October 2009


Arn-9s

This week we want to feature our very own Charles Arn, Visiting Professor, indeed the first newly hired professor at the seminary.  Renowned church health expert, omnipresent in online classes, and a model of diligence, God has introduced Dr. Arn to a talent he didn’t even know he had this year–the gift of (online) teaching.  We asked him to give a brief word this week:

“What a day we live in!  Students from New Zealand, Panama, Florida, California, and just around the block in Marion, Indiana…all participating in the same seminary class!  That’s the make up of our first online cohort of students at Wesley Seminary.  And it is my privilege to facilitate this class of 20 enthusiastic learners. 

Over the years I have had more than a few veteran pastors say to me: ‘I wish I had learned that in seminary.’  Happily, I don’t expect to hear that from Wesley Seminary graduates, because of the strong commitment by faculty and administration to preparing learners for the ‘real world’—in every class.  In fact, before students are even accepted into the program they must be in a ministry setting where they can apply their learnings each week.  We are already seeing churches benefit from our students’ insights, as illustrated in this note I received yesterday from a senior pastor whose youth director is enrolled at Wesley Seminary:

‘The information on church lifecycles that he brought from your class has been an integral part of our church’s 30th anniversary vision chats.  Thanks so much for all you’re doing.’

To be honest, I have no interest in creating ‘busy work’ for tomorrow’s pastors.  (Nor, I think, do they have an interest in pursuing such.)  That is why I am so excited about helping to pursue the vision of Wesley Seminary—to prepare future church leaders to be world changers through their congregations in pursuit the Christ’s Great Commission. 

All aboard…

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Back in August, Keith Drury preached the inaugural seminary convocation sermon.  It was a lovely service and one we plan to have every August.  All are welcome!

Keith Drury has posted his sermon notes on one of his blogs.  It was a truly “good” sermon…

I think most of our first two cohorts are enjoying the “pioneer” nature of this first praxis course, Missional Church.  By pioneer I mean to say that we are experimenting, seeing what works, what everyone can handle, what is most beneficial.  It brings a certain freshness to what we’re doing. 

Being able to promote under a name and a permanent head has already helped recruiting.  Apparently the phone was ringing this week!  We continue to wrestle with finding the balance of not requiring too much work for individuals we have not just allowed but required to be involved in extensive ministry.  Needless to say, it’s been demanding for those who are full time pastors to fit in 7 credit hours worth of classes each week!

One of the iconic assignments I’ve mentioned here before is the “Integration Paper.”  On Friday students turned in biblical research toward a particular pastoral issue they identified back in Week 3.  I spent quite a bit of time developing a sample to go along with the process as it currently stands:

1. Week 4 they identify passages relevant to the pastoral issue.
2. Week 5 they brainstorm the meaning of each passage primarily taking into account the immediate and broader literary context of the passages.
3. Week 6 they look at commentaries and find relevant background information.
4. Week 7 they draw conclusions on the original meanings of the passages and turn all this research in.

The process will now move into phase two–theological and historical research.

Wesley Seminary

We finally have a name, a logo, and a permanent head: “Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University.”  The website is very well done: http://wesley.indwes.edu.  And our permanent fearless leader is the Rev. Dr. Wayne

Wayne Schmidt

Schmidt, who has been a pastor and church planter at Kentwood Community Church in Michigan outside Grand Rapids for 30 years.  Thanks to God for great beginnings!