Tag : pastor

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Pastor of the Week: Tim McClellan

By: Dezaray Barr

Tim McClellan is the Senior Pastor at Lakeview Wesleyan Church in Marion, IN. Pastor Tim was honored as pastor of the week when the series first began, but no article was published about him. He graduated from Milligan College in 1973 with a degree in religion. He also attended Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis.

Although McClellan never attended Indiana Wesleyan University, Dr. Wilbur Williams is one of his favorite people. “I brought him to our church at Cedar Valley Community Church in Waterloo, IA many years ago to do some presentations for our congregation. In the years following, we went to the Holy Land a couple of times under his leadership.  From that church, we also connected IWU with one of our members who later became the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at IWU for a number of years and who significantly impacted the World Changers program.”

McClellan’s father was a pastor as well. “I was always proud of his calling and thankful to be his son. He became a role model for me early on, and I wanted to be like him and do what he did just because I respected him so much,” McClellan shared. “As I entered my high school years and began thinking about my future as most young people do during those years, I thought much about how I would serve God.  As I prayed and meditated, I was never ever able to find peace in my heart doing anything else than building up the local church as a pastor. I had peace about that decision back then and still do today after beginning to serve local churches since 1970.”

As the pastor of Lakeview, McClellan has spent a lot of time rebuilding the church financially, in their credibility and in the vision. “Thanks be to God we are well underway, but it has been a journey of patience and persistence. God is good and the people courageous,” McClellan said.

The church also hosts Lakeview Christian School, which is Kindergarten through 12th grade. It hosts a Pre-School Childcare ministry which ministers birth through Pre-School and Lakeview Counseling Center which ministers to nearly 1,000 clients each month.  “These ministries, along with the church, proper provide tremendous spiritual influence to hundreds and thousands of people in Grant County throughout the year,” McClellan said.

McClellan claims Psalm 126:5-6 as his favorite passage. “It calls me over and over again to work at sharing my faith and encouraging others to do the same,” he said.

McClellan encourages IWU students to, “Pay little attention to the ‘highs’ and ‘lows’ in your service to Christ. It’s the long view in loving and serving Jesus that you need to keep in view. Never give in to the enemy of your faith and always love and support the local church.”

McClellan is especially grateful for his wife and partner in ministry, Cynthia, who has been with him since 1970. They have four children. Their son, Peter, graduated from IWU and earned his M. Div. at Southern Baptist Seminary. He now lives in Louisville with his wife Karrie and daughter Charlotte. McClellan’s oldest daughter Christians, lives in Champlin, MN with her husband and three children where she serves as a nurse. Their youngest daughter, Liz, graduated from IWU earned her M. Div. at Asbury Seminary. She and her husband Michael, along with their daughter, are serving the Lord in Newberg, OR. Their oldest son, David, went to be with the Lord at age 14 in 2001 after fighting bone cancer for a little over a year.



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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Pastor of the Week: Eric Roemer

By: Dezaray Barr

Roemer at work

Eric Roemer is the Lead Pastor of Greentown Wesleyan Church in Greentown, IN. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2006 with a degree in youth ministry, and he obtained his M. Div. from Wesley Seminary in 2013.

During his time at IWU, Roemer served in the local church and learned alongside his professors. “The things I learned in the classroom I used immediately. That process allowed me to learn how to self-educate faster and helped me create a network of resourcing,” Roemer said.

As an undergrad, Bud Bence was one of Roemer’s favorite professors. “Chris Bounds, Steve Lennox and David Smith were also very important in my early education and ministry preparation,” Roemer said. “Although I was never enrolled in any of Ivan Pongracic’s classes, I loved to sit in and listen to his lectures every chance I got. At the seminary, Lenny Luchetti, Collen Derr and John Drury had a huge impact on my formation and ministry.”

Roemer and his church are passionate about caring for the community they live in physically, spiritually and emotionally. They believe that as the church, that is their responsibility.

“Greentown Wesleyan is doing everything it can to give the people in our community the best opportunity to meet, follow and serve Jesus Christ. We believe that it’s God’s plan that all people would be His people and He would be their God,” Roemer said. “Everything is about relationships. We have amazing compassionate outreach ministries: a food pantry that serves dozens of families a month in our zip code and a clothing ministry that provides quality clothing for our community. Annually, we help make Christmas a reality for 30-50 families on our community. Monthly, we load a trailer and do a pop-up dinner somewhere in town to show people that they are important and to build stronger relationships with our neighbors.”

Roemer and his family

2 Timothy 2:2 has been Roemer’s life verse. “This verse has guided me, because we are just one step in a much bigger story. Its important that we take our role seriously, because the generations that follow are counting on us,” he said.

If Roemer could tell all IWU students one thing, he’d say, “Its not about you. Its not about what you have to offer. Its about what you actually do.”



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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Pastor of the Week: Tom Curry

By: Dezaray Barr

Tom Curry

Tom Curry is the Pastor of Living Faith Lutheran Church in Wabash, IN. He is also employed by a mission mobilization organization serving mainly evangelical Lutheran churches, Awakening Lives to World Missions, where he is the Mid-West Regional Representative.

Curry graduated from Taylor University with an undergraduate degree. He attended Huntington University for his graduate studies and received his M.A. in International Development from William Carey International University.

“I was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Divinity from India Bible Institute in New Delhi, India, on March 1, 1995, for my work among India’s poor children,” Curry said. “I am the Founder of an Indian Trust – Center for Orphan Development and Education and assisted in the founding of its sister American organization, Friends of Hope, which presently supports children of five different residential homes in India.”

Curry and his wife, Rhonda, lost their first child in 1978. “I began to see the reality of hope that is relevant to life,” Curr said. “As painful as it was, God used that event to move me in the direction of people and coming along side of people without hope. This proved to be instrumental in my calling as a pastor. ”

Curry and his wife

Curry and his wife just celebrated 43 years of marriage. They have three children – Joni Annette (deceased), Jim and Jenny, as well as six grandchildren. They were licensed foster parents for 15 years and have adopted two children.

Curry said that in his time in pastoral ministry and as a missionary in India, spiritual warfare has been the biggest challenge. “It was only in recent years that I have come to realize the far-reaching effects of evil and present-day demonic activity. I believe the church is the primary target of our enemy the devil. Demonic activity is behind every church conflict. This is more blatant in developing nations,” he said.

Living Faith Lutheran Church is a new church start in Wabash. The church has two main themes – word and sacrament. “Communion is a big part of every service with an emphasis upon the real presence (not literal) of Christ in and through the communion elements,” Curry shared. “Corporate confession of sin along with pastoral absolution is part of our Eucharist.We value and are not ashamed of our connection with historical Christianity and see the ancient creeds as an important part of that connection.”

If Curry could encourage IWU students of one thing, he would tell them, “As you deepen your knowledge of God through His written Word, may you also deepen your knowledge and appreciation of how the Holy Spirit has worked throughout history. Appreciate the saints gone before you and seek to stand on their shoulders working with them, not doing your ‘own’ thing in isolation.”



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.

Pastor of the Week: Bill Richardson

By: Dezaray Barr

Bill Richardson is the senior Pastor of Brenneman Memorial Missionary Church in Goshen, Indiana. He graduated from Asbury University in 1974 with a Bible Major, and he received his M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary in 1977.

“Being at the Asbury institutions were incredibly formative to my life and to the future of my ministry,” Richardson said. “I enrolled just after the Asbury Revival broke out in Hughes Auditorium (Feb. 3, 1970) that spread all over the world. Many of the professors at both schools highly impacted my life, not just in the classroom, but in seeing them model the life of Christ in their own lives.”

Richardson first felt called to preach when he was 16 years-old at Epworth Camp in South Carolina. “I think anyone who knew me then would have never pictured me preaching, as I was pretty shy. I’m still an introvert. My wife likes to tell the story of the first time she heard me preach in her home church in Cincinnati before we were married. She said she sat there and wondered as I got up to preach, ‘What if he isn’t any good?’ After the sermon, she was able to affirm God’s calling on my life,” Richardson shared.

Brenneman Memorial Missionary Church has been a part of the Goshen community since 1878. It was named after one of the founders of the Missionary Church—Daniel Brenneman. “We currently run an average of 500 in attendance. We are currently ‘raising the bar’ when it comes to discipleship. As our culture continues to decline, God is calling us to become influencers in our culture by becoming fully devoted followers of Christ,” Richardson shared.

If Richardson could share with IWU, he’d say, “Be sure of your calling. There will be many times in ministry when it will seem easy to just walk away. After 41 years, I’m glad I never took the easy way, and it was the conviction of God’s call on my life that held me steady in the rough times.”



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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Global Partners: Amber Livermore

By: Dezaray Barr

Livermore preaching at a youth camp in New Zealand

Amber Livermore graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a degree in Youth Ministries/Biblical Literature in 2007.

Livermore served as a long-term Global Partners missionary in New Zealand for four years. She returned to the states in February of 2016 to become the lead pastor of Grace Fellowship (Wesleyan) Church in Princeton, IN, and to continue serving with Global Partners part-time as a Youth Mobilizer. “It’s my privilege to not only to shepherd a local flock which has a huge heart for global missions, but I also get to promote the call to global mission and the incredible ministries of Global Partners among junior high and high school students as well as their leaders,” Livermore shared.

“My time at IWU as a student was one of the most formative, challenging and enjoyable seasons of my life,” Livermore said. “God used the faculty at IWU to help me become rooted and established in Christian faith, discern God’s general direction for my life and prepare me for a lifetime of vocational ministry. He brought godly mentors across my path who continue to speak powerfully over me to this day. Finally, He placed me in a tight circle of trusted Christian friends who significantly shaped my character and story; we continue to intentionally walk with Christ together, even across geographic distance.”

Livermore remembers the first time she yelled at God during her freshman year at IWU in the Williams Prayer Chapel. “I was desperate for His direction and frustrated by what seemed to be His silence. After I finished yelling in His general direction, I heard a quiet stirring urging me to walk out of the chapel. As I did, I was prompted again to walk toward the statue which stands in front of the Noggle Christian Ministries Center. I had never paid much attention to the statue, and as I drew closer, I recognized that it depicted Jesus standing between two students who were reading with His hands resting their heads. I read the plaque, ‘For you I am praying.’ I was overwhelmed with the reality that while I lashed out at what I perceived to be the negligent silence of Jesus, this glimpse into reality showed His loving intercession for me. The tears flowed that night in front of a statue which has become a memorial in my walk with Christ. Any time I can’t sense or hear His direction, I’m reminded He has not forgotten me.”

Livermore baptizing individuals this summer

Livermore choose to attend IWU after attending a youth conference at Indiana Wesleyan while she was a high school student. “We had barely parked the van as we arrived on campus for the first time when I called my parents and told them God had called me to attend IWU. Actually, my exact words when my mom answered the phone were, ‘We are here; it’s snowing; and this is where I’m going to college.'”

Livermore encourages IWU student, “Don’t settle for anything less than a group of friends at IWU who will challenge and encourage you in your walk with Christ. You will never be in a life circumstance when it will be easier to find that kind of community, and it will be a community that continues to shape you long after graduation.”

Livermore will be speaking at IWU Chapel in Marion on Friday, November 17 for Global Awareness Week.



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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Pastor of the Week: Phil Count

By: Dezaray Barr

Phil Count and his wife, Amy

Phil Count is the Senior Pastor at Croswell Wesleyan Church in Croswell, Michigan. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1992 with a degree in Christian Ministries.

While at IWU, Count was in the University Chorale. “University Chorale and Prof. Todd Guy taught me the pride of excellence in what you do,” he shared. “The memories of chorale are some of the best of my life.” He was also in His Instrument. “Being in His Instrument allowed me to travel all over the country and experience all kinds of churches and worship experiences,” Count shared. “I grew up in a very small Wesleyan Church, so these experiences were invaluable in broadening my understanding of what ministry looks like. It helped me so much when I launched out in ministry on my own.”

Count said that despite being told by others not to pursue ministry because it’s too hard, he’s never second guessed his call to be a pastor. “I can’t imagine doing anything else, and I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else,” Count said.

Count’s 3 children

Count and his wife, Amy, have three children. One is currently a student at IWU and another is hoping to join her at IWU next year. “Our youngest, Owen, is autistic,” Count shared. “He is 15 now, and he is tons of fun. He has a great sense of humor! He was diagnosed at 3 years old, although we knew earlier that there was something wrong. He didn’t say his first words until he was 5, and he wasn’t potty trained until he was 7. We were devastated at first, but he has been such a blessing to our family. He is fun, intelligent and God has used him to make our two daughters more compassionate to people with special needs. Our oldest daughter, Bailey, is a junior at IWU studying special needs education because of him.”

Croswell Wesleyan Church is a rural congregation of 350. “Our people are very generous and very outreach-minded. God recently gave us a vision for the next five years to reach the mostly unreached demographic of 20-40 year-old individuals with families in our area. We will be updating our facilities and starting new ministries to minister to them, and we believe this new focus will cause us to grow bigger and be more effective than we have ever been! We are already sensing momentum, and we are excited to get moving,” Count shared.

If Count could share one piece of advice with IWU students, he would tell them, “Work as hard as you can, but remember that the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers you to make an eternal difference in people’s lives. Seek Him first! Talent only goes so far.”



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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Pastor of the Week: Blake Fewell

By: Dezaray Barr

Lieutenant Blake Fewell

Lieutenant Blake Fewell is the Corps Officer (Pastor and Administrator) of The Salvation Army in Marion, IN.

Lt. Fewell graduated from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago in 2014 with a degree in Systematic Theology. He then went for a two-year pastoral training program at The Salvation Army’s College for Officer Training in Chicago and graduated from that program in 2016. He is currently pursuing a Master’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University.

“I knew for a long time that I wanted to pastor within The Salvation Army and had set my sights on the academic path needed to get to that point,” he said. “When I was studying at Moody Bible Institute, I fell in love with academic learning, especially in the field of theology.  I never would have guessed ten years ago that I would be this interested in theology, but it’s something I quite enjoy.  I have found that my academic training has had a significant impact on my ministry.  Though I no longer have the time to spend hours each day pouring over theological books and articles, I do enjoy taking what I have learned and applying it in ‘boots on the ground’ ministry.”

Lt. Fewell said that as a Pastor at the Salvation Army, he has the privilege of having a much larger congregation than just those who come through his doors on a Sunday. He shared, “My congregation includes the individuals and families that we serve each and every day.  At The Salvation Army, we believe the church was meant for much more than a worship service and small group on Sunday. We believe the church is meant to be in the community sharing the gospel, feeding the hungry, fighting against injustice and showing the hope that comes through Christ.  When I see a family’s life changed, that’s when I know that I chose the right path to be a pastor.”

Lt. Fewell has the opportunity to serve in a role quite different from the average pastor. “The Salvation Army is most well-known for our day-to-day assistance or our Red Kettles, but we are so much more than that,” he said. “We are a church and congregation that believes in fighting a war against sin, evil and injustice. That’s why we call ourselves an Army. We may be a bit peculiar because some of us wear uniforms, and we use military lingo, but our mission is to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ and meet human needs in his name. I do many of the same things a pastor does every week, but I am also leading a social services organization that is helping thousands of people every year.  I work to raise funds for our programs, services and operations.  I am working to find new ways for us to reach the people in our community and serve individuals and families in need.  This and about a thousand other things make up my job. It’s a big task, but God equips me and others around me to make it possible.”

If Lt. Fewell could share one thing with IWU Students, it would be to find their mission. “In what way are you going to take this faith and put it to use?” he said. “Don’t let your faith simply become a worship service here and a small group there.  Whether we’re part of The Salvation Army or not, we all are part of a war against sin and injustice.  Find the battle that you’re going to fight, and stick to it.  Don’t rest until it’s won!”

Rick Carder, IWU’s Director of Alumni and Church Engagement said, “During IWU’s New Student Orientation, Pastor Blake met with new incoming students, and I was impressed by his genuine love for people, compassion for others and his personal connection that he made with our students.”

Right now, individuals and groups can support The Salvation Army by volunteering to ring the bell for The Salvation Army at one of the Red Kettle locations. To register, visit RegisterToRing.com or call 765-664-6536. Additionally, there are opportunities to volunteer throughout the year, especially in the Thursday evening youth programs. For more information about volunteering, contact is available through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@SalArmyMarion), visit SAMarion.org or call 765-664-6536.


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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Pastor of the Week: Ryan Budde

By: Dezaray Barr

Ryan Budde and his wife, obtained from church staff page

Rev. Ryan Budde is the Senior Pastor of Westview Wesleyan Church. He graduated Indiana Wesleyan University in 1991 with a degree in Christian Ministries and a minor in Music.

“It was while I was attending IWU that God called me into the ministry,” Budde said. “It was also at Indiana Wesleyan that I met my beautiful wife, Rachel.  These were two of the biggest life-impacting decisions I have made, after following Jesus, so my experience at IWU was most definitely pivotal to my life.”

Budde was involved in University Chorale and the traveling group, His Instrument, and these were defining experiences in shaping his future.  “Dr. Todd Guy, Terry Munday, Chuck McCallum and so many other staff and leaders were influential in my life.  I can see God’s hand at work in each challenge and victory along the way,” he said.

“I knew I had chosen the right path in changing my major and becoming a pastor in my spirit, first,” Budde explained. “The peace that I had after making that change, and the passion to know The Bible and truly grasp what was written there affirmed inside of me that I made the right choice. God has confirmed that for me over and over again in many experiences of life-transformation in others and seeing the church grow and prosper.”

Budde said that difficulties show up as a pastor when his humanity shows. “Impatience, misunderstandings, poor planning and other human error on my part have almost always been the reason for the seasons of frustration,” he said. “I tend to want the people to experience the joy of leading someone else into the Kingdom that I overlook the struggles they are facing, themselves.”

Budde’s church is currently in a campaign called On the Move, focusing on the call on all believers to minister in the place God has positioned them. “We are studying Nehemiah, cup-bearer to the King,” he said about the movement. “It has been a great challenge for us all, and people are considering and even seeking what God might have prepared them to do at such a time as this. It is exciting to be at Westview!”

Westview is also involved in IWU church matching scholarships. “The church matching scholarship has been promoted heavily by Mr. Tom Sloan,” Budde said, “who has a great team of people committed to helping college students benefit as I did from a Christian Education at IWU.  I have two kids in school right now who are blessed by this ministry.  We have helped more than 75 students over thirty years to complete their education and graduate from IWU. Knowing the difference IWU made in the trajectory of my own life, it is clear to me that assisting students in this manner is a potential eternity-changer, and a ministry well-worth the effort and sacrifice!”

Budde would encourage IWU student to start being intentional about the ministry God has for you, now. “If you don’t start while surrounded by support like IWU provides you, there will never be a circumstance where you feel more willing and ready. Choose to seek Him now,” he said.

Take a look at the 30-year Church Matching celebration event and the University Chorale concert that Budde hosted at his church at Westview on October 15. Link: https://youtu.be/x4EGEIu_TeM



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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Pastor of the Week: Dwight Robertson

By: Kendra Housel

dwight headshotThis year Indiana Wesleyan University’s biannual Summit event (where students gather for three days, morning and evening, for chapel) was lead by anointed speaker and Indiana Wesleyan University alumni Dwight Robertson. Robertson was an IWU student from 1975-1979 and graduated with a degree in ministry. He later received an honorary doctorate from Bethel College.

Robertson grew up knowing all about IWU (Marion College at the time). His mother and father are alumni and fell in love on campus. After college graduation, his parents were pastorally assigned to a small and remote church in Blue Eye, Pennsylvania. Dwight recalls that it was some of their college friends who encouraged, sent notes, money, necessities they were lacking on a minuscule income, always lifting them up in prayer. This was validation to Dwight growing up that long-term friendships and community could be found at his parent’s alma mater.

As a small boy he attended an alumni event with his parents and was indelibly struck by the lively music his father’s alumni trumpet trio played and how fun and sincere in their faith his parents college friends were. That weekend the IWU (Marion College) “family” community made a lasting impression.

Then during the Homecoming alumni event, Howard Noggle (Dwight’s folks referred to as “Mr. Marion College”) saw ten-year old Robertson seated on the front row. Walking down from the stage before the event started, Mr. Noggle approached and surprised young 10-year-old Robertson, giving him a shiny silver dollar, telling him it was an investment in Robertson’s college fund, and that he hoped he would use it to attend Marion College one day. Recalling the memory, Robertson said that Noggle noticed him and “sowed a seed in a young heart” that day.

As is often the case when a child’s parents both attended a certain school, Dwight took time to look at other schools besides his family’s alma mater. But after plenty of comparisons and prayer, Dwight was led to Marion along with his sister and thirteen other students from their small town in Sandy Lake, Pennsylvania.

A local pastor and alumni friend of Dwight’s parents, helped locate a Marion retail job (later he would hire Dwight to lead their church student ministries program during Dwight’s college days). With financial aid and university scholarship assistance, Robertson began his time as a student at Marion College in 1975.

Dwight enjoyed new relationships and college life, but recalls a special semester when he petitioned the Dean to take a few more credit hours and enrolled in a night “Evangelism and Missions” class with Dr. Charles Carter. Robertson had already begun his personal pursuit for more of God, more of God’s will and more of God’s glory to be manifested on the earth.

dwight preachingRobertson was not expecting his future life-course to be radically changed by just a single weekly “night class,” but change it did. The true catalyst was an assigned book for reading and discussion, “The Master Plan of Evangelism” by Dr. Robert E. Coleman. In class one night, Robertson confessed this required reading book had rearranged his understanding of and vision for authentic and lasting ministry, that this course and book would no doubt be used by God to set the course for his personal life mission. He now clearly understood that ordinary people are not God’s backup plan for reaching the world. Rather, we are God’s Plan A, and the plan is carried out and multiplied – one life at a time!

Robertson then began pursuing classes with Dr. Glen Martin, notorious for his fiery passion and deep conviction. He sensed such a unique “heart on fire” and “life in purpose” in this laser-focused and caring professor, who was passionate about God, people and a Biblical world-view. Martin’s classes clarified a discipleship worldview which embodies Kingdom values incarnated in people’s lives as everyday Kingdom laborers in every facet and sphere of society. Dwight became convictional about God’s desire for “ministers in every arena of life.”

In the midst of all this growth, Robertson wrestled as a college student who was undeclared in his major, seeking but not finding a specific “call” he’d heard so many others testify to having. He “wanted whatever God wanted,” but couldn’t find ease or clarity in selecting a major. He took classes in all sorts of disciplines, but eventually a job, not a class, led him to declare his major.

He loved helping people grow I their understanding of God’s love, their high value, and God’s unique plans and purposes for their life to be a part of God’s redemptive plan on the earth. Based on the confirmation and fruit God was bearing through His life as a full-time minister while also being a full-time student, he applied for upper Division status as a ministry major. He wrote his entry paper based on a “pastoral call” he had not received, but which he was okay with as perhaps God’s future plans would involve something a bit different. Robertson recounts a freedom that came with acceptance as a ministerial student without having an explicit ministry call. It provided “freedom to live outside the box for the rest of life.” He now looks back on that time of frustration with thankfulness, knowing it was his inability to feel one specific calling that gave him the ability after ten years in traditional local church ministry to found a unique para-church organization – FORGE – Kingdom Building Ministries, which he’s led as CEO for thirty-one years.

Robertson fondly spoke of an early season in the history of FORGE – Kingdom Building Ministries when he was speaking in New York at Houghton College and shared lunch with Dr. Jim Barnes. Dr. Barnes asked Robertson if he would be willing to have a conversation in the future if Barnes were to end up back at Marion College. He stated his conviction that the student body ion the Marion campus would benefit from what Robertson and his young team had to provide. Robertson, unaware that Barnes was about to become the next President, who would eventually negotiate the school’s namesake from Marion College to Indiana Wesleyan University, agreed to meet with him if such a hypothetical situation came to be. Within the first two weeks of Barnes’ presidency, Robertson received the phone call.

Barnes offered Robertson the opportunity to move out of his small Forge headquarters (a renovated garage on the backside of an ally in Marion) and set up offices in a building on campus for the next three years. In exchange for the space, Barnes asked that Robertson and his speaking team be available to speak for chapels, run youth events on campus and train his current “youth conference” staff. For the next three years Robertson and Forge ministry partnered with Indiana Wesleyan staff and students on campus and enrollment grew.

After three great years of on-campus ministry presence, the building Forge was being provided needed to be torn down. Robertson was faced with a new decision: where to permanently locate their headquarters. He and his team felt strongly that they should be centrally located nationally, located in a Central time zone to maximize service coast to coast, and supported by a hub city with a large national and international airport. In 1991, Kingdom Building Ministries moved from Marion, Indiana, to their current location in Denver, Colorado.

One term Forge ministry really loves to emphasize is the word “laborer.” Though it can be a difficult word to swallow, it is essential to understand in a personal walk with Christ that you are a “Kingdom Laborer.” Robertson said that “if you don’t understand that you are a laborer, you won’t be willing to get into the mud puddles of human need where ministry happens. Laborers get things done.” Synonymous with the often used IWU term “World Changer,” Kingdom Laborers do whatever it takes to complete the mission.


IWU Chapel during Robertson's sermon at Summit

IWU Chapel during Robertson’s sermon at Summit

Robertson spent Summit week encouraging the IWU community to love God just a little more, every single day. He called students to prayer as a tangible way to love others, and to stop, see someone and spend time with them– to love the way Jesus does. His time speaking at IWU was highly impactful. To learn more about Dwight Robertson, his ministry with Forge: Kingdom Building Ministries, or to contact him about speaking for an event, please visit here.



Written by Kendra Housel, a writer for the Alumni Center. Kendra is a sophomore Education and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. She is also a member of the University Chorale. She is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing, and caring for others.

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Pastor of the Week: Rick Weesner

By: Emily Neideck

Rick Weesner is the pastor at Garrison Hills Wesleyan in Battle Creek, Michigan, a small church with a close-knit group of attendees. On top of his work as a pastor, Weesner runs an adoption ministry and is actively involved in the Wesleyan Church Campus Challenge scholarship program.

Weesner felt his call to ministry is 1984 and began attending a program through the Wesleyan Headquarters’ Education Department that would allow him to take ministerial courses at surrounding colleges and eventually become ordained. The program was appealing to students with families and full-time careers because it allowed flexibility. Weesner was ordained in 1989, and he spent time pastoring other Michigan churches before settling in Battle Creek.

Weesner’s church, Garrison Hills Wesleyan, has a unique focus on children and youth ministries. Weesner said about his biggest struggle, “Ministry has changed over the years. I’ve always felt the call to a smaller church and that is difficult in today’s world when the focus is on everything big.”

Weesner and his family have a passion for the country of Colombia. The family has two adopted daughters from Colombia, and they have two biological daughters. Their second daughter has adopted two daughters from Colombia as well. After going through the adoption process multiple times, the family realized that the process was financially taxing, and they wanted to do something to help. Weesner and his family created an organization called Project Hope Ministries. The organization provides affordable housing for families that need to stay in a country for adoption purposes. Weesner said, “Our ministry also is working with the communities to help with education.”

Weesner is also involved in Wesleyan Church Campus Challenge and has been for 25 years. He stated, “My kids were also involved. They wanted to go to Indiana Wesleyan, so we looked for ways to raise money for that. Because the challenge was helpful in enabling my daughters to go to IWU, I’ve always wanted to help other kids as well, and the challenge provided that opportunity. I’ve always found enjoyment in hearing the success stories.” Indiana Wesleyan University is the most successful of competitions. Currently, Weesner is the director of the IWU competition.

The Wesleyan Church Campus Challenge will take place on IWU’s campus on July 29th. To learn more about the competition, click here.


Written by Emily Neideck, 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 and writes often on her personal blog at www.emilylehner.wordpress.com.