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January 2018

Discipleship: Fruit
Bearing Fruit


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Meshing a Master's With Ministry and Life

Students praise the Welch M.A. in Theology and Ministry

By Jeff Cockrell


In May 2017, the first graduates of the Master of Arts (M.A.) program in Theology and Ministry at Welch College walked across the stage and received their degrees. It has been an exciting time for the new program at Welch. The 33-hour track is for college graduates who desire additional education in theological and ministry studies. The focus is on developing skills and knowledge in the area of Christian ministry from the vantage point of the classical theological disciplines. We’ve received numerous positive comments about the program from our current students.

“Welch’s regionally accredited 33-hour M.A. degree in Theology and Ministry has been an answer to prayer for the Free Will Baptist denomination. This degree not only weds classical theology with practical ministry, it also provides rigorous, rich, and rewarding coursework and class discussions. This particular degree is unique because it stems from a Reformed Arminian framework and celebrates the rich heritage Free Will Baptists possess. In addition, this degree offers numerous benefits: modular courses, a highly educated faculty, financial scholarships, and a blending of theological and practical emphases that provide direct application for the local church.
“The degree is ideal for those who work full-time and who also desire to further their ministry education affordably. With the hybrid class format, the student doesn’t have to relocate to Nashville to pursue a quality master’s degree with a Free Will Baptist perspective. This degree has certainly been challenging alongside my ministry responsibilities, but the rewards have been far greater than I ever could have imagined. I highly encourage you to look into the Master of Arts degree in Theology and Ministry at Welch College.”

Mike Hollis, Associate Pastor, Cofer’s Chapel FWB Church, Nashville, Tennessee


“Even though we may plan the direction of our lives, we all know life does not always turn out the way we envision. In my late 20s, already out of college and on the road to success, I sensed God’s call to the pastorate. I had not planned for this to happen, but who does? It was not until my early 30s that I finally surrendered my life to God’s will and found myself as a pastor of a small church.
“Many of us have heard the well-used colloquialism “Where God guides, He provides.” With no formal Bible training and a busy family life, I wondered how I would be able to shepherd a flock. I thought it impossible to get more training, which I knew I desperately needed. As I searched for the right program to fit my demanding schedule, I found few choices from a conservative Free Will Baptist viewpoint. As I contemplated what I was going to do, and how to fit it in my schedule and pay for it, a close friend informed me that Welch College was about to offer a master’s degree in Theology and Ministry. I was surprised to find the program was fully accredited and doable, even with an active schedule like mine! The faculty at Welch has been so supportive and encouraging throughout this process and made it as painless as possible.

“To my surprise, I am now halfway through my third class, and all I can say is it has been a God-send. I have learned so much from the knowledgeable faculty at Welch and gained some great friendships with other pastors and church leaders in the program. This program is so highly practical that I cannot recommend it enough. It has meshed very well with my ministry and family life. I have been able to take the tools and knowledge I have learned and apply it directly to my local church context. Thank you, Lord, and thank you, Welch College.”

Matthew Honeycutt, Pastor, Rock Springs FWB Church, Charlotte, Tennessee


“I started taking classes in the master’s program at Welch College in April 2016, when I was pastoring a church in South Florida and serving as a Christian school athletic director. I had already taken a ministry class at another university, but I found the Welch classes to be much more practical and beneficial to my ministry. The hybrid courses, a mixture of online and on-campus experiences, are structured in a way that is time-beneficial to someone already in ministry. Also, having each class structured the same way helps as we transition from class to class. Knowing that every class will follow the same pattern relieves the fear I have in taking classes. The course assignments are carefully designed to aid in our current ministry and help in the future to be relevant to our current ministries.

“The greatest strength of the program is the individuals involved. The professors are experts in their field, and they show a desire for everyone to grow in the class. The other students also have a wealth of knowledge. Each week, reading the assigned weekly posts has given me the opportunity to receive great ideas that have helped in my ministry. The diversity of the students in the program is also a strength that aids all areas of ministry. Having the week-long (on-campus) intensives allows students to give and receive valuable information to one another.”

Greg Fawbush, Athletic Director and Men’s Basketball Coach, Welch College


For more information about the M.A. program in Theology and Ministry, contact program coordinator, Dr. Jeff Cockrell, at: Also, check out the degree program on the Welch College website:



©2018 ONE Magazine, National Association of Free Will Baptists