Tag : indianapolis

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Pastor of the Week: Jorge Escalante

By: Dezaray Barr

Jorge Escalante

Jorge Escalante is the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He graduated from high school in 1996 and went to community college for one semester. Trinity Church is located on the North East side of Indianapolis, and Escalante said that they serve a diverse community; “We are working to become a multicultural, multilingual church. What makes this congregation unique is the atmosphere the multicultural movement creates; it feels a little bit (I think) like being in heaven.”

Over the years, Escalante has met and mentored many young people, and he said that it is his great job to hear about the impact his church has on them. He shared a specific story; “Not too long ago, one of my students (who is now 24 years old and married) visited us and confirmed our calling by letting us know that what we did ten years ago really impacted his life. To be honest, we didn’t really do much other than teach them by example. We wanted them to see what it looked like to live for Christ, the true catalyst here is the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.”

One of the biggest challenges that Escalante has had to face is going to church in an all-American environment. “I have always been used to going to the opposite, an all Hispanic congregation, so that was a big change for all of us. Now that I see it, I can see that it was a change we needed to make. Our children are second generation Hispanics, which means they know the culture and language but prefer to speak and learn primarily in English,” he said.

Escalante would encourage IWU students with this simple message: “Life has a funny way of sorting itself out – learn to enjoy and accept every stage of it.”

 

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Pastor of the Week: Josh Lavender

By: Dezaray Barr

Josh Lavender

Joshua Lavender graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a degree in Church Music. He went on to obtain his Master’s in Worship Studies from The Institute for Worship Studies. He’s currently studying for his doctorate from the same institution.

Lavender is now the Worship Pastor at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He shared, “One unique thing about our church is our commitment to ‘equip the saints for works of service.’ Our gatherings are more like a mobilization center for God’s people than an evangelistic event for unbelievers. Our hope is that by focusing on equipping God’s people in our gatherings, we will learn to live evangelism every day of the week.”

Lavender said that IWU set him on the path that he’s walking today. He explained, “I will never forget the commitment to excellence ‘Prof’ (Dr. Guy) taught us in Chorale, the passion for prayer Umfundisi (Jim Lo) modeled for the student body or the burden for right worship Dr. Cherry instilled in her students. My experiences at IWU set the trajectory for me to study worship and serve in the local church. For that I am deeply grateful.”

Lavender said that he’s reminded of his call to ministry when at least once a week someone in his church’s staff office says, “I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life…”

He also said, “Whether it is when my church is remembering our unity at the Lord’s table, celebrating with new Christians being baptized into God’s family or serving the poor downtown, I am constantly being reminded that there is nothing else I want to do with my life than serve God and His people.”

Lavender and Trinity Church’s staff

Instead of explaining something he’s overcome in his life, Lavender explained that he is currently growing in a specific area. “I consistently feel the hurried current of consumerism,” he said. “Whether it is in my everyday life or our church’s worship gatherings, I am learning to resist the urge to rush. I am increasingly convinced that I can’t microwave things that slow cook… that efficiency can hinder development.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 is one of the passages God has stamped on his heart: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Some fun facts about Lavender include that he loves tea. He has a proclivity for growing plants, and, “I talk about holiness and formation way too much,” he said. “I love reading and talking about liturgy and theology among other nerdy things.”

Lavender would encourage every IWU student to be bold! He said, “Don’t wait for people to reach out to you; initiate relationship. Show love without evaluating whether other people will reciprocate. Decide that no one will feel unloved in your presence! Not so you can have a ton of friends, though that may be the result, but so you can be like Jesus.”

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Evan Wible

By: Dezaray Barr

Evan Wible

Evan Wible graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2011 with two degrees in Marketing and Political Science. “My parents pushed me to look at Christian universities within 5 hours of Indianapolis, where we lived,” Wible said. “Ultimately the decision came down to IWU and Taylor and, after a few campus visits, I felt like I clicked with the students and faculty more at IWU and that sealed the decision.”

Wible said his time at IWU was great! “My time at college was stretching and challenging, but also one of the most fun times of my life. I met great friends, participated in just about every intramural sport offered and enjoyed the opportunity to engage in discussions about philosophy, politics and religion in a way that I have found to be significantly more difficult in the post-college world. But, as much as I enjoyed the academics, the sports and other extracurricular activities, the relationships I built at IWU have proved to be the most important and long-lasting. Two of the three jobs I’ve had since graduation have resulted directly from relationships that I built during my time at school and two IWU grads were groomsmen in my wedding,” Wible shared.

Although Wible had grown up in a Christian home, he felt as if IWU was a place for him to pursue Christ on his own and personalize his faith.

After graduation, Wible accepted a job at Angie’s List in Indianapolis as a customer care supervisor. He eventually took a management role and worked there for about three and a half years. After leaving, he joined a software start-up called Lessonly, alongside fellow IWU alumni Mitch Causey and Corey Kime.

“I stepped into a sales role at Lessonly and then watched as the company grew from 5 to 85 people during my three year tenure. Most recently, I’ve accepted a role with another small company, Amerisales, as an Operations Manager. Amerisales provides marketing and SEO services, and I manage service delivery and the day-to-day elements of the business.”

Evan and his wife, Ashley

Although Wible’s career may not be inherently spiritual, his beliefs are used to measure the decisions that he makes at work. “Faith dictates right and wrong, how I respond to any situation and how I relate to the people I come across on a daily basis,” he said.

Some fun facts about Wible include that he won the slip-and-slide and limbo contests at IWU and the watermelon seed spitting contest at the Indiana State Fair! Unlike many Hoosiers, Wible likes to brag on Indiana. “While a lot of people rag on Indiana as a comparatively boring state, it has the huge benefit of having a low cost of living and it’s that characteristic that has freed up funds and allowed me to indulge in a lot of travel since graduation. England/Scotland three times, Ireland, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and a dozen other places within the US,” he said.

Wible’s wife, Ashley, is a nurse, and they are expecting their first baby in May.

 

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.

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Pastor of the Week: Mike Colaw

By: Dezaray Barr

Mike and his wife, Leslie

Mike Colaw is the lead pastor at Trinity Church in the Indianapolis area. He graduated with a degree in Exercise Science Specialist from The Cooper Institute in 2001. He received his degree in Philosophy of Religion from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2002, and in 2014 he attended Wesley Seminary where he earned his degree in Ministerial Leadership.

Although Colaw is not currently working on a specific degree, he continues to learn. “I am constantly taking classes online for the fun of it,” he said. He is currently in a class studying social ethics.

Colaw believes that many people, including professors, think that the primary purpose of school is to teach you how to execute a complicated task like running a business, or in his case preaching a sermon or running a church. “Though this is a part of it, I believe the primary purpose of education is to teach one to assume the posture of a passionate learner for life,” Colaw said. “If this alone is achieved, I believe it will set you up for success more than anything else. I see education as not an end, but a beginning. As it pertains to learning, I see graduation not as the end of a journey but the release of an arrow from a bow. With this presupposition in mind, my favorite professors were not necessarily the ones who perfectly answered my questions or gave me specific tactics, but rather the professors who made my world bigger.”

Trinity Church

Through experience, Colaw does not believe that the purpose of life on this planet is pleasure. “My commitment to [ministry] has more to do with obedience than a feeling of it being ‘right.’ [Our purpose] is to be a conduit of God’s grace and a bringer of His Kingdom in the means and manner of Jesus Christ,” he said. “The times I have been able to enjoy ministry most are when lives are changed and Jesus is made famous. Joy is felt deeply when the faith of a dying man brings fear to its knees and the family sees the power of Christian hope. Joy is felt deeply when I get to help an abandoned single mother restart life and see the family of believers support her and her child. Joy is felt deeply when someone in our church gets a substantial raise and chooses to NOT upgrade his lifestyle, but instead give generously to the expansion of the Gospel and to help those in need. My greatest joys and affirmation of my call aren’t found in tasks that I do well, but in watching the Gospel do immeasurably good work through others.”

Trinity Church has three campuses: one in Northeast Indianapolis, one in Fishers, Indiana and another multi-ethnic location in Garfield Park. “I am not sure we are unique.  Moreover, I think that’s a good thing. We know we’re only stewards. All material things we own will one day be passed on to another. So our objective is always to multiply believers and congregations. We are not obsessed with gathering in as much as we are sending out. The mark of success for us is as much about scattering as it is gathering,” Colaw shared about Trinity.

Colaw wishes to remind IWU students that, “The truer purpose of a liberal arts education isn’t tactics alone but character formation. Or as Plato and Jesus call it, dikaiosune (Greek). Aristotle called it areté.  Homer even purposefully spent time defining the nobility of his heroes in the Iliad and Odyssey. Dallas Willard defines it like this, ‘What that is about a person that makes them right or good.’ This is the primary reason why you are in school. To become the type of person living in a constant state of becoming and living as a Judeo-Christian servant hero.”

“Lift your eyes off of yourselves and see all those in need. Absolutely, God wants to take you to hard places, because hard places are where Christ is needed,” Colaw shared.

Mike’s children

Mike and his wife, Leslie, conducted young adult ministry for a number of years. They now have four children, Noah, Nate, Emma and Cara. Mike likes to think out loud at www.luke117.com, and they would love to connect with you on social media.

Mike and Leslie even created a video to give advice to IWU students! Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/mike.colaw/posts/10156331821682345!

 

Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.