Thursday, Sept. 15, was the 70th anniversary of the BMA of Arkansas-owned Central Baptist College in Conway.
I was just thinking about how blessed Karen and I have been because of this institution of higher learning — “a School with Christian Ideals.” We were both privileged to attend the wonderful celebration last Thursday, along with some 300 former students, administrators, faculties, staffs and community friends.
A Personal Testimony
Graduating from Ashdown High School, I received a scholarship to pole vault at Southern State College (today know as Southern Arkansas University) in Magnolia. My goal was to be a coach.
But in August of that summer my pastor, Paul Bearfield and his wife, Johnie, convinced me to visit Central Baptist College’s dean, Wassell Burgess and my former pastor, A.R. Reddin, the president of CBC. My pastor and wife even drove me to Conway.
The visit was really a good one. I liked the college. Bro. Burgess even said they could build me a pole vault pit so I could practice while I was a CBC student. But there was no way I was going to enroll. After all, I was going to SSC and become a coach after graduation.
But I did enroll at Central Baptist College on Tuesday, Sept. 5, 1964. (I am still waiting on the pole vault pit!) On Sept. 27 — almost a full month later, in room 219 of Williams Hall — I surrendered to God’s call to the gospel ministry. So much for becoming a coach!
You Can Meet the Nicest People at CBC
In January of 1967, Karen Mitchell enrolled as a student at CBC. In December of that year, we began dating. One year later — Dec. 7, 1968 — after a ceremony in Antioch Baptist Church, we had our wedding reception in the beautiful foyer of CBC’s oldest dormitory, Bruce Hall. Karen, whose maiden name was Mitchell, married me and became Karen Mitchell Mitchell. I have long said the best thing I ever got from CBC was a beautiful, dedicated Christian wife!
In the years since, we have seen God’s abundant blessings on CBC. From an enrollment of under 200 when we attended, the college now has some 1,000 students from all over the world. From only having a basketball team in 1962, sports have flourished. What was once known as a “preacher’s school,” is now a college with 70% of the student body being athletes.
A Family Affair
Not only were Karen and I students, at CBC, but so were our daughter and son, our son-in-law, two of our grandchildren and also their spouses. Because of this family affair, Karen and I have been involved with CBC for 58 and 56 years respectively — and we plan to continue to be involved!
A Long Line of Leaders
In the 70-year history of Central Baptist College, God provided many great leaders — presidents, deans, faculty and staff. Through the effort of such dedicated people, who received remuneration far below what they could have earned elsewhere, God showed how He could take a dream of a few in 1952 and turn it into the great college she is today. It has been an honor for me to know every president of Central Baptist College personally. Each one made his contribution to the development of the school. Some had longer tenures than others, but none was a detriment to the advancement of education in a Christian environment.
Today, we, as the BMA of Arkansas, are blessed to have such a capable and dedicated leader of CBC as President Terry Kimbrow. I have known him for decades to be a person of character and diligence who loves our Lord. I am amazed at his relationship with the students, administration and faculty. He is well known in the community, and that relationship has benefited the school in many ways. He has generously offered the school as a meeting place for the Baptist Missionary Association of Arkansas’ annual session year after year, and that has been a blessing in so many aspects. The staff always makes each meeting a wonderful event.
Support CBC And
Give Your Prayer Share
Central Baptist College is a private institution. She depends upon the churches and individuals for support. While there are grants to help with buildings and scholarships, the school needs our generous financial support. I urge every church in our association to put the school into your budget. But please, give your prayer share of support as well. Pray for the administration, faculty and staff. And above all, pray for the wonderful young men and women who are students — without them there would be no school!
Well… once again, that’s what I was just thinking! Congratulations, Central Baptist College, and God bless you all.