We are now a year and a half into Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University and I thought I would give an update since I haven't really said much since we ramped up what seems like so long ago. Here are some highlights:
1. Our first MDIV cohorts are now half way through their degree program. They've taken a 6 hour course on the Missional Church, a course on Leadership, a course on Worship, and now they are in a course on Proclamation. They've taken spiritual formation courses in which they've looked at change, at themselves, at goals, and now they're beginning a course on being mentored. Many of them came to campus to take courses on cultural contexts, on tools and aspects of Scripture in ministry, on Christian theology.
2. We have about 9 cohorts of MDIV students (over 100 students), adding to about 100 MA students. The leading groups feel a little like guinea pigs, but hopefully they're not too scarred. We've had a quick revision loop to try to improve things, which means they've seen some changes every semester as we have tried to get things right.
3. We have 4 full time faculty now and hope to add 2 or 3 more this Spring. We started with Bob Whitesel, consultant extraordinaire, added Charles Arn, omnipresent online professor. Then the second year we added John Drury the theologian and Lenny Luchetti the proclaimer.
Since every practice course is team taught with independent Bible, theology, church history, and integration professors dropped into the mix with the practice professor, we have this semester 3 additional individuals adjuncting Bible assignments (including Steve Lennox onsite), 3 additional individuals adjuncting theology assignments (including Chris Bounds), 3 additional individuals adjuncting church history assignments (including Bud Bence), and 4 additional individuals adjuncting our purgatorial Integration Paper assignments. Thanks to all those who have been willing to enrich our students for some extra change!
4. Wayne Schmidt continues to do a masterful job leading the seminary. His vision is for a seminary that looks like Revelation 7:9. He and Joanne Solis-Walker have created a Hispanic version of our MDIV, whose first all Spanish cohort will begin in March. He has continued good relations with the AME church in Indiana that Russ Gunsalus forged at the beginning. He is the right person in the right place doing the right thing, full of wisdom and stature and favor with God and all the people.
5. Our infrastructure continues to grow. Karen Clark and Nate Smith in the office are a machine beyond belief. Nate Lamb and Dianne Clark are an incredibly efficient and welcoming gateway to the seminary. We are in the process of hiring Spanish speaking admissions and enrollment specialists. And of course we have great office help like the ever efficient Joel Leichty.
6. We are in dialog with many possible venues for cohorts ranging from having them at Bethany in Canada to New Zealand to South Carolina. What I usually say is that if someone in our network can find 15 students for a cohort, we can start a cohort. Certainly such groups can do their intensives in Marion. But we can explore other locations too. For example, anyone is welcome to sign up for a one week intensive elective at 12Stone church in Atlanta this summer, June 1-7, called "Church Laboratory."
Even if you do not want to join an MA or MDIV, you can sign up for a one time course. Are you looking to be ordained in the Wesleyan Church and already have a bachelor's degree? Why do FLAME for no credit? You can take Wesleyan Church History and Polity online for 8 weeks starting in March. We regularly offer Theology of Holiness in the same format and will be offering it going forward online as an elective each Fall. Charles Arn is doing an 8 week online course in Welcoming Newcomers in March as well. Lenny Luchetti is teaching Narrative Preaching onsite for a week in May. I'm teaching Hebrew for Ministry for 8 weeks online or onsite in Indy starting May 31.
You don't have to join a degree to take courses in the seminary. Just find something you like and take the class.
7. I have never been busier. The last two practice courses--Congregational Formation and Congregational Relationships--are in the writing. After that, I will feel like I have played the role God especially called me to do. We will apply for ATS accreditation this October on schedule. We are setting up an amazing assessment system with the wonderful Chalk and Wire people. We continue to eat together, pray together, and very dear to my heart, drink coffee together.
Thanks to God for letting me be a part of this amazing work!