Thanks to Fusion, He Only Filled Out One Application: Zach McConnell

By: Kendra Housel

Zach McConnell (featuring an IWU shirt)

Most seniors in high school spend months and months hunched over their computer, filling out application after application, writing essay upon essay about how something less-than-inspiring completely changed their lives, hoping to get accepted to a university.

It is an exhausting, often painstaking process filled with lots of uncertainty and often anxiety.

While this scene is very familiar to Zach McConnell, it is more reminiscent of the fact that he has applied to be on the television show Survivor for the past fifteen seasons.

No, McConnell’s college search was much simpler.

This youth pastor did something that he says that he would never advise his students to do. After a rather apathetic time of searching around for possible colleges to attend, with the encouragement of his youth pastor and a memory of an amazing time he had at Fusion (an IWU hosted high school conference), McConnell applied to just one college: Indiana Wesleyan University.

Of the decision to approach college with such confidence and optimism, McConnell said, “I was captivated and wowed by the campus and the environment. In 2007, God had called me to ministry, but I didn’t necessarily know where to go.”

“I only applied to IWU, because my youth pastor suggested I go, and I had really liked Fusion,” he explained. “But looking back, despite my apathy of searching for universities, I knew the Holy Spirit was leading the way … I don’t advise my students to just submit one application and ‘hope for the best’ just because of one youth conference. Terrible idea. But God knew what was happening.”

The time that followed this step of faith is what McConnell describes as “life-changing.”

His time at IWU was marked by a transformation of his heart, attitude and perspective. Much of that was due to the community that McConnell found one that continues to love and support him today.

“Every year continued to be a year of growth while attending IWU, ” McConnell said. “I found amazing accountability partners that I still connect with today. I have amazing ‘summit’ moments where I am reminded that I am uniquely and wonderfully made in the image of God.”

“I cannot express this any louder – I am so thankful for my time at Bowman Hall. The biggest piece of the puzzle I learned is that I am a Man of God, because He has created me in His image. I’m so thankful for the principles of Bowman and the people I was surrounded with while there,” McConnell said.

McConnell also found another relational blessing while studying at IWU.

As he pursued his degree in Youth Ministry, he also pursued his wife, Amanda. The pair graduated together in 2012 and are getting ready to welcome their first child this December.

McConnell and his wife, Amanda, at their graduation from IWU.

Currently, McConnell and his wife both serve in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, at Linwood Church, where he is the NextGen Pastor and she is the Children’s Director.

McConnell rejoices in the opportunity to serve alongside his wife and lead his students to a more fruitful and authentic relationship with Christ through celebration, service and discipline.

In reflecting on his time at IWU, McConnell feels that he learned much about ministry, while also being affirmed that it was truly what he was called to do.

He said that he truly appreciates that IWU is an academic university that makes spirituality a priority over academics.

With a great love for IWU and the Fusion conference, of which he served on the leadership team while a student, McConnell continues to bring his students to attend Fusion annually, all the way from South Dakota. This year will be his 11th Fusion.


Written by Kendra Housel, writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Kendra is a junior 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. Kendra is passionate about serving Christ through writing, singing and caring for others.

Pastor of the Week: Angulus Wilson

By: Dezaray Barr

Angulus Wilson
Angulus Wilson

Dr. Angulus D. Wilson, born and raised in Los Angeles, was once a gang member. At just the young age of 12, Wilson had a record that included drug use, robbery, violence, and drive by shootings. In 1979, Wilson came into contact with an itinerant evangelistic ministry while he was in a juvenile offender’s high security institution.

“Inside of the institution, I heard the gospel preached for the very first time,” Wilson said. “I remember giving my life to Christ because of the pain and sorrow I felt. Jesus saved me, and I was born again.”

Through mentorship and his newfound faith, Wilson was able to graduate high school and attend Fresno Pacific University. After graduating in 1989, Wilson was ordained as an itinerant evangelist, which allowed him to work with prisoners, drug addicts, and gang offenders.

Wilson and his wife
Wilson and his wife

In 1991, Wilson married Sharon (Horton), and they have three sons, Lionel, Alexander and Aaron. All three of Wilson’s sons are now currently active in the ministry of Jesus. “We have modeled Christianity for them, and they all have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ,” Wilson explained. “One of the treasures of ministering as a family is seeing your children walk with the Lord.”

Wilson’s work for the kingdom of God is extensive, diverse and beautiful. “Over the past 25 years, I have conducted national and international mission trips, conferences and seminars,” he said. “I have planted four churches, served two other congregations, participated in doctoral level training, organized a school for bi-vocational ministers and served three major Christian Universities as a University Pastor, Director of Ministry, Minister at large for global evangelism, and Community Outreach Director.”

Currently, Wilson serves as the Senior Pastor of New Beginnings Community Baptist Church in Fresno, California. He organized this church in 2008. He is also the president and founder of Angelos Biblical Institute, an international evangelism school, and he serves as the University Pastor of Fresno Pacific University.

Although Wilson is not an IWU Alum, he is passionate about the students at IWU. “My Prayer for IWU students is that they would hear the call of God to global evangelism and pursue Him with all of their hearts,” he said. “I pray that they will ‘seize the moment’ to make a decisions that change and transform our world.”

“Angulus is truly a servant and has a tremendous testimony of redemption and the call to ministry. I’ve known Angulus for nearly 20 years and have found him to be a wonderful friend and tremendous asset to the kingdom work through evangelism, prison ministries, and chaplain.” Rick Carder, the IWU Director of Alumni & Church Engagement, said.


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