Fusion Creative CEO David Gafford

By: Dezaray Barr

David Gafford

David Gafford graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2000 with a degree in church music and a degree in vocal performance. During his high school experience, Gafford said that he rarely looked into other colleges outside of IWU. “My mother worked at IWU, and even though we could have looked into the exchange program, we just knew IWU was going to be the college for me,” Gafford said.

Like other alum, Gafford said that his time at IWU was busy. He explained, “I traveled for the university in Masters Praise and the Chorale, so I was pretty much gone every weekend of my college career. I also lived on campus and attended classes for three majors. Apparently I was a bit ambitious.”

He also said, “In retrospect, my time at IWU was more about character development than anything. It wasn’t what I learned, but how I learned that has had the largest impact. I learned to be a lifetime learner during my time at IWU. It wasn’t just learning inside the classroom, it was taking all of the experiences of life and crafting all of life into a learning experience. That’s one of the biggest takeaways that I have from my time at IWU, in that I learned how to become intentionally curious. Instead of power chords and interactive response based worship architecture, today you’ll find me helping business owners with latent semantic indexing on Google or content marketing strategies to grow their business. What I learned at IWU was how to learn and apply that learning to life.”

During his time at IWU, most of Gafford’s spiritual transformation happened through chapels and the churches he was able to visit with the music groups he was in. “I was privileged to be able to hear some of the best speakers during this time,” Gafford said. “Chapels were wonderful as well, with a plethora of talent constantly joining us to invest into our spiritual lives.”

After graduating from IWU, Gafford spent 15 years in the local church, serving as a worship architect in the large churches across the country, spending a majority of his time working in communications and coaching team members.

David and Melissa Gafford at Fusion Creative

Today, Gafford owns a digital marketing agency, Fusion Creative. He said, “We help businesses grow their leads and sales by helping them create a website that ranks on Google and converts those visitors into leads they can follow up with.”

He began Fusion in 2014 with his wife, Melissa (Liddick, class of 2000). Their goal from the beginning has been to see small businesses in the community flourish. Gafford said, “As an agency owner, we get to determine our company culture, and our spiritual lives play a big part in that. We’re an agency based on Christian values and that plays out into every job we take and how we interact with each client. We’re happy to work with almost anyone, but our values are such that we simply won’t take the job unless we know that we can deliver incredible value to the client.”

Although school is out for the summer, Gafford wants to say this to IWU students, ” Understanding yourself is paramount to your future success. I love that IWU now does Strengths Finder assessments and Myers Briggs type indicators through the career development office. I wish they would have had that option while I was at IWU. Understanding what motivates you and how you are wired can help you immensely as you make plans for the future. Lean into your areas of strength and leverage how you are energized as an individual. If you can find the intersection of your strengths, interests and personality make up, you’ll not only love what you do, but you’ll be energized by it.”

Gafford and his wife Melissa said that they are both proud IWU alumni who love working with IWU students and alum, as both interns and staff members. They have two children, Addison (8) and Ethan (5).


Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the Alumni Office. Dezaray is a senior 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.

Chorale and Wind Ensemble Spring Break Tours

By: Kendra Housel

Every year Indiana Wesleyan University’s Chorale and Wind Ensemble each take an extended tour during the University’s Spring Semester. While both ministry groups spend several weekends every semester touring different parts of the Midwest, the Spring Break tour is a time when they travel across the nation. With past tours locations being Florida, California and New York, there is always great focus on the second semester to prepare for this week-long tour. “The students are the highlight of these groups. I am always amazed by the humility in Christ they exhibit while also demonstrating their exceptional talents,” says Krista Brown, who will be traveling with the group to Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, DC area, and Pennsylvania this year.

IWU Chorale performs with Gaither Vocal Band

The Chorale will be spending their tour on the east coast area this year. They will begin their Spring Tour, performing at the First Baptist Church of Tellico Village in Loudon, Tennessee by giving an evening concert on March 3rd and joining in their worship service the morning of 4th. That evening they will travel to Oak Ridge Tennessee and give a concert at the First United Methodist Church of Oak Ridge. Next, the Chorale will head northeast to Virginia and give a concert on the evening of the 5th at Parkway Church in Roanoke. After their time in Virginia, they will head to Maryland and give a concert at New Life Church in La Plata on March 7th. Watch on FACEBOOK LIVE beginning at 7:00 PM (Eastern Time) on the 7th.

They will complete their tour up north, by first giving a concert at The River in Frankford, Delaware on the evening of the 9th, then by worshiping with Bethany Wesleyan Church in Cherryville, Pennsylvania during their two Sunday morning services on the 11th. Additional performances the chorale will give during this tour are yet to be announced.

The Wind Ensemble will be on a Midwest Spring Tour this year, beginning in Angola, Indiana at Fairview Missionary Church, joining their morning services on the 4th of March. That evening they will be in Ottawa Lake, Michigan for an evening concert at Whiteford Wesleyan Church. Watch this concert on FACEBOOK LIVE from Whiteford beginning at 6:00 pm (Eastern Time).

Continuing on the 6th, they will give a workshop to students at Wheaton Academy in Carol Stream, Illinois. That evening they will finish their time at the school by giving a concert. The 7th, they will head to Gurnee, Illinois to give an evening concert at Gurnee Community Church. The next day they will give another band workshop, this time at Jimtown High School in Elkhart, Indiana. After this workshop, they will give an afternoon concert before heading to Michigan to finish their tour. The Wind Ensemble will travel to Fremont Wesleyan Church on the 9th, Houghton Lake Wesleyan Church on the 10th, and Community Wesleyan Church (Marysville) and Rush Creek Bible Church (Byron Center) on the 11th. “I have always enjoyed seeing these concerts and remind alumni and friends that they are welcome to attend,” says Rick Carder.

If you are in the area and would like to come support these ministry teams, they would love to worship with you during their Spring Break.

Chorale Spring Break 2018 Tour schedule  – See locations here!

Wind Ensemble Spring Break 2018 Tour schedule – See locations here!


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

Pastor of the Week: Tim Becker

By: Dezaray Barr

Tim and his wife Jennifer. Photo obtained from Facebook

Tim Becker is the Pastor of Main Street Wesleyan Church located in Elwood, Indiana. Becker graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1994 as a double major in Christian Ministries and Vocal Music.

“I had the privilege to sing in University Chorale for five years and The Master’s Praise Quartet for three and a half years while I was at IWU,” Becker shared. “Dr. Todd Guy was a huge influence on my life. He taught me how to strive for excellence and to be disciplined, dedicated and determined.”

Becker was challenged, yet enjoyed the classes he took with Dr. Smith, Pastor Tom Kinnan and Dr. Bence.

Becker has several opportunities early in his ministry as a youth pastor to lead teenagers to the Lord. Some of these teens were not raised in the church or had never even attended church. “God used my love for basketball to build relationship with these kids and be a positive influence in their lives,” he explained. “While I was a youth pastor in Virginia, one of my teens was involved in a bad motorcycle accident with his father. His father passed away and the young man ended up losing his foot from the accident. I spent a lot of time disciplining this young man and built a strong relationship with him. He is now a youth pastor in the Wesleyan Church. I guess when God uses me to positively impact or influence others for His glory, that shows me that I am on the right path as a pastor.”

After Becker graduated from IWU, he was ready to jump right into ministry. “God had other plans,” Becker said. “All of the churches that I talked with about pastoral staff positions fell through or were not right. I ended up working construction for three months. God’s timing was not matching up with my timing.  In July of 1994, a pastor from Roanoke called. He was looking to hire a youth and music pastor. My wife, Jennifer, and I met with the pastor for dinner in Marion. We went to Roanoke and spent the weekend meeting people, preaching and singing. On the way home, Jennifer and I both knew that we were supposed to move to Virginia. God knew what was best.  He always knows what is best.”

Main Street Wesleyan Church (MSWC) is growing in numbers and is growing spiritually closer to both the Lord and each other in the body of Christ. This is the first church where Becker has served as the senior pastor. He served at Main Street Wesleyan Church during his fifth year of college at IWU as the part-time youth and music pastor. At the time, his father was the pastor. “I followed my father, Rev. Ron Becker, as the pastor of MSWC.  He moved out of the parsonage that I had Christmas in every year for 23 years.  Two weeks later, I moved into the same parsonage that my parents had just moved out of.  But it is a privilege and a blessing to be able to follow in my father’s legacy as pastor at MSWC.”

Becker and his family. Photo obtained from Facebook

1 Timothy 4:12 has been Becker’s life verse of mine since he was in high school. It reads, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.” Becker shared, “I truly do want to live my life in a way that I am setting an example for people in how to live a God-pleasing life. Worship for me is a lifestyle that I want to live out each day.”

Becker hopes to remind students at IWU that it is a good thing we have dreams, goals and aspirations. “But allow God to be the One who is in complete control,” Becker said. “Allow Him to move, guide and direct you through life in His way and His timing.  He knows what is best for you and has plans to give you hope and a future.”



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.

Gaither Concerts Online Tickets


Fall Festival – IWU – Saturday Night Concert only – Join Gaither Vocal Band, Charlotte Ritchie, Gene McDonald & Kevin Williams at Indiana Wesleyan University’s Chapel Auditorium on Saturday, Oct. 8 at 7:30PM for an evening of uplifting music! This ticket is for the Saturday evening concert only.

View the 2010 concert with the Chorale

Order your tickets: Gaither Concerts Online Tickets (Contact the Alumni Office for discount and access to ordering tickets.)


Indiana Wesleyan Chorale to Tour Florida



By: Katherine Arch

This Spring Break the Indiana Wesleyan University Chorale is excited to travel to Florida for their bi-annual tour. Led by Dr. Todd Guy, director of Indiana Wesleyan’s elite vocal performance group and supervising faculty for this trip, students will travel across Florida with the mission of spreading God’s love and sharing their musical talents. Leaving on March 5th, students will leave early from Marion, Indiana and later that day they will arrive in Brooksville, Florida for their first concert. During the nine-day trip, students will give concerts in seven locations, across the state. Students will sing at schools and in churches, ministering to people through song and also providing increased visibility for the music department.

Students will be making their first stop at Brooksville Wesleyan Church in Brooksville, Florida, a community that is home to many Wesleyan Pastors and Indiana Wesleyan Alumni. Members of this church will serve as host families for students as they travel. Faculty and students hope to see this as a community-building experience between churches and members of the chorale.

“Obviously the group’s primary goal is to glorify God through these performances,” stated Krista Brown, Coordinator of Alumni and Church Relations. “Additionally, students will bond with each other and members of the church community.” Brown mentioned that for many of the students, this is the highlight of their year in Chorale. Students and faculty work towards this tour all year, it is a time for student to anticipate and enjoy. In preparation for this trip, students practice extensively and work at fundraising to help cover the costs.

Looking forward to the trip, Brown shares the sentiment of many that this will be a special time.

“It’s amazing to see how students grow through this time,” mentioned Brown, “The group that comes back is often changed; they draw closer and learn from each other and from this experience. I am so excited for this group and the experience they will have.”

For complete tour schedule – Click Here.