By: Dezaray Barr
Kevin Stirratt is currently the Lead Pastor of Common Ground Church of the Nazarene in Decatur, Indiana. He received his MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2004.
“My MBA from Indiana Wesleyan revolutionized my ministry,” Stirratt said. “I had been trained in theology and then asked to lead the operations of a non-profit: the local church. I had faced ceiling after ceiling in my church ministry. My MBA awakened me to the organizational side of the church and gave me the ability to lead at a much higher level. My MBA has literally changed my ministry and broadened my ability to influence the kingdom. I simply would not have been able to move into the last decade of ministry without that training.”
As a student at IWU, Dave McIntrie and Kathleen Turpin were two of Stirratt’s favorite professors. “Each had a love for the Lord and an unbelievable handle on the principles they taught,” Stirratt explained. “They each stretched me outside my comfort zones.”
Over the last few years, God has given Stirratt the opportunity to launch a youth film and media ministry within the church called Gaffer Media. “God used my background that flowed from my MBA to navigate the waters of producing a student-integrated full feature film,” Stirratt said. “Students were led by industry professionals and church staff through a 2-year process aimed at teaching them how to communicate their story in Christ through the arts. We were awarded a $30,000 grant and raised an additional $60,000 to fund the project. The students’ film, Two Steps From Hope, was amazing, and was even awarded the Dove Foundation’s Family-Friendly seal and a 4 out of 5 Dove rating. Two Steps From Hope was even awarded a DVD distribution contract and will be on TV, DVD, and digital media throughout the US, Canada, and even Central America beginning this fall.”
“As we neared the end of the process, I was overwhelmed with a sense of gratefulness,” Stirratt said about the film. “I felt like God had led me down so many paths in my ministry that all came to bare on this innovative season of discipling youth. Suddenly every extra hour spent on homework and every season of difficult learning in ministry all became worth it. When you get the chance to participate in something like this and see students’ lives changed and their self-concept in Christ elevated, you know you’ve made the right choice in following Christ’s call to ministry.”
If Stirratt could say one thing to IWU students, he would encourage them to never underestimate the power of the education, spiritual development, and academic experience they are receiving at Indiana Wesleyan University.
“God is doing something in you during this season,” he said. “You can’t see the fruit He is preparing through you; however, the day will come when you look back and say, ‘Thank you, Jesus, for bringing me down this road!’ Don’t get discouraged when you run out of energy, time or money. The journey you are on is too important to quit in the middle. God will provide, and you will succeed. You’re going to make it, and God is going to do amazing things because you sacrificed today.”
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. At IWU, Dezaray runs both the JWHC Blog and her own blog. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com