Pastor of the Week: Kiersten Telzerow

By: Dezaray Barr

Kiersten Telzerow

Kiersten Telzerow graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2014 with a degree in Christian Ministries and a minor in Leadership. She is now the Small Group Director at Barracks Row AM Campus for the National Community Church in Washington, DC.

She said that IWU played a huge role in who she is today. “IWU was the place where I grew the most in my faith and a greater understanding of my calling to full-time ministry. I couldn’t even begin to list the professors who made an impact on my life, but just a few of them would be Rev. Vardaman, Dr. Bill Millard, Dr. Dan Poff and Dr. Keith Drury. Every professor I had helped form my character and cultivate my calling, and I am so grateful for that experience,” she said.

When she was just 14, the Lord painted a clear picture for what her life would be, and Telzerow couldn’t imagine doing anything else but ministry! She added, “I had a really healthy image of what it looks like to be lifelong in ministry full-time, as my dad is a pastor as well.”

In her ministry in D.C., Telzerow gets to serve on a great team of those working in small group ministry, where they provide pastoral care, raise up leaders, foster growth and discipleship in the congregation, as they see lives change right before their very eyes. “It is one of the best jobs, because I can focus on tasks and administration all the while growing deep and wide relationships,” she shared.

Although she loves her job and ministry, it’s not always easy or perfect. She explained, “God sometimes calls you to step outside the boat in a way that you may have never pictured. I went from suburban life, to rural life, to urban ministry, in what feels like overnight. It is only by God’s grace and favor that I am where I am and that he has continued to equip me to be right where I need to be. Sometimes the greatest hindrance in our life can be when we have this set picture of what our life is supposed to look like and where we will be when. We try to out plan God, and we can’t. Our job is just to be obedient – to wherever and whenever He calls – in whatever way it looks.”



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

PotW “Lessons from Relationships and Failure” Rev. David Dignal

By: Rick Carder


David opened his seminar on Conflict Resolution with the statement, “If you are breathing, you will experience conflict.” Sharing experiences from his ministry, Dignal offered ideas on handling conflict in our lives during a teaching session hosted by the IWU Alumni Association – Fort Wayne Regional Network on February 11, 2016. Dignal defined his greatest passion as resulting from opprotunities of ministry, “When you can mend a broken relationship is a win. Anytime you can get people on the same page is a win.”

Dave DignalFor over thirty-five years David Dignal has served as a pastor in the Wesleyan Church. He has experienced ministry through his passion for teaching and leadership. David is an alum of IWU, finishing his Master in Religion degree through IWU. Dignal is also a graduate of Ohio Christian University (B.A. in Christian Ministries). He referenced Dr. Wayne Schmidt, Vice President of Wesleyan Seminary, who helped him learn how to manage conflict.

Dignal cited four areas of conflict: community change, financial stress, closed power systems, and prescriptive expectations. In the ministry of serving in a local church, he is reminded that working with people can be difficult but that, “there are many rewards as well.” In his ministry he has learned to lead gracefully.

Pastor Dignal now serves at Edgerton Wesleyan Church, where he has been since the fall of 2002. He has turned the church around by providing an optimistic leadership style that included teaching principles of leadership to its members. He is also a trained church planting assessor for The Wesleyan Church. Dignal’s main focus in coaching an individual is to see that person develop their full “LQ” – leadership quotient. He said the LQ means, “We have to promote leadership development. The leader has to grow and not depend on the past successes. You can always add to your ability.” The leader’s growth is the key to his or her personal and ministry effectiveness and fulfillment.

In sharing on a personal level, Dignal shared that he completed a process of being certified in the Wesleyan Coaching Network. About himself he said, “I did my training with Tim Roehl. I really do like the GROW model, simply because it keeps my focus on helping the person grow in whatever area we are working on.” He describes the GROW model by asking pastors to look at their ministry “Goals” and “Realities” as well as the “Opportunities” then they define the plan in what he calls “What will we do?”.

Dignal integrates his coaching principles by engaging the passion of people and helping them find their strengths. As the Director of Alumni and Church Engagement, I (Rick Carder) asked David Dignal to provide leadership coaching to the Fort Wayne Regional Alumni Regional Network. Dignal is creative and optimistic as our team looks to serve alumni in the region. The team works together to define objectives and goals that reach and serve alumni. His leadership and coaching is a positive contribution to this team.

During his conflict resolution presentation Dignal shared a personal example of leadership roles and their constant change. “Yesterday we celebrated my nineteen year old daughter’s birthday. We often remind our children what the relationship roles are,” he shared. Further, “In dealing with conflict we continue to define roles. I have to remember that she is nineteen now. I have to make adjustments too.” As he reflected about ministry he said, “As culture changes you have to make adjustments. The message doesn’t change but the way we do ministry does. There are new opportunities when culture changes.” Now that he is a grandfather, Dignal was asked about how ministry has shaped him over the years. He said, “The impact has been that the perspective of children’s ministry has changed. I have always valued this ministry but now that I have a grandchild, it has given me a personal connection.”

This is part of why Dignal is passionate about church renewal. He serves on the Church Renewal Team with the Indiana North District of the Wesleyan Church that helps churches to be more effective. “I am part of the renewal conversations which I enjoy,” says Dignal. His greatest joy is in serving Christ. He commented, “Seeing God’s truth worked out in real life scenarios is my passion.”

“I have a responsibility to communicate vision in a way that people can understand,” says Dignal, “I want to get everyone on-board.” He continues, “I am good at repeating the same thing over-and-over again so that everyone gets it. I say the same thing but I say it differently so that people get it.” He teaches as an adjunct professor for IWU. He often encourages his students by helping them to connect to what he teaching by using stories and illustrations that build on principles.

On a personal level David was asked what his life Bible verse is. He answered, “I don’t have a life verse but I have a favorite. It is Philippians 1:6. I paraphrase it simply, ‘What God starts he finishes.’” It gives him confidence in the darkest times.

In speaking about his ministry impacts, he talked about two significant experiences that have shaped him. “One of those is the pastoral heroes in my life.” Referring to the four years he served as a staff with Pastor Jimmy Johnson in Bonita, CA. “He taught me to be real and relax in who God created me to be.” He also reference a painful time in his life. “My failure as a church planter,” he said. He continues, “It has shaped me because it taught me humility and forced me to realign on my values in the church. My failures caused me to come out and realize the importance of ministry.”

The accomplishments include church planting and training specialties. During a public recognition following his presentation at the training event as the newest member of the Pastor of the Week (PotW) inductee, David demonstrated a servant’s heart by sharing personal successes and failures. He has served over 35 years of pastoral ministry experience, 13 years as an Adjunct Professor for Indiana Wesleyan University, and served 7 years as Assistant to the District Superintendent of the Indiana North District of The Wesleyan Church. He now serves as a ministry coach for the Wesleyan Church.

Pastor Dave has been married to his wife Stevie for over 34 years and have three children (Sarah, Jonathan, and Rebekah), one son-in-law, and one grandson. They met at Circleville College in 1977. She was from New York and he was from Pennsylvania but we met in college. They started dating when I was in my last year of college.



Written by Rick Carder, Director of Alumni and Church Engagement.

The Next Step: From Revival to Awakening

By: Katherine Arch


On the campus of Indiana Wesleyan University, “revival” is a buzzword. Throughout Summit (the spiritual emphasis week which our campus held the second week of school) the speaker, Dr. Kevin Queen spoke on this subject. In all of his talks throughout the week, he discussed the need for personal revival as crucial for spiritual focus throughout the community as a whole. At the end of Dr. Queen’s last talk, students were offered chips with the slogan “All In” to remind them of the dedication required to commit to a lifestyle of revival.

Summit is now several weeks passed, and although there is a sensitivity to the topic of spiritual renewal, many
Garrett Howellpeople do not know what to do with the stirring they felt during the time of spiritual emphasis.

“Moments of revival, like what happened on IWU’s campus during Summit are the beginning of awakening,” commented Garrett Howell, former student body chaplain and IWU alum (’13, Christian Ministries). Howell has recently started a ministry called Awaken Ministry, with the expressed purpose of helping students and young adults find applications for their desire to follow the Lord with deeper spiritual fervor.

“During my time at IWU I sensed a need to pray for revival,” Howell mentioned. “I was a student body chaplain and I knew this was a need on campus, and something for which I needed to pray.” During his final year at IWU, Howell was deeply involved in the spiritual formation of students as he worked as student body chaplain. Within this position, Howell was able to understand the spiritual climate of the school more fully. During his time at IWU, Howell sensed that the Lord was calling him to start a ministry to help equip and disciple students to exhibit spiritual passion.

“I talked with my mentors my senior year of college,” recalls Howell, “I sensed that the Lord was calling me to full-time service.” As a ministry student, such a vision was not unexpected. Howell talked with several trusted friends and explained his vision to them; much to his pleasure, they were as excited about his idea as he was.

“The idea of waking up from Spiritual complacency was what first inspired me to start Awaken Ministries,” Howell explained. With the help of his mentors, Howell began mobilizing support to start this outreach program. “We had a vision of equipping spiritually-sensitive students so that they could, in turn, initiate awakening in the church.”Awaken Logo

Awakening launched as a student event at IWU in the fall of 2012. Howell helped initiate several worship experiences, similar to the Summit weeks. The goal of these Awakening events was to ignite a desire to draw closer to the Lord and pursue Spiritual revival. Since the first meeting in 2012, the ministry has grown exponentially.

“The focus of our ministry is to work to equip students through a two-semester leadership and discipleship program,” Howell explained. This ministry is currently working closely with IWU with monthly meetings and follow-up opportunities for fellowship, discipleship, and service.

“People can choose to engage at whatever level they feel called. For some, they might only choose to attend the monthly meeting. Others opt to join a discipleship group for personal mentoring and growth. Some become part of our outreach program and travel to churches where they are thrown into ministry,” Howell explained. The goal of the ministry is to equip students to be able to minister as well, so Awaken attempts to provide interested students with opportunities to serve.

In addition to the discipleship and ministry opportunities, Howell and the Awaken team travel to churches for seminars and revival meetings. It is Garrett’s vision that these discipleship opportunities will grow and become an important component of the ministry.

In the IWU community, Awaken Ministries offers the opportunity to take the next step toward personal revival. “For students who are seeking to go deeper with the Lord, this is a good place to start,” encouraged Howell. “We encourage everyone to attend a monthly meeting and see what God has for them after that.”

To find out more information about Garrett Howell and the ministry of Awaken, please visit their website at


Written by Katherine Arch, Story Teller for Alumni Relations. Katherine Arch is a Senior 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 unique divine potential in written form. Katherine also operates a website called “Join the Ranch” at It is about pursuing God’s purpose for her life and vocation.