By: Dezaray Barr
Mike Colaw is the lead pastor at Trinity Church in the Indianapolis area. He graduated with a degree in Exercise Science Specialist from The Cooper Institute in 2001. He received his degree in Philosophy of Religion from Oklahoma Wesleyan University in 2002, and in 2014 he attended Wesley Seminary where he earned his degree in Ministerial Leadership.
Although Colaw is not currently working on a specific degree, he continues to learn. “I am constantly taking classes online for the fun of it,” he said. He is currently in a class studying social ethics.
Colaw believes that many people, including professors, think that the primary purpose of school is to teach you how to execute a complicated task like running a business, or in his case preaching a sermon or running a church. “Though this is a part of it, I believe the primary purpose of education is to teach one to assume the posture of a passionate learner for life,” Colaw said. “If this alone is achieved, I believe it will set you up for success more than anything else. I see education as not an end, but a beginning. As it pertains to learning, I see graduation not as the end of a journey but the release of an arrow from a bow. With this presupposition in mind, my favorite professors were not necessarily the ones who perfectly answered my questions or gave me specific tactics, but rather the professors who made my world bigger.”
Through experience, Colaw does not believe that the purpose of life on this planet is pleasure. “My commitment to [ministry] has more to do with obedience than a feeling of it being ‘right.’ [Our purpose] is to be a conduit of God’s grace and a bringer of His Kingdom in the means and manner of Jesus Christ,” he said. “The times I have been able to enjoy ministry most are when lives are changed and Jesus is made famous. Joy is felt deeply when the faith of a dying man brings fear to its knees and the family sees the power of Christian hope. Joy is felt deeply when I get to help an abandoned single mother restart life and see the family of believers support her and her child. Joy is felt deeply when someone in our church gets a substantial raise and chooses to NOT upgrade his lifestyle, but instead give generously to the expansion of the Gospel and to help those in need. My greatest joys and affirmation of my call aren’t found in tasks that I do well, but in watching the Gospel do immeasurably good work through others.”
Trinity Church has three campuses: one in Northeast Indianapolis, one in Fishers, Indiana and another multi-ethnic location in Garfield Park. “I am not sure we are unique. Moreover, I think that’s a good thing. We know we’re only stewards. All material things we own will one day be passed on to another. So our objective is always to multiply believers and congregations. We are not obsessed with gathering in as much as we are sending out. The mark of success for us is as much about scattering as it is gathering,” Colaw shared about Trinity.
Colaw wishes to remind IWU students that, “The truer purpose of a liberal arts education isn’t tactics alone but character formation. Or as Plato and Jesus call it, dikaiosune (Greek). Aristotle called it areté. Homer even purposefully spent time defining the nobility of his heroes in the Iliad and Odyssey. Dallas Willard defines it like this, ‘What that is about a person that makes them right or good.’ This is the primary reason why you are in school. To become the type of person living in a constant state of becoming and living as a Judeo-Christian servant hero.”
“Lift your eyes off of yourselves and see all those in need. Absolutely, God wants to take you to hard places, because hard places are where Christ is needed,” Colaw shared.
Mike and his wife, Leslie, conducted young adult ministry for a number of years. They now have four children, Noah, Nate, Emma and Cara. Mike likes to think out loud at www.luke117.com, and they would love to connect with you on social media.
Mike and Leslie even created a video to give advice to IWU students! Check it out: https://www.facebook.com/mike.colaw/posts/10156331821682345!
Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a junior Strategic Communication, Journalism and Honors Humanities triple major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College. Visit Dez’s website at www.dezaraybarr.weebly.com.