Dr. J. Matthew Pinson – President

J. Matthew Pinson is Welch College’s fifth president, having served in that office since 2002. A native of Pensacola, Florida, he attended Welch College in the 1980s and went on to graduate from the University of West Florida with a B.A. in humanities and M.A. in history.

President Pinson received his Master of Arts in Religion from Yale University, where he met his wife Melinda, a North Carolina native who was a graduate student at Yale. They were married in the summer of 1994 and began a pastorate in South Georgia. While there, he engaged in doctoral studies in history at Florida State University, and Mrs. Pinson managed a historic hotel and restaurant. The Pinsons have two children: Anna and Matthew.

After assuming the presidency of Welch College, President Pinson completed his doctorate in higher education leadership from Vanderbilt University. He is the author or editor of numerous articles and books, including Perspectives on Christian Worship (B&H), Four Views on Eternal Security (Zondervan), A Free Will Baptist Handbook (Randall House), Classical Arminianism (Randall House), and Arminian and Baptist (Randall House)

Leadership Team

Matthew Bracey – Vice Provost for Academic Administration

Matthew Bracey serves as the Vice Provost for Academic Administration. He also teaches courses in history, law, theology, and interdisciplinary studies, and he coaches cross country. Matthew holds degrees from Cumberland School of Law (J.D.), Beeson Divinity School (M.T.S.), and Welch College (B.A., History, Biblical Studies). He is currently pursuing Ph.D. studies in Christian Ethics Public Policy with a Christian Philosophy minor at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.

He is a co-founder and Senior Editor of the Helwys Society Forum (thehsf.com). He has written a number of scholarly articles in journals such as the Biblical Higher Education Journal and Integrity: A Journal of Christian Thought, as well as popular articles in publications like The Brink Magazine, FUSION, and ONE Magazine. In addition, he has contributed chapters to The Promise of Arminian Theology (Randall House Academic), which he also co-edited, and Sexuality, Gender, and the Church: A Christian Response in the New Cultural Landscape (Welch College Press).

Matthew and his wife Sarah live in Mount Juliet, Tennessee. They attend Sylvan Park Free Will Baptist Church, where they serve in multiple capacities.

Dr. Jon Forlines – Vice President for Student Services

Forlines, Jon (4)Dr. Jon Forlines is vice president for student services at Welch College, a position he has held since 2001. He graduated from Welch in 1980, serving as president of the student body his senior year. He received his M.S. in Counseling Psychology from Tennessee State University and later received his Ph.D. in the same discipline.

Dr. Forlines served as associate pastor and minister of music at Grace Free Will Baptist Church (Greenville, North Carolina) from 1981 to 1990. He also served as a psychological examiner at the Tennessee Prison for Women and did his doctoral internship at the DeBerry Special Needs Facility in Nashville. He has performed more than 500 hours of volunteer service at drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers.

His wife Susan is also a Welch College graduate, and they work together in Student Services. They have three children: Joel and Jared (both of whom are graduates of Welch College), and Anna (who is a student at Welch). Jon’s father, Reverend Leroy Forlines, has been a member of the Welch College faculty since 1953 and recently completed 50 years of service with the Commission for Theological Integrity.

Dr. Kevin Hester – Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness

Kevin L. Hester was named the Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness in 2017 following six years of service as the Director of Institutional Planning and Assessment. In this role he oversees all institutional and academic assessment and institutional planning in order to insure fidelity to mission and attainment of institutional goals. Dr. Hester also serves as the institutional liaison to Welch College’s accrediting bodies the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and the Association for Biblical Higher Education Commission on Accreditation.

Dr. Hester is the Chair for the Commission on Accreditation for the Association for Biblical Higher Education and regularly serves as a peer evaluator for both accrediting bodies. He is a 2019 Presnell Fellow of the Executive Leadership Institute of the Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association and serves as an editor for the Biblical Higher Education Journal.

Dr. Hester has served as Professor of Theology since 2003 and Dean of the School of Theology since 2016. A graduate of Covenant Theological Seminary (M.Div., 1997) and Saint Louis University (Ph.D., 2002), Dr. Hester regularly teaches classes on Christian philosophy, church history, and theology. Notable published works include: Free Will Baptists and the Priesthood of Believers (Nashville: Randall House Publications, 2010); and, Eschatology and Pain in St. Gregory the Great: The Christological Synthesis of Gregory’s Morals on the Book of Job. (London: Paternoster, 2007).

An Alabama native, he now resides in Gallatin, Tennessee with his wife Leslie (Hampton) Hester and his four sons (Spencer, Seth, Justin, and Jackson).

Dr. Greg Ketteman – Vice President for Strategic Initiatives, Graduate Dean of Education

Ketteman, Greg (3)Dr. Greg Ketteman is the Provost at Welch College and serves as the college’s chief academic officer. A 1977 Welch graduate, Dr. Ketteman earned the M.Ed. degree at Middle Tennessee State University in 1981 and the Ed.D. degree at Tennessee State University in 2005.

He is a Nashville native whose experience in the field of education includes 15 years of teaching and 14 years as a principal in the Metropolitan Nashville Public School system.

His wife Jill and their two children, Jack and Emilee, are also graduates of Welch College. Dr. Ketteman is a member of Cross Timbers Free Will Baptist Church (Nashville) where he has served as a deacon, music director, and Sunday school teacher. His father, the late Paul J. Ketteman, was the first student to arrive at the college in 1942, and later worked 25 years for the college.

Craig Mahler – Vice President for Financial Affairs

Mahler, Craig (8)Craig Mahler, an ordained Free Will Baptist minister, was named vice president for financial affairs at Welch College in January 2012. He previously served six years as the college’s comptroller (2006-2012).

He graduated with honors from Tennessee Technological University, receiving a B.S. degree in business administration in 2004. He spent several years in TTU’s Internal Audit Division and was involved in specialized management training at DeKalb Community Bank in Smithville, Tennessee.

Craig and his wife Sabrina attend Carthage Free Will Baptist Church (Tennessee) where Craig serves as youth minister and teaches a Sunday School class. He is a gifted soloist as well as a teacher and businessman.

Dr. Matthew McAffee – Provost

Matthew McAffee serves as Provost at Welch College and teaches in the area of Biblical Studies for the School of Theology. His M.A. and Ph.D. are from the University of Chicago in Northwest Semitic Philology. He is also a graduate of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Welch College (B.A.). He has published articles and book reviews in such journals as Journal of the American Oriental Society, Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Journal of Biblical Literature, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, and Bulletin for Biblical Research. He is author of Life and Mortality in Ugaritic: A Lexical and Literary Study (Eisenbrauns, forthcoming) and co-author of Going Deeper with Old Testament Hebrew (B&H Academic, forthcoming). He has ministered in Free Will Baptist churches in Virginia, Tennessee, Illinois, and Canada. He is married to Anna, with whom he has four children (Abigail, Lydia, Samuel, and Marianne).

David Williford – Vice President for Institutional Advancement

Williford, David (1)David Williford has served as Welch College’s vice president for institutional advancement since 2002. The Alabama native is a 1979 graduate of Welch, where he also received a master’s degree in pastoral studies in 1984. He pursued further graduate studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Prior to joining the Welch College staff, he pastored 27 years in Alabama, Florida, Tennessee, and Arkansas. Williford was ordained to preach in 1974. He has been active in local, state, and national ministries. He served 12 years on the Free Will Baptist International Mission Board (1996-2008), as well as on state mission boards in Arkansas and Florida. He served as executive secretary of the Florida State Association of Free Will Baptists from 2000 to 2002.

He married his wife Donna in 1973. They have two children: Michael and Stephanie. David travels extensively on behalf of the college, logging many thousands of miles each year, frequently meeting with pastors, state leaders, alumni, and donors.

Board of Trustees

Wheelersburg, OH

DR. WILL BEAUCHAMP (Vice Chairman)
Pastor, First Free Will Baptist Church of Tampa
Seffner, FL

Pastor, Serenity Free Will Baptist Church
Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada

Pastor, First Free Will Baptist Church
Walnut Ridge, AR

Pastor, Bethlehem Free Will Baptist Church
Ashland City, TN

Pastor, New Life Fellowship Free Will Baptist Church
Statesboro, GA

Pastor, Ina Free Will Baptist Church
Ina, IL

Pastor, Horse Branch Free Will Baptist Church
Turbeville, SC

Pastor, Bethel Free Will Baptist Church
Kinston, NC