet in person at this meeting, and the Executive Board will consider plans for the 2022 State Meeting, among other items as we develop the meeting agenda.  Our Mission Board, Christian Education Board, and WAC officers will also meet and plan upcoming events, programs, and initiatives.  Please be in prayer for the discussions that will take place at this meeting and leading up to it.

Speaking of the State Meeting, the 2022 meeting is scheduled for June 8-9 at First FWB Church in Duncanville.  We will provide updates as the details are confirmed, but mark your calendars now.

The Men’s Conference that was originally scheduled for this month has been rescheduled to the more typical springtime date of March 4-5. The Christian Education Board made this decision with the expectation that a few more months of promotion and reminding will provide an opportunity for more registration. The speakers (Wes Hood and John Bivens) and the location (Lakehills Church in Cedar Park) will remain the same as originally scheduled, so make your plans now to attend!

October is typically celebrated among Free Will Baptists and other denominations as Pastor Appreciation Month.  Churches recognize their pastors in a variety of different ways, but we offer our recognition to all of our pastors statewide as well.  Thanks to each and every one of you for all that you do throughout the year!

This year’s Mission North America Offering is scheduled for Sunday, November 21.  Please plan to give generously, to help provide necessary resources and vital ministry funding to spread the gospel at home and around the world!  You can download promotional material for the offering here.  

The current issue of ONE Magazine marked its 100th issue and 16 years in print, celebrating a milestone and looking forward to the exciting things ahead for the magazine and Free Will Baptists.  You can read the current issue, as well as previous issues, on the ONE Magazine website using the link above.  You can also sign up to have the printed magazine delivered to your home, at no cost, through the signup form on the website.

Finally, as many of you are aware, Bro. Herbert Richards recently passed away, just a few months shy of 102 years of age.  Bro. Richards has been a pillar of Texas Free Will Baptists, and we offer our condolences to the Richards family during this time.  It so happens that there is an excellent article about Bro. Richards in the current issue of ONE Magazine; if you haven’t already read it, you should do so in your printed magazine or online at this link:

We offer our typical closing reminder to please visit the State Association website at and review your district’s and church’s information in the directory.  We want to make sure that the contact information is all up to date.  If you see any information that needs to be changed, please send updates and corrections to me at the State Office.

We appreciate all that you do for Texas Free Will Baptists and for the work of God.  As always, you can contact us with any questions at   

2021 Fall Welcome Days at Welch

Date and time

Thu, Nov 11, 2021, 3:30 PM –

Sat, Nov 13, 2021, 8:30 AM CSTLocation 


Welch College

1045 Bison Trail

Gallatin, TN 37066

RegisterShare this event 

Date and time

Thu, Nov 11, 2021, 3:30 PM –

Sat, Nov 13, 2021, 8:30 AM CSTLocation 


Welch College

1045 Bison Trail

Gallatin, TN 37066

View MapRefund policy 

Refund policy

Refunds up to 1 day before event

Eventbrite’s fee is nonrefundable.Event description Space is limited.

Registration for Welcome Days closes Nov 6! We are BOOKED solid in the ladies dorm, but there are still spots in the men’s dorm. We will wave the $50 fee if you choose to stay in an area hotel (and you’ll still receive a t-shirt and meals). We can’t wait to have you on campus!

Who should attend? High school sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as college transfer students,  are invited to join us for an eye-opening weekend on the campus of Welch College. Parents and youth sponsors are invited and encouraged to attend all events as well.

Why should I come? This is your chance to experience all the aspects of life on campus in a little over 24 hours. If you want to make the most informed college decision possible, you need to make a campus visit, and Welcome Days is a great way to experience life at Welch College.

What can I expect during my visit? The simple answer: You will experience life at Welch College. You’ll sit in on classes, attend chapel, tour the campus, eat in the cafeteria, stay in the dorms, and participate in events on Thursday and Friday. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with current students and faculty members. You and your parents will learn about financial aid options, the admissions process, and more. It’s our goal to answer all of your questions!

What’s the cost? the cost for this exciting weekend is $35—this includes all your meals, your room, and admission to all events!

Brother Richards

Brother Richards has joined his Savior in heaven. Please pray for the family and friends as they grieve this great loss. To honor his memory, I’m posting a recent article from One Magazine that includes a great interview with brother Richards.

A Hundred (and Two) Years of Wisdom

An interview with Rev. Walter H. Richards

“With the 100th issue of ONE Magazine approaching, I thought it would be interesting to hear from a centenarian, so I traveled to Texas to interview Walter H. Richards, likely the oldest living Free Will Baptist preacher. Throughout his life, he pastored exclusively in Texas, and all were small churches.

With Mr. Richards quickly approaching 102 years of age (January 14), I didn’t know what to expect. But the sparkly senior quickly set me straight: “I don’t hear so good anymore, and I don’t see so good. I might get a little confused about what I had for breakfast, but if you get me started in the right direction, I still talk well about the past.”

True to his word, Mr. Richards did talk well. Once he heard my questions (sometimes a challenge), his answers were quick, direct, and full of good humor. Enjoy the following excerpts from our conversation.

—Eric Thomsen, Managing Editor, ONE Magazine


How long have you been a Free Will Baptist?

Since 1946—75 years. I pastored 65 of those years. Preached ‘til I was 99. But I’m retired now. Someone once asked me, “If you weren’t Free Will Baptist, what would you be?” I told him, “I’d be ashamed.”

The denomination has really helped me and stood by me. I’m so grateful to be a Free Will Baptist.

I understand you attended Free Will Baptist Bible College [now Welch College]. What do you remember about those days?

I graduated from the college in 1949. I was a little older than most of them. I only started pastoring after I got out of the Navy. The Lord called me to preach, and, pretty quick, I saw that if I was going to preach, I needed some help. I was a sixth-grade dropout, and college was hard! But I stuck it out.

I remember Charley Thigpen* especially. He was so influential. He came during my second year there. He was a great friend. I remember going to the train station to pick him up when he arrived.

You mentioned the Navy. When did you serve?

I’m one of the few living WWII veterans. Served in the Pacific.

Do you remember the first sermon you preached?

The first sermon? Sure do. It was the old First Church in Bryan, Texas. The pastor had his tonsils removed and couldn’t preach. Asked me to preach for him on Sunday night. I went to my older brother and got some pointers. I preached for a whole five minutes before I ran out of things to say. I told the Lord if He saw fit to give me the opportunity, I’d sure like another try. And He let me keep trying for the next 65 years.

I remember my last sermon, too. I was 99. I preached on how to know God: get in the Word and visit with Him often. I even preached one time at the National Convention. Brother Carl Cheshier asked me to preach the “moderator’s message” for him in Atlanta.** That was one of my greatest honors.

While I don’t pastor today, I still attend church faithfully, pay my tithes, and try to help in any way I can. I have a very active prayer list. I pray more now than I’ve ever prayed, from an hour to an hour-and-a-half every day. I pray for people specifically, by name. I pray for our churches; I pray for our pastors. I have one son, and he’s a pastor too. I’m so proud of him.

I may not be a pastor, but I am still faithful to tell people about the Lord. I get regular visits from Home Health. Not one of them comes through my door without hearing, “Do you know the Lord? Are you a Christian?”

What was your favorite book of the Bible to preach from?

John. No question, it was John. I admire John above the other disciples. And he shared so many good, practical things in his writing. Not just spiritual, but practical. How to live!

What advice would you give a young preacher?

Get in the Word! Stay in the Word! Preach the Word! Oh, and keep better records than I did. I can’t tell you how many weddings and funerals I did, but after 65 years of preaching, it was a whole bunch. I just wish I could remember them all.

How has church changed since you began preaching?

Oh, my! It has changed tremendously. People are so busy and sometimes too busy for the important things. Too busy for church. Too busy for each other. That concerns me.

What would you say to today’s Free Will Baptists?

It’s pretty simple. Get in the Word. Pray honestly for everything. Jesus will meet every need in our lives when we just turn our lives over to Him. Let Him lead, and you will have the greatest adventure you can imagine.

What are your thoughts as you look back on your long life?

My wife [Margaret] and I were married 73 years and eight days. I miss her. She was a good wife. Always made me smile to hear the kids at church call her “Mrs. Preacher.” I have two great children: my son Walter and my daughter Marilu. It has been a good life.

I’m ready to go whenever the Lord wants, but I turned my life over to Jesus a long time ago, and I don’t think he’s quite done with me yet. But when I go, I’ll go happy for every experience He gave me. Anything and everything good that I accomplished, Jesus helped me. Anything and everything good in my life, Jesus did it!

*Dr. Charles (Charley) Thigpen became the dean and later the president of Welch College from 1979-1989. He also served as the denomination’s moderator from 1954 to 1960, the youngest man ever to serve in that role. He died in late 2020 at age 94.

**Carl Cheshier served seven years as the moderator of the National Association and nine years as the assistant moderator. He honored Rev. Richards by asking him to deliver the opening message (the moderator’s message) of the convention business session at the 1999 meeting in Atlanta, Georgia.”

About the Author: Eric K. Thomsen is managing editor of ONE Magazine. Email: