By: Dezaray Barr
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 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.