Pastor of the Week: Jorge Escalante

By: Dezaray Barr

Jorge Escalante

Jorge Escalante is the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He graduated from high school in 1996 and went to community college for one semester. Trinity Church is located on the North East side of Indianapolis, and Escalante said that they serve a diverse community; “We are working to become a multicultural, multilingual church. What makes this congregation unique is the atmosphere the multicultural movement creates; it feels a little bit (I think) like being in heaven.”

Over the years, Escalante has met and mentored many young people, and he said that it is his great job to hear about the impact his church has on them. He shared a specific story; “Not too long ago, one of my students (who is now 24 years old and married) visited us and confirmed our calling by letting us know that what we did ten years ago really impacted his life. To be honest, we didn’t really do much other than teach them by example. We wanted them to see what it looked like to live for Christ, the true catalyst here is the work of the Holy Spirit in his life.”

One of the biggest challenges that Escalante has had to face is going to church in an all-American environment. “I have always been used to going to the opposite, an all Hispanic congregation, so that was a big change for all of us. Now that I see it, I can see that it was a change we needed to make. Our children are second generation Hispanics, which means they know the culture and language but prefer to speak and learn primarily in English,” he said.

Escalante would encourage IWU students with this simple message: “Life has a funny way of sorting itself out – learn to enjoy and accept every stage of it.”




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

Pastor of the Week: Josh Lavender

By: Dezaray Barr

Josh Lavender

Joshua Lavender graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) in 2012 with a degree in Church Music. He went on to obtain his Master’s in Worship Studies from The Institute for Worship Studies. He’s currently studying for his doctorate from the same institution.

Lavender is now the Worship Pastor at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. He shared, “One unique thing about our church is our commitment to ‘equip the saints for works of service.’ Our gatherings are more like a mobilization center for God’s people than an evangelistic event for unbelievers. Our hope is that by focusing on equipping God’s people in our gatherings, we will learn to live evangelism every day of the week.”

Lavender said that IWU set him on the path that he’s walking today. He explained, “I will never forget the commitment to excellence ‘Prof’ (Dr. Guy) taught us in Chorale, the passion for prayer Umfundisi (Jim Lo) modeled for the student body or the burden for right worship Dr. Cherry instilled in her students. My experiences at IWU set the trajectory for me to study worship and serve in the local church. For that I am deeply grateful.”

Lavender said that he’s reminded of his call to ministry when at least once a week someone in his church’s staff office says, “I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life…”

He also said, “Whether it is when my church is remembering our unity at the Lord’s table, celebrating with new Christians being baptized into God’s family or serving the poor downtown, I am constantly being reminded that there is nothing else I want to do with my life than serve God and His people.”

Lavender and Trinity Church’s staff

Instead of explaining something he’s overcome in his life, Lavender explained that he is currently growing in a specific area. “I consistently feel the hurried current of consumerism,” he said. “Whether it is in my everyday life or our church’s worship gatherings, I am learning to resist the urge to rush. I am increasingly convinced that I can’t microwave things that slow cook… that efficiency can hinder development.”

Ephesians 3:20-21 is one of the passages God has stamped on his heart: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.”

Some fun facts about Lavender include that he loves tea. He has a proclivity for growing plants, and, “I talk about holiness and formation way too much,” he said. “I love reading and talking about liturgy and theology among other nerdy things.”

Lavender would encourage every IWU student to be bold! He said, “Don’t wait for people to reach out to you; initiate relationship. Show love without evaluating whether other people will reciprocate. Decide that no one will feel unloved in your presence! Not so you can have a ton of friends, though that may be the result, but so you can be like Jesus.”



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