By: Dezaray Barr
Reverend Alan Bennett Downing is the Lead Pastor of First Wesleyan Church in Frankfort, Indiana. He’s been there since August 2014.
Downing grew up in a United Methodist Church near Lafayette, Indiana. He played the piano and organ, and he helped with the choir as needed. “As I got older and out of school, I ventured into the military but continued to offer my musical gifts with the churches in the communities that I lived in,” Downing said. “It seemed clear to me that God’s musical gifts that were imparted to me for the church. How wrong I was in thinking that was all I was going to do.”
Downing graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2008 with a Christian Ministry’s degree. “My future had already been influenced by God, and that’s what landed me at IWU,” Downing said. “The teaching staff at IWU are incredible. They each have powerful testimonies to what brought them to the Lord, as well as how they ended up at IWU. Dr. David Smith, Dr. Keith Drury, Dr. Christopher Bounds, Dr. Jim Lo, and Dr. Constance Cherry invested deeply into not only me, but my peers as well.”
Downing’s time at IWU was not particularly easy. “Everyone at IWU personally invested in me when I reached the lowest points of my life in regards to health issues, watching a parent slip away, or just needing to have someone to talk to,” Downing explained. “They loved on me, cried with me, laughed with me, admonished me, and I knew from the feelings I had on a daily basis, were praying fervently for me.”
Downing’s time at First Wesleyan in Frankfort has been an incredible time for him and the church. “Our congregation is diversified in age, there are two retired pastors who worship there (which can be very intimidating at times), and we are in the midst of growth and change,” Downing explained. “It makes each day different than the one before in regards to what the focus is on. But at the end of the day, God is a providing and loving God and His will is be done at FWC!”
Rick Carder, IWU’s Director of Alumni and Church Engagement, said, “Alan is a person that knows everyone and makes everyone feel special. Recently I worked with him as he volunteered his time at the State UMC Conference serving in the IWU booth. He was positive, friendly, and well-known.”
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.