by Grace Oetting

The College of Bible and Ministry has a very specific goal in mind when it comes to the amount of tuition students have to pay. They want to create as many opportunities as possible for students to graduate debt-free. Dr. Tom Riley, director of Outreach, and Dr. Leonard Allen, dean of the College of Bible, are helping to create these opportunities in the near future for Lipscomb Bible majors.

Both of them recognize the dedicated and selfless life ministry majors are committing to, and also know that it isn’t always the most financially stable vocation.  “People don’t go into the ministry to get rich. They are called into the ministry, and many times they will make great sacrifices. Our commitment is that when they leave Lipscomb, they are mentally, educationally, and spiritually prepared, and should not be buried in debt,” said Dr. Riley.  “They aren’t going into a career field known for high wages, so the closer their debt is to zero, the happier we are as partners in their education and training.”

Thanks to several donors, new scholarships are on the horizon and have been named after notable Lipscomb alumni.

The Batsell Barrett Baxter award, available to all students in the Bible department (especially at the graduate level), was created on behalf of a man who not only went to Lipscomb, but also taught and preached there as well.  “Dr. Batsell Baxter was a legend here at Lipscomb,” comments Riley.  He had three major roles including minister at the Hillsboro Pike church, a speaker on a nationwide television show called The Herald of Truth, and head of the Bible department at Lipscomb for forty years.

Riley was one of Baxter’s last students and clearly remembers the impact he made.

“I just think of the thousands of people who prayed for brother Baxter’s ministry through television, church, and at Lipscomb.  We are still working on something that has stemmed from his ministry. It just feels like we are the beneficiaries of those prayers,” Riley explained. “Scott Baxter, Batsell’s son, called to say his family was selling part of their estate, and wanted to donate money to the scholarship.” That was the beginning of the initiative, which has since continued to grow thanks to donors. Riley is hoping to eventually build the effort into a $1,000,000 endowment.

Another significant scholarship initiative being developed is the Hugh and Jane Swan Endowment Scholarship.   Riley shared that the College is about to establish a new $100,000 endowment to support the Doctor of Ministry program and its students. This scholarship fund will become a reality thanks to the vision of Dr. John York, associate dean at the College of Bible and Ministry and director of the D.Min. program.  “We have a great community of practitioners joining us for advanced studies.  It’s important to support those ministers as much as we can and continue to make our doctoral program as accessible as possible,” York said.

For more information on how you can help support ministry students at the College of Bible and Ministry through these efforts, contact Tom Riley at 615.966.6239 or by email at


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