Mission: The Tennessee Christian Education Board provides fellowship, resources, and training for Free Will Baptist students and leaders.
The Tennessee Christian Education Board operates under the guidance and oversight of the Tennessee State Association of Free Will Baptists. Founded in 1938, the State Association merged the churches of the long-standing Union (eastern Tennessee) and Cumberland (central Tennessee) Associations to form a single body of churches.
The work of the Tennessee Christian Education Board however, existed long before this state organization was formed, making it one of the oldest continuing organizations established by Free Will Baptists. In a resolution from the 1911 minutes of the Cumberland Association, the Board of Education urged delegates:
“We feel it our duty as an association of the Freewill Baptist to rank with other denominations in the advancement of Education, therefore we deem it advisable for this body to take some action in the great work.”
These early activities of the Board of Education, which date back to the 1880s in the Cumberland Association, were more concerned with general education, in order that church members of the association “study the Scriptures with effectiveness and knowledge.”
In the modern era, the Board turned its attention to Christian and theological education, promoting and supporting the foundation of Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College), a denominational college organized for the purpose of training men and women to serve Christ, His Church, and His world, through Biblical thought and life.
Today, the seven-member board exists to provide fellowship, training, and resources to Free Will Baptist churches in Tennessee. In an effort to fulfill this mission, the board sponsors an annual conference for junior high and high school students; organizes, promotes, and staffs the annual Bible and fine arts competition held in conjunction with the National Youth Conference; and supports training events across the state.