It looks like Fruitland Baptist Bible Institute will officially change its name by inserting “College” in place of “Institute” in the coming months – a move that President David Horton said will better position the school for the future.
The Board of Directors for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC) approved the name change during its meeting May 21-22 at Caraway Conference Center and Camp in Sophia. N.C. Baptists will vote on the name change during their annual meeting this November in Greensboro.
Since 1946, Fruitland – which is owned and operated by the BSC – has provided training for pastors and church leaders. Horton described the change as an “update” to what Fruitland could have done in the 1990s when it began offering an associate degree in religion with an emphasis in church ministries.
“It doesn’t really change anything we’re doing,” Horton told board members during the meeting. “It just explains and it expounds upon what we’re trying to accomplish at Fruitland.”
The name change, Horton added, will help Fruitland move forward as it seeks accreditation and develops two new degree tracks in church planting and apologetics. Fruitland also is in the middle of a campaign to raise $1 million dollars to pay off its chapel, which was built to accommodate 600 people at graduation ceremonies and conferences. In October, N.C. Baptist churches will take a special offering for the campaign and to honor Kenneth Ridings, Fruitland’s former president.
For now, Horton said, Fruitland has no plans to expand beyond being a two-year school, or abandon its roots as an institution that was formed in order to assist local pastors with limited opportunity for formal training.
“Our plates are pretty full right now,” Horton said. “… But I believe we are prepared to move further into this two-year arena and … [become] a stronger, solid school that can be accredited. And that’s going to take a long time, a lot of work, a lot of patience as we … are moving forward carefully and cautiously, hand-and-hand with the leadership of our state convention.”