By: Dezaray Barr
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.