Our Compass is the Word of God: James Jackson

By: Noelle Beans

Reverend James Jackson is this year’s recipient of the Distinguished Wesley Seminary Alumni Award.

Rev. Jackson is not a stranger to authoritative positions. Throughout his ministerial career, he held many positions of authority and performed with great esteem and with great integrity.

The positions Jackson has held include the following:

  • Director of the Far-Eastside Action Coalition – a task-oriented community group for crime prevention and mentoring, and other projects.
  • Chief Administrative Officer of Valley Kingdom International – a group which seeks to advance the kingdom through intercepting the different systems of society.
  • Member of the Police Merit Board – governing body for the Metropolitan Police Department

Jackson was the first pastor in the history of Indianapolis to ever be asked to serve on this board.

Now, Jackson is the lead pastor of Fervent Prayer Church and the president of the affiliated Academy.

He founded the church 24 years ago and the school 22 years ago.

Somewhere along this journey of ministry, Jackson became frustrated.

Encouragement from Bishop Tom Benjamin to apply and enroll at Wesley Seminary came at the right time.

The first two years of seminary were difficult for Jackson because he had been out of school for a long time.

As he acclimated, the transformation in his life began. Rev. Jackson describes his time at IWU as a lift: “restorative, inspirational and informational – a second wind.”

He graduated in 2016 with his master’s degree.

There are now over 180 children enrolled at the Fervent Care Christian Academy from kindergarten to 12-years-old.

Jackson is a commissioner for the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. He was appointed by Governor Holcomb to make decisions on civil rights cases.

In his daily work, Jackson’s faith is his standard. He functions on a mantra of not who is right, but what is right. When seeking guidance on decisions his compass is the word of God.

Developing a relationship with God over all else is of utmost importance to Rev. Jackson. Apparent by his respected appointments over the years, Rev. Jackson chooses to live this out every day.

Watch the video from the Homecoming Celebration honoring Rev. James Jackson! https://youtu.be/UKuXqbJaGQI?t=494

Written by Noelle Beans, a writer for the IWU Alumni Center. Noelle is a sophomore Nursing and Honors Humanities double major at Indiana Wesleyan University in the John Wesley Honors College from Greenville, Illinois.

Encouraging Others through Victory: SaLisa Flagg

By: Dezaray Barr

SaLisa (Lisa) Flagg is this year’s recipient of the IWU Distinguished National and Global Alumni Award.

“I’m very excited and very honored to receive this award,” Flagg said.

She graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2010 with her bachelor’s degree in nursing and in 2014 with her master’s degree in management.

She now works as a registered nurse at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. She utilizes her knowledge to access, plan, intervene, evaluate and document patient care.

“I like being part of the children’s healing process … to let them know that God is a healer and to try to direct them to Christ,” she said.

Flagg also trains and mentors new staff at the hospital, and she formulates nursing diagnoses for training staff on actual and potential health problems.

In addition to being the spokesperson for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she also started a women’s ministry mentorship project at Rose Chapel Church where her husband, Pastor Mark Flagg, serves in ministry.

The Women’s Ministry Mentorship Program aims to guide ladies ages 18 and over to triumph in all areas of their lives. They meet once a month with women from both the church and from the community.

“We let them know that they’re not alone,” Flagg said. “Whatever situation they’re fighting or coming up against, they’ll triumph over it through God.”

Most recently, Flagg has created a workshop, I’m Under Construction, where Christian women of various backgrounds and views gather together for discussion and spiritual growth.

Flagg’s motto is, “The odds may be stacked against you, the past may seem like it’s controlling your present and future and you may think that you can’t win; however, God and his glorious plan are enough to give you the victory.”

Congratulations, Lisa! It is an honor to call you an IWU alum!

Watch the Homecoming Celebration video honoring SaLisa Flagg! https://youtu.be/UKuXqbJaGQI?t=206


Written by Dezaray Barr, PR Specialist for the IWU 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.

Using Your Gifts for God’s Purpose: Jacob Lapp

By: Kendra Housel

When Jacob Lapp began his college search, he knew that God was calling him to attend a Christian university. Given his family background, he assumed his journey would lead to a Nazarene college.

Jacob Lapp and his family.

He had never heard of The Wesleyan Church, but decided to check out Indiana Wesleyan University after he saw an IWU advertisement in a magazine.

It took only one visit to the Marion campus to end Lapp’s college search.

It was an important first step that eventually would lead to Lapp’s current job as Chief Information Officer (CIO) of The Wesleyan Church. He received a B.S. degree in accounting and management from IWU in 2006.

Lapp said he first developed a faith of his own during his years at IWU. During his first two years on campus, Lapp lived in Bowman Hall where he served as mission coordinator. He was a Resident Assistant in Phillippe Apartments his junior year.

The summer before his senior year, Lapp married his college sweetheart, the former Diane Taylor, who also graduated from IWU in 2006 with a degree in business administration.

Through his studies as an accounting major, Lapp developed a friendship and a mentoring relationship with Kent Williams, an accounting professor. Both men had grown up on farms, and Lapp said Williams understood him and made him feel at home.

Lapp was instrumental in starting IWU’s accounting club and served as the firsts president of the group in 2005.

Despite saying he never would take a job in public accounting, after graduating from IWU Lapp worked two years auditing non-profit organizations – many of them Christian organizations.

Through that experience, he discovered the different kinds of work people were doing for God’s kingdom across the nation and around the world.

In 2008, during the housing crisis, Lapp and his wife sold their home in Colorado and returned to Marion where he took a job as a purchasing agent. Less than two years later, Professor Williams alerted his former student to a job opportunity at the world headquarters of The Wesleyan Church in Fishers, Indiana.

Lapp began his ministry with the denomination in 2012 as the Director of Finance, and in 2017 became the Chief Information Officer with responsibility for all information technology.

He sees his dual roles as strategy and leadership, where about 60 percent of his work revolves around the question of how technology can support the mission of the church. The other 40 percent of his job deals with finances and accounting.

Lapp looks back on his IWU experience as a time when he felt the emphasis of using his gifts for God’s purpose.

“Although I work in a Christian community, it is also important to use those same gifts working in secular industries,” Lapp said. “Anything you do is significant if you do it for Christ.”

Any words of wisdom to share with current IWU students?

“Well, I have lots of words, but I don’t know if any of them qualify as wisdom,” he said. “I fear failure. I had to come to a place where I loved pleasing God more than pleasing others and more than I feared failure. I live for an audience of One.



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.



Nurse Tyanne Brewer

By: Dezaray Barr

Tyanne Brewer

Tyanne Brewer graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2014 with her BSN. She chose to attend IWU because it was both faith-based and close to her home.

As a student, she spent a lot of time studying, but she also built many friendships. “I also grew spiritually at IWU as I learned to become a nurse,” she said.

Brewer is now a registered nurse at Marion General Hospital in Telemtry. IWU inspired her to be the best nurse she could ever be. She said, “IWU taught me to never forget where I came from, and I try to inspire others because of that.”

Because of her education at IWU, when patients ask Brewer to pray for or with them, she does, and that’s how she said her faith impacts her work as a nurse.

Brewer would encourage IWU students to never give up on their dreams. “If nursing is truly your passion, stick with it and God will place you where you need to be,” she said. Brewer is a first-generation college graduate, and she worked full-time as a CNA while going to nursing school. She is now working on her Masters while working full-time as an RN.



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.

James LaFlamme: Biopharma Global

By: Dezaray Barr

James LaFlamme

James LaFlamme graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 1988 with a Masters in Management.

While a student at IWU, LaFlamme also held a full-time job as an executive. “I would describe this period of time as intense,” LaFlamme said, “but I met a lot of great people and the learning environment at IWU was outstanding.”

Despite this being only the third year of the new adult program at IWU at the time of his graduation, LaFlamme came to IWU because of the program. “I was attracted to IWU because of the accelerated program for Graduate degrees: The LEAP Program,” he said. “It allowed me to work full time and complete a Masters degree in a reasonable period of time. In addition, the process was easy, the books were delivered, everything was pre-packaged… it made the entire process efficient.”

Although LaFlamme’s education matured at IWU, others aspects of his life did too. “My faith and spirituality grew and flourished during my time at IWU. I knew because of my faith and time at IWU that in the future I wanted to be able to give back in some way,” LaFlamme said. “Although the method was not clear for how I would achieve this, I knew that when the time was right an opportunity would present itself. God has a plan for all of us, it is not always clear what the plan may be, but strong faith usually drives you in the right direction.”

Currently, LaFlamme is the CEO of Biopharma Global, which is a US based nonprofit corporation that focuses on Orphan Drug Development on a global basis.

James LaFlamme and his wife, Carol
James LaFlamme and his wife, Carol

It is because of his time as a graduate student at IWU that LaFlamme created his career. “My management skills derived from the education I received at IWU. This allowed me to reach career heights I never imagined,” he explained. “I am convinced that my career would not have been possible had I not attended IWU and received the additional education and skills necessary to be successful. My faith was strong when I started at IWU, but I would say it became enhanced through interactions with my fellow students and instructors.

Biopharma Global is focused on helping individuals who have rare diseases. “It’s all about working with others to help get cures to the market place in an accelerated fashion,” LaFlamme said. “Our work is mission driven, which derived from my strong faith and belief that part of being is helping your fellow mankind in some form or fashion.”

Rick Carder, Director of Alumni & Church Engagement at IWU, said, “James is a remarkable individual. He combines his talents and his IWU education to make a significant difference in the world. He is indeed a world changer. The early days of our adult program were remarkable and the university drew together the incredible talents of people like James. They were not only shaped by our programs, but they helped develop what is today one of the most recognized education programs in the nation.”



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.

The Pursuit of Excellence- Merging Faith and Law

“It is the mission of Haelewyn Harris Law PLCC to provide superior quality legal services… that adheres to the highest standards of integrity and excellence.”

– Haelewyn Harris Law Mission Statement

Excellence; the nature of being extremely good. If one word could describe Brittny Woods-Harris ’07 and her work, it would be excellence. Incredibly successful as a lawyer and recommended by her highly impressive resume, Brittny Harris, co-founder of Haelewyn Harris Law in Detroit and 2007 Indiana Wesleyan University Alum demonstrates the value of quality work in all she does.

brittny harris
Brittny Harris
During her undergraduate career, Mrs. Harris was Cum Laude, a member of the Honor’s College, an intermural athlete, and a senator for Student Government. Following graduation, she went on to study abroad at Oxford, earned her Master’s degree in Government, and then obtained her Juris Doctorate at Regent University School of Law. Mrs. Harris has extensive experience in her field, from working with the United States Airforce as a law clerk, to experience in immigration law, municipal law, and civil litigation and employment law. Now Mrs. Harris is co-founder of a law firm, practicing law in areas that she believes contribute to the greater good of her community. Haelewyn Harris Law Firm focuses primarily on estate planning, special needs planning, and nursing home planning, among a variety of other services.

While her personal accomplishments are impressive, Mrs. Harris’ heart for people and justice is even more so. As a lawyer, Mrs. Harris stresses the integration of faith into her practice. Although she does not overtly voice her beliefs to clients, the way in which she relates with people reflects her personal faith.

“Of course there are Sunday-school answers for how to be a Christian at work,” Ms. Harris mentioned. (As a Christian) “You can demonstrate integrity and honesty in your cases, however, the best way demonstrate your faith is through love.” Mrs. Harris mentioned that this has been a struggle she has faced as a professional. In her field, demonstrating love and concern for clients is challenging; many lawyers are expected to exude serious, aggressive persona. Multiple colleagues have commented on Ms. Harris’ demeanor, critiquing her for treating her clients too nicely or demonstrating too much concern for them. However, for Mrs. Harris, this component of her work is non-negotiable.

“I have learned that I can be aggressive and still be nice,” Mrs. Harris explained as she shared her philosophy as a lawyer. Mrs. Harris’ integration of her faith and her work is far more pervasive than a simple attitude shift. The mission statement of the law firm states that Haelewyn Harris lawyers are dedicated to the highest standards of integrity and excellence. Emphasizing the value she places on these words, Mrs. Harris also invests her time in extensive Pro-Bono work, serving the Detroit area through need-based free or reduced-price consulting.

“This is typically a case-by-case project,” Mrs. Harris explained, “we work to help people financially where we see the need.” Mrs. Harris volunteers her services as a lawyer for the community as well as for her local church. She stated that as a lawyer she a certified attorney but also a counselor of law- and she sees the counselor part as a crucial element of her job.

Professionally, Mrs. Harris has aspirations for developing and growing the firm with the intention of eventually transforming the firm into a completely paperless law practice. She stressed the importance of maintaining interpersonal relationships and concurrently staying technologically on the edge.

“Stereotypically, lawyers are resistant to change,” Mrs. Harris stated, “so technology is not often well integrated. It is the hope of our practice to use technology as a means by which we can streamline our services and increase efficiency.” In the upcoming years, Mrs. Harris mentioned that she would like to see the practice shift to an entirely primarily virtual corporation.

In the life of Mrs. Harris, excellence also means balance. While an incredibly successful lawyer, this woman stressed the importance of other priorities in her life, primarily her faith, and her family.

“As a lawyer, it is a struggle to be a Christian first, and put my family second, and my job third. However, that is what I am called to do,” she explained. “I believe that is a Biblical principal.”

Mrs. Harris stated that her primary reason for starting her law firm was to facilitate this desired sense of balance.

“Many lawyers work twelve hours a day; having my own practice allows me to have the flexibility I need. I’m married and have a son, I want to be able to have time for them as well.

Reflecting on her time at IWU, Mrs. Harris mentioned that her educational experience helped her prepare for life outside a school environment in that it gave her a foundation and support system she has carried through life. As a Christian, professional, wife, and mother, Mrs. Harris has learned the value of pursuing excellence in all that she does as she merges her faith and law practice.

 Check out her Law Firm.

Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Junior English major at Indiana Wesleyan, and a member of the Track and Cross Country teams. She is passionate about sharing people’s stories and celebrating their divine potential in written form.