NASHVILLE, TN—This fall will bring a change to the ministry program at Welch College, according to Dr. Greg Ketteman, provost. After 23 years on the faculty, Terry Forrest will retire as program coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, being replaced by Dr. Barry Raper. Raper will shift from his Youth and Family role at the college while still teaching some courses in that area.
Prior to his service as program coordinator for Pastoral Ministry, Forrest served eight years as Dean of Students and, prior to that time, as a successful Free Will Baptist pastor and church planter. For the past several years, Forrest has served as associate pastor to Dr. Raper, who, in addition to his duties at the college, serves as pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church, a large, growing congregation in the greater Nashville area.
President Matt Pinson said, “I can’t say enough good about the ministry of Terry Forrest at this college. He has been a rock-solid leader and mentor to scores of young pastors going out from Welch College. He will be greatly missed on this campus, but we’re hoping he will still teach some courses for us on a part-time basis.”
Prior to coming to teach at Welch College in 2006, Dr. Raper served as associate pastor and then pastor of Red Bay Free Will Baptist Church in Red Bay, Alabama. He is a graduate of Welch College and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, and recently received his Doctor of Ministry degree from Southern Seminary. He continues to serve as senior pastor of Bethel Free Will Baptist Church.
Dr. Ketteman said, “Dr. Barry Raper is a man of great integrity and deep, passionate commitment to living out God’s Word. He is uniquely gifted as a teacher who thoughtfully prepares then skillfully teaches each class and preaches each sermon for maximum impact. He is a powerful and challenging example for every pastor and youth minister both in the classroom, and in his broader Christian ministry.”
President Pinson added, “Dr. Raper is a godly man with a remarkable commitment to personal holiness who has a reputation among Welch students for modeling the spiritual disciplines. Yet he combines with these personal qualities a vibrant, gospel-centered pastoral ministry at Bethel. We are so excited to have him step into this role. He’s tailor-made for it.”
Under the leadership of Mr. Forrest and Dr. Raper, ministry education at Welch College has become more academically integrated, with all students in the Pastoral program and the newly formed Youth and Family Ministry program taking the same “Christian Ministry” core, consisting of pastoral ministry, preaching, pastoral counseling, biblical languages, and other courses. In addition, students study a concentration of either Pastoral Ministry or Youth and Family Ministry.