Sunday, March 28, 2010

Dustin Krantz--Apprentice Youth Minister

Dustin graduated just last year (2009) with a CM degree. When he was here he was involved at College Wesleyan church and he especially focused on the college ministry of seven47. He was always active in classes and his ever-present smile in classes always made me want to continue teaching another year!

Dustin started looking for internships the summer before his final year. He wanted to serve as an intern before launching into a full ministry position. He found a church who said they were interested in his coming for a summer, but they wanted someone who would consider coming back after graduation for the possibility of filling a full time position—as a continuing full-year intern. He took that summer internship, and sure enough he then went on staff as an “apprentice” there after he graduated.

Dustin is at Crossroads Christian Church, a non-denominational Christian Church in Evansville, Indiana where the weekly attendance is about 3700. The high school ministry has 150 students at the Sunday night program and 200 students involved in house groups on a weekly basis. The church had been without a high school pastor for three years when Dustin joined the staff so the department head over student ministries had been fulfilling this role. That department head developed the plan of which he is now a part.

Dustin (with a second recent graduate of Johnson Bible College) are both in a 1 year apprenticeship where they are mentored under the counsel of the department head (who has thirty years of youth ministry experience). At the end of this year the church will decide if it wants to take one or the other or both of them on as high school pastors.

There are two high school campuses they work with so each of them takes one school. Dustin is in a school that is very open to ministries, so he is coaching the defensive line for the varsity football team where he makes vital contacts. Te church is seeing incredible growth in the youth ministry, and Dustin is excited. So am I. Dustin shows how a student can leverage a summer internship into a year-long apprenticeship which gets him wonderful experience that leads to full time full pay work there or elsewhere. I’m proud of you Dustin!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tom Cochran--church Planter in Wabash

I forgot exactly when Tom Cochran graduated from IWU but he and Sarah are making me proud==along with Matt Cox!

I knew Tom as a student and I remember that he was always a steady and hard-working student—he was always sparking his small group to work harder and can still picture him as a “nodder”—not the kind of nodder who nods to sleep but the kind who nods during a lecture affirming what the teacher is saying egging me on. (I always need at least one in class!).

Last month (2/2010) Tom bit off a huge challenge. He held his first service in a new Wesleyan church plant in Wabash, Indiana—the New Journey Community Church. There were 123 people attending his first service at the “Honeywell center” there. I’m thrilled! I’ve been involved with two church plants myself as a “layman” and getting more than a hundred people out for the first service is a gigantic accomplishment!

Kudos to Tom and Sarah—and to Matt Cox who is also helping out on staff! A number of people already become Christians as a result of their work in Wabash, several in the very first service. A lot of the students I teach want to plant churches so I’m especially happy to tell them about graduates like Tom Cochran who didn’t just dream but actually did it! If you want to hear Tom on this new church, see his video here. I’m proud of you Tom! People like you make teaching ministry student worth it all!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Eddie Smith--SWU

Eddie Smith was impossible to miss when he was in a class. His energy, craziness and active participation made all his professors look forward to him. He was a fantastic note-taker. I remember one time his note-taking got him in trouble with Bud Bence. Dr. Bence noticed that one of his 7:50 classes had simply “gone dead.” Students seemed glazed over and few even took any notes. They listened but when he said something obviously important nobody wrote it down. It shook Bence—he thought maybe he had lost his magical touch. Then he discovered that Eddie Smith was taking perfect notes each day and emailing them to the rest of the class. Upon getting the notes the rest of the class realized they’d never be able to capture Bence as well as Eddie did so they just checked out and waited for their email from Eddie. (I think Bence talked him out of that, but if I recall correctly he persuaded Eddie to give HIM a copy of the notes—who knows, maybe he’s using Eddie’s notes now in his lectures!

Eddie graduated in 2001 and began his ministry as a sort of intern at the Wesleyan Headquarters in the Evangelism & Church Growth department under (now a General Superintendent) Jerry Pence. Then he spent two years as the youth pastor at Mt. Zion Wesleyan Church in North Carolina before moving to IWU’s sister school, Southern Wesleyan University where he has worked in admissions since 2004. I’ve always sort of seen Eddie as a church planter—he has just the sort of personality that attracts people and he has always been able to “call out” people, which is why he’s been good at admissions I bet. It has been nine years since Eddie graduated and every one of his profs still remember him well. That’s saying something—after all since Eddie graduated from IWU we have had more than a thousand students pass through the Religion Division (now “School of Theology and Ministry”). But if you know Eddie that’s not hard to imagine. Eddie we are all proud of you!

For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you? 1 Thessalonians 2:19 (NIV)

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Kelsi Adkins, Pastor of Families with Children

Kelsi Adkins had a double major at IWU (Christians Education & Worship) and was always alert and full of energy in her classes. We all missed her when she graduated in 2008. When she was in college she did her practicum work at Hanfield UM church and also worked in her home church over a couple summer in Chillicothe, Ohio. When she graduated she moved to Indianapolis where she got an apartment with Kelly Reynen. With her CE degree she passed the tests and becmae a teacher in Indianapolis Schools and also did some preaching on the side as she worked on her Master’s degree at Marian College in Indy and she juggled several options for her life’s calling.

When Kelsi moved to Indy she started attending Grace Pointe Church of the Nazarene on the west side. She had been attending there for a little over a year when the pastor preached a sermon where he mentioned about the need for our church to hire a children’s pastor. This church had never had one before, even though the church is a fairly good size. In that service Kelsi heard the Lord spoke to her about this opportunity. So she approached the pastor immediately after that service. So this CE-Worship graduate who was now a public school teacher interviewed with the board and got a unanimous vote.

That was last fall. She started in her full time church ministry job in December, 2009. Her title: “Pastor of Families with Children.” As soon as she finishes her Master’s degree this May she will begin the credentials process for ministry in the Church of the Nazarene

Kelsi is one of those students who finally settled her call to the ministry after graduation, though she sensed it before. As a single woman in ministry she has faced some challenges. Just six weeks after she took over as a pastor a family of seven left the church because the husband refused to be under her leadership in the children’s department since she was a woman. But she has an incredibly supportive and mentoring senior pastor who takes such things in stride. Here’s the way she puts it: “I won’t sugarcoat things, but I can say that denying the call would be much worse than braving the opposition.” Kelsi I’m proud of you!