You'll be happy to know that I've reached the end of this hundred page journey through the story of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University as I have experienced and reflected on it. I leave the story with hopefulness for the future.
1. I predict my departure will work out for good. Every couple years, something needs to happen to change things up, to provoke a new look at things. What things was I doing that would be better for others to do? What things wasn't I doing that someone different will do? Where do I have blind spots that new eyes will see?
2. It wouldn't be bad if the next Dean ate and slept a little more of the administrative side of things than I did. Now, mind you, I don't mean someone who will create a "managerial culture." That would be death. This is what I think of when I think of that.
3. I predict Wesley will continue to grow. It has a winning formula: a never-endingly, networking leader, an outstanding faculty, expanding degrees and venues, and an ingenious admissions director.
A couple weeks ago, after a meeting, I had a two minute side conversation with Jeff Boyce of the Devoe School of Business. The next thing you know, we may be launching a specialization for the MA in something like executive management.
So we met with Jeff last Tuesday. During the meeting, Joanne Solis-Walker texted me asking what we would need to do to offer our MPTh in Spanish. Nothing really, just translate that part of the catalog. A nod from Wayne. A walk down to Aaron's office. That's another wrap.
"I love this place," Aaron said.
4. Wesley serves the primary needs of the church. It primarily serves those who would not normally go to seminary. It serves them by giving them the tools to do the work of the ministry. When the Seminary started, we figured that 85% of Wesleyan ministers didn't go to seminary.
I assume that has already changed noticeably, because more and more Wesleyan ministers are coming to Wesley. We have the whole spectrum of students, ranging from those who could have gone to the most academic seminaries out there, to those who have little prior training. I've long felt that there is a disconnect among churches who require seminary. Sometimes they think that they are the majority of pastors.
They aren't. The vast majority of pastors in America never go to seminary. I believe they should be the primary target audience of Wesley.
5. So what will be on that plaque in four years, the plaque capturing what the second five years of the Seminary was known for? Since we are in a strategic planning phase, I think I can hazard some guesses. Remember those signature items the Seminary Board defined back at the very beginning? They are well underway.
We already have four course specializations in Church Planting and Multiplication and Church Health and Revitalization. Just maybe the Seminary will have one relating to Ethnic and Multi-Cultural Ministry within the next couple years.
That leaves two more signature areas. Again, both are well underway. We are already in the process of partnering with three teaching churches. No doubt more will come. And we are already engaged in global ministerial training. No doubt more will come.
6. I can also now announce that Patrick Eby will be joining the faculty July 1 this year. His specialty is in church history, Charles Wesley in particular. Wesley will become a partner with the Manchester Wesley Studies Center in England July 1 as well. With Bob Whitesel, Colleen Derr, and Patrick all experts in various aspects of applied Wesley Studies, there may be something on that plague in this area as well. Who knows?
What an amazing thing to have been a part of, six years a Dean!
Previously on Seminary take-aways:
1. There are key moments of opportunity.
2. You need the right people.
3. Good leaders collaborate and navigate.
Year 1: Launch Year
4. Innovation requires some trial and error. (1)
5. Innovation requires some trial and error. (2)
6. Innovation requires some trial and error. (3)
7. New leaders bring new strengths. (1)
Year 2: Growing Pains
8. Administration never ends.
9. New leaders bring new strengths. (2)
10. New leaders bring new strengths. (3)
Year 3: The Year of Maturity
11. Complexity works against sustainability.
12. There are advantages to being embedded in a broader university. (1)
13. There are advantages to being embedded in a broader university. (2)
14. Our guinea pigs survived.
Year 4: The Year of the Faculty
15. Faculty share governance with administration. (1)
16. Faculty share governance with administration. (2)
17. Faculty share governance with administration. (3)
18. Faculty share governance with administration. (4)
19. Growth means addition. (1)
20. Growth means addition. (2)
21. Growth means addition. (3)
Year 5: The Year of Accreditation
22. Don't underestimate the power of a symbol.
23. A good reputation is much to be desired.
24. Sustainability needs reliable infrastructure.
25. Important decisions often involve trade-offs.
Year 6: Launching the Future
26. Good leaders look for opportunities.
27. Online programs tend to cannibalize equivalent onsite ones.
28. You can be practical on the doctoral level.
29. What's in a Dean?
The Next Phase of Schenck
Top Ten Leadership Lessons I've Learned