Tag : kids-hope

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Pastor of the Week: Paul VanCise

By: Dezaray Barr


VanCise and his family

Rev. Paul D. VanCise is the Senior Pastor of Bryant Wesleyan Church in Bryant, IN. VanCise graduated from IWU in 1991 with a B.S. in Christian Ministries, as well as in 1996 with an M.A. in Ministerial Studies.

“When I graduated from high school, I wanted to be an architect, so I went Ball State and commuted from home,” VanCise explained. “During the summer after my freshmen year, God called me into the ministry. I registered at IWU just two weeks before my sophomore year.”

While at IWU, VanCise was in Chorale and a member of His Instrument. Both of these experiences helped shape his ministry. He also had the opportunity to go to Israel with Wilbur Williams in 1990, then went again in 2000. “The small, Christian environment and godly examples at IWU were exactly what I needed.” VanCise said.

VanCise has witnessed God’s calling for his life, even before he knew it. “Shortly after I shared with my family and home church that I was changing colleges and studying for the ministry, an older couple in the church came up to me with a gift,” He said. “They had been my junior high Sunday School teachers. They handed me a poem than they had cut out of a magazine a few years earlier that told a story of a ‘toe-headed, freckled-faced boy name Paul.’ In the poem, it described a boy similar to me: energetic and ornery, a boy that became their pastor. They had kept this poem, knowing well before I did, that I would become a pastor. There have been many other similar confirmations in the twenty-five years since.”

VanCise and his wife, Angelyn (IWU 1992), moved to Bryant 14 years ago, in 2003. At the time, their oldest daughter, who is now a sophomore at IWU, was entering Kindergarten. “As we start our 15th year, we will set the record for the longest tenure at this church,” VanCise said. “In a rural setting, not too much happens quickly, so staying and establishing credibility has been one of the best investments. This has allowed us to build trust and prove we are capable and stable.”

VanCise and his family are active in the community. Over the last two years, VanCise has driven a morning school bus route each day. Angelyn substitutes in the local elementary school two to three days a week. She also heads up the Kid’s Hope Program at the church. “As a community Pastor, I get called on to do funerals, many who don’t attend church anywhere,” VanCise explained. “In 2008, I officiated a funeral for a local young man who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Ministering to the family and grieving with the community allowed be to build credibility and endeared myself to many who needed to see a pastor in a positive light.”

VanCise’s church supports nine missionaries monthly. They also support local ministries like the homeless shelter, the Pregnancy Care center and the local food bank. Every year, they deliver care baskets at Thanksgiving to elderly in their church and community, and they collaborate with the local Lutheran Congregation to host a community Free Thanksgiving Meal.

VanCise would encourage IWU students that God is powerful enough to transform their lives. “No matter where you go, preach, proclaim and practice scriptural optimism and hope in the Gospel,” He said.



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.

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Alex Falder and Relational Evangelism (Pastor of the Week)

By: Emily Lehner

Alex Falder and his family Photo obtained from Facebook

Alex Falder and his family
Photo obtained from Facebook

Alex Falder graduated from Lakeview Christian High School, and although it was a tough decision between Indiana Wesleyan and Taylor University, Falder chose Taylor University. His call to ministry goes back farther than college. Falder’s youth pastor was Charlie Alcock.

Falder said, “My call to ministry was really felt during my senior year of high school- particularly to youth ministry. So, I studied Recreation and Leadership, with a minor in Youth Ministry.” This major focused on using the outdoors to shape one’s faith. Falder planned to pursue camp ministry after college.

During college, Falder worked for Springhill Camps doing wilderness trips. After college, his brother, who worked for Youth for Christ, hired him to begin a Campus Life in Ithaca, Michigan. In this position, Falder encouraged children in the area to join churches.

Following this job, Falder moved to Pittsburgh to work as a youth pastor. “I really grew in a love for the church and ministry in the church. After four years, I came back to get my master’s at Huntington University. This was a time when it became very clear that my talents were meant to be used inside the church.”

After completing his master’s, Falder began his internship at Wabash Friends Church, his home church. Within six months, Falder discovered that the senior pastor at the church was transitioning out. The church leadership believed that he was the one to be the replacement. Falder stated, “I don’t think I was ever planning to be a senior pastor. It just kind of happened.”

As senior pastor, Falder focuses on four main categories of the church. He believes being proactive in every person’s faith walk is of high importance. He said, “A healthy church has 25% quadrants. 25% of your people are exploring Christ, maybe that haven’t even come to know him yet. 25% of the people are coming to know Christ. They’re figuring out who He is. Then, you have 25% who are close to Christ, but they are still figuring out things in life. And then lastly, you have 25% who are all in. They’re serving and devoted to Christ. As a pastor, I am constantly thinking about how I can assist these four groups in moving forward.” Falder said he is always attempting to envision which programs and events and messages will help each group.

As far as reaching out, Falder believes a relationship is the most important and primary step in discipleship. He said, “I really have wrestled with the idea that church is the place where evangelism takes place. Really, it should be just not the staff’s job, but the church’s job to be meeting people where they are at, helping them walk down that road.” Falder spends his days thinking of ways to reach out to the Wabash community and also helping to encourage growth within the congregation members. “We are trying to make the person’s first exposure to Christ relational and not walking through the doors of the church,” he said.

Wabash Friends Church partners with community organizations to pursue this type of relationship with others. Falder said, “The way we look at missions is that we don’t just want to fund it, but we want to have people involved. So, we have people who are going and participating.”

The church focuses heavily on youth. For example, Wabash Friends has a partnership with Kids Hope. Members of the church visit local schools and mentor the elementary students. They currently have approximately 25 mentors. Falder said, “We also have a partnership with Youth for Christ. This is something that has grown in Wabash. Now, all four schools have a Youth for Christ program.” The church also partners with FCA and The Access. “We see these as opportunities to be a part of kids’ lives. We want to walk along them from an early age,” he said.

Falder said that his time spent in college allowed him to see his need for relationship. “I need to have people around me that will sharpen me,” he stated. He puts these insights into practice at Wabash Friends Church and in the surrounding Wabash community, building relationships with all he comes into contact with. 



Written by Emily Lehner, a writer for the Alumni Center and a junior Writing major at IWU. She is active on the cross country and track teams. She is passionate about using her writing skills to share the good news of Christ with others.