The following was released by President Jim Marcum and the Board of Trustees of Southeastern Free Will Baptist College.
On February 15, 2018, the Board of Directors voted to ask the Parkers Chapel Free Will Baptist Church in Greenville, NC, to take in Southeastern Free Will Baptist College as a ministry located on their property and operating under the care of their local church. On Sunday night, March 11, 2018, Pastor Gene Williams presented the request to the Parkers Chapel Church for their consideration.
The following information is all contingent upon the vote of the good folks of Parkers Chapel Church. In this age of rapid information transfer, we believe it unfair to pressure Parkers Chapel Church by sharing too much information, but also unfair not to keep our constituents abreast of our prayer needs. We ask for your understanding as we show respect to all who love Southeastern and Free Will Baptists.
Southeastern Free Will Baptist College is committed to continuing its 35-year tradition of training and sending workers unto the fields that are white unto harvest. We are pleased that 100% of our 2017 graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees united with Free Will Baptist ministries. We believe that the move to Parkers Chapel will help us fulfill our mission in two ways:
- Southeastern has always maintained an understanding that the first area of service of our ministry, faculty, and students is in and through a local church. We believe that such a move will help us to better fulfill our mission by being more closely associated with a local church.
- By moving the college to a local church, the Board of Directors believes that there will be opportunities to share facilities and personnel. This will lower the operating expenses that the college has on the current campus. Our lower student enrollment can more easily be maintained until numerical growth returns. Private college enrollment is cyclical in nature, and we expect this move to provide even greater opportunities for numerical growth.
A little over five years ago, when Rev. Jim Marcum accepted the role of president of Southeastern Free Will Baptist College at sixty-three years of age, he and the Board of Directors believed that his tenure would be approximately five to seven years. President Marcum has sensed for some time now that Southeastern’s reuniting with a vibrant local church is the preferred path for stability and growth. During the February Board of Directors meeting, President Marcum, in his vision to unite the college with a local church, shared his willingness to step down as president and serve in whatever capacity the Board of Directors viewed best. President Marcum has offered to continue maintaining a close relationship by serving as an adjunct professor in the pastoral department and traveling for the college.
In the request for the Parkers Chapel Church to receive the college, the Board of Directors also asked Pastor Gene Williams to assume the role of president of the college. This change will unite the leadership of both the church and the college. The Southeastern Board of Directors will continue providing oversight and governance of the college and the accreditation progress will not be inhibited in any way. In Greenville, the Board of Directors also believes that there are potential faculty members who may even expedite the accreditation path.
When will this transition take place? That is a difficult question. The original plan was to sell the property, build offices and dorm buildings and move in the summer of 2019. Nevertheless, there are interesting possibilities developing in the student housing area which may allow the fall of 2018 to be the start date. We will keep you posted on these developments.
We earnestly request your prayers and support as we cautiously move through what we believe to be God’s will in our next steps.
- Pray for the dear folks of Parkers Chapel that they may have peace about God’s will as they vote on April 1.
- Pray that we will be able to come to an agreement with the complex across the street for our student housing.
- Pray that we will receive approval for federal aid this Spring.
- Pray that we will be able to bring in the right professors in our classes to move us toward accreditation as soon as possible.
- Pray that God will give Brother Gene wisdom as he begins to lead both ministries on July 1.
- Pray for the many details that must be worked out in this transition.
- Pray for our Board of Directors, Administration, Faculty, Staff and Students as we are facing the months ahead.