Tag : pow

post image

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.

post image

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.

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.

post image

Pastor of the Week: Larry & Dale Salway

By: Kendra Housel

Larry & Dale Salway with their son, Eric. Photo obtained from Facebook

Reverend Larry Salway and Reverend Dale Salway are husband-wife co-pastors at He Sapa New Life, where Larry serves as Teaching Pastor and Dale as the congregation’s Executive Pastor. This church is the main campus for the He Sapa New Life Native Ministries network and is located in Rapid City, South Dakota.

The other church sites that are a result of the He Sapa church planting initiative are located in Pierre, South Dakota and on the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe reservations. Apart of the ministerial network is a series of native home churches across 11 states; this ministry is sustained by a DVD ministry that allows native people from over 50 zip codes to connect to each other and to the Lord.

Larry was raised in central South Dakota as a member of the Lakota tribe, and Dale likewise celebrates her Mohawk roots. She was raised in the northern part of New York. They have been committed to Native American ministry for the entirety of their lives. Though they spent many years functioning as bi-vocational, they are currently both in full-time ministry. Together they have worked to plant churches in South Dakota, Arizona and New Mexico.

Eleven years ago, the Salways returned to South Dakota to focus on Wesleyan native ministry. The Salways call He Sapa New Life a “church without walls.” Their church body consists of those who attend weekly service and those whom they interact with through weekly outreach programs. These events include Kids Club, Sports Camps, Community Carnival, School Supplies Distribution and Christmas Celebration.

Larry attended Brainerd Indian School and the University of South Dakota, where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He then went on to Arizona State University and got his masters in Social Work. He also has license to practice Clinical Social Work and Independent Addictions Counseling. Dale earned her Bachelor of Arts in Ministry from Hobe Sound Bible College and has an AA in Nursing from State University of New York in Syracuse.

Dale is currently finishing up her Masters of Arts in Ministry Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Wesley Seminary. She plans to graduate May of 2018. The Salways feel that Dale’s time at Wesley Seminary has helped to expand their perspective and “clarify [their] vision to reach multi-ethnic, marginalized and disenfranchised people groups in [their] area.”

Dr. Eby and Dr. Whitesel have been particularly influential as they have grown in their understanding of the effectiveness of Native ministry, while also learning about ways to reach other ethnic cultures who are starting to move into the area. They have said that they have “greatly enjoyed and benefited from each course and professor at Wesley Seminary.” They appreciate the evident and genuine care that each professor has for the students and ministries they are affecting; the material of each class has been applicable and broadening.

As He Sapa New Life has expanded and become a multi-ethnic church, the Salways sent their son Eric to IWU where he is a current freshman Christian Ministries major. They are excited for all he is gleaning from his time at school, but he is greatly missed in South Dakota as he is an integral member of the leadership in youth ministry, technology, DVD ministry and volunteer coordination. They said that “it has been our greatest challenge to release him to prepare academically for the ministry, and [we] anxiously wait for his return.”

The Salways claim Matthew 28:18 as their life verse: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations . . . I am with you always to the end of the age” (ESV). In this specific season of life, they have found themselves clinging to verses three and nine from the first chapter of Joshua: “Every place that the soul of your foot will tread upon I have given you, just as I have promised to Moses . . . Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ” (ESV).

The advice they had to share with current IWU students is to “study hard, pray hard, walk close to God and enjoy the IWU experience for there is no better educational and spiritual formation opportunity than IWU!”



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.

post image

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.

post image

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.

post image

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.

post image

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.

post image

Pastor of the Week: Phil Tague

By: Emily Neideck

Phill Tague is the lead pastor at The Ransom Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. He and his wife, Stephani, planted the church in 2009, and the church has flourished since.

Tague attended Wesley Seminary’s online program for his Master in Ministry. His group was one of the first cohorts to go through the online program, and although his time on campus was limited, he stated, “The program allowed me to not just feel like I received my degree, but that I actually graduated from Indiana Wesleyan.”

The Ransom Church began in a movie theater with only a few people. Tague said, “Since then, we have watched this church grow into only something that only God can get the credit for.” The church now has around 2000 people, two campuses and ministries in nursing homes, as well as a local jail.

Tague stated, “The words we most hear people saying as they enter our church are ‘authentic, relevant, real.’” The Ransom Church focuses application of The Gospel to everyday life, whether in sermon, small group or service. “We are trying to show them how Jesus is part of everyday life. It isn’t in a bulletin on a random Sunday. It is a lifestyle.”

Tague’s call to ministry came the summer before college when he was attending a youth camp. He said, “I did not want to study ministry. I went into the program kicking and screaming. I was playing all the stereotypes in my head.” He spent the majority of his freshman year studying ministry while talking himself out of his faith. All he had seen from Christianity was hypocrisy.

One day, the Holy Spirit softened Tague’s heart. He realized that his answer for hypocrisy shouldn’t be hypocrisy. Tague corrected his fault and began to pursue Christ with his whole heart and mind. “I haven’t looked back since,” said Tague.

Wesley Seminary played a large role in Tague’s journey. He said, “My time laid a foundation for me and gave me the desire to not just be the best pastor, but to also be the best leader that I could be.” Seminary blurred the lines between leadership and ministry for him. Tague stated, “If there is a season when you’re not putting out fires, then you’re not moving. As long as you are chasing what God has for you, you’re going to face difficulties, but you’ll grow, too.”

Tague will speak in Chapel at Indiana Wesleyan on October 4th.

Check out his interview: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSWQqIuvhJQ.


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.

post image

Pastor of the Week: Garrett Howell at Awaken Ministries

By: Dezaray Barr

Garrett Howell

Garrett Howell

Garrett Howell is the Founder of Awaken Ministries. He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2013 with a bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministries and in 2016 with a graduate degree in Practical Theology.

“Being an IWU student taught me the importance of seeking God’s presence in my everyday life,” Howell said. “I vividly remember spending hours in my hall chapel as a freshman, praying and seeking God for a fresh movement of His Spirit in my life.  I was surrounded by students and professors who encouraged this pursuit of the Lord, and they added wisdom and insight into my walk with the Lord.”

One of Howell’s favorite professors was Dr. Chris Bounds. “He taught our Theology 1 course and our Theology 2 courses. These classes were powerful and pushed us as students to seek the work of the Holy Spirit in our own lives,” Howell shared. “I remember having tears in my eyes during many class periods as we studied about the work of God in our lives, because I was so needy and hungry for the reality of God’s transforming work in my own life. These courses taught us the reality of God’s work in our lives and that we can and should expect and seek that work today.  Bounds was a pastor to us all, and still is a pastor to me.” Bounds also currently serves on the board of directors for Awaken.


Awaken Interns

When Awaken began at Indiana Wesleyan, 10 students were selected to be part of the first discipleship group on campus. “These 10 became a close-knit, deeply passionate team that often resembled a spiritual family: they cared for one another and urged one another on toward Christ,” Howell said. “I will never forget a retreat we took as a team one Spring semester. We went to one of the student’s homes for a weekend of fun. We played Frisbee and soccer, ate great food and laughed a lot.  But most of all, we spent time praying over one another and speaking into each other’s lives.  The authenticity and vulnerability of that community was the most powerful thing I had ever felt in my life.  I knew, at that moment, that this was the right thing for me to be focusing on in life.  It was an undeniable reminder that my life should be spent seeing young believers wake up in their faith and become fully sold out to the Gospel.”

Awaken_shot 3[5657]Howell has seen many incredible moments at the hands of God through Awaken. “I remember a night when our weekly Awaken service was about to begin at Indiana Wesleyan University. Just before the service, our student interns walked through the student center to invite additional students to join the event.  During this walk, one of our interns encountered an IWU student who was less than enthusiastic about joining the service; in fact, this student was very much opposed to joining our worship event.  For reasons we still don’t know, this student decided to take the interns’ advice and attend Awaken anyway.  As the service began, the presence of God was overwhelmingly present in an undeniable way.  People began to come forward to the altar and receive prayer, in spite of the fact that no altar call had been made.  The student who didn’t want to come was watching this, clearly surprised at what was going on.  As the service continued, this student began to feel a sense of conviction, and the Spirit moving in his own life. Crying hard, he walked forward and knelt down to the ground, where one of his friends came and prayed with him. Needless to say, God was moving powerfully that evening!” Howell explained.

Howell encourages IWU students to be strong in their faith now, “Don’t wait,” he said. “The way you live life now is creating your lifestyle for the future. You are becoming the husband, wife, father, mother, businessman, pastor, coworker and Christ-follower that you’ll be the rest of your life by how you’re living today.”

Indiana Wesleyan University’s Homecoming schedule this year includes the Awaken Night of Worship on Thursday, October 5th.  This event will be a worship service that gathers alumni and current students together to seek a fresh movement of God’s Spirit in our lives and in our community. Worship band Alanna Story will be leading worship. and Garrett Howell will be preaching.  Doors open at 9 pm, and the service begins at 9:30 pm.  We would love to see you there!


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.