Tag Archives: Christian Education

Youth Ministries at IWU

Speaker, Zach Coffin, praying for the FUSION students.

“At the close of chapel, IWU student Olivia Eckart invited the student body to seek the face of Jesus in a new and fresh way. Students responded in mass and the service was extended for another three hours as students prayed with each other, prayed over each other and testified of mountains being moved in their lives.”

I marvel at the number of times people comment on the spiritual atmosphere at Indiana Wesleyan University in conversations with me.  It is often stated in words such as these, “it isn’t just words – this is truly a Christ-centered school – the spiritual atmosphere in this place is truly amazing.”  We know it is true.  We also know this is something we can’t manufacture or for which we can take personal credit.  But we often see the beautiful transformations in student’s lives happening before our eyes.

I have a genuine concern for the young people of today.  This world is perceptively crafty in creating avenues for temptation and peril at every turn.  Our Christian young people need to be incredibly strong to traverse their adolescent years without falling into any of the many available pitfalls along the way.

In the midst of it all, the Word of God rings true:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.  Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”  Romans 12:1-2

Charlie Alcock, Professor of Youth Ministries

Understanding how vital it is to provide a place where teens can encounter God and be encouraged to walk in His ways, faculty member and Youth Ministry Professor, Charlie Alcock, has led the charge in orchestrating opportunities for young people to come to IWU for fabulous, Christ-centered conferences during their middle school and high school years.  The results are inspiring.  I want to share Charlie’s update about the most recent Fusion event:

On April 6 and 7, the Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) Student Ministries Department held its annual FUSION high school youth conference on the Marion, Indiana, campus. The conference featured Cory Asbury of Bethel Worship, Maddie Ray (artist), Zach Coffin (speaker), Olivia Eckart (worship leader), as well as seminar speakers Amanda Drury, Jim Lo, John Bundick, Kasey DeMicheal, Jacob Murphy and Anthony Cottrell.

Nine hundred seventy (970) youth registered for the weekend conference from 112 different churches. They were joined by IWU students and Marion community members in a Friday night worship service with over 3,200 in attendance.

Cory Asbury and Bethel Worship performing during FUSION.

FUSION 2018 started with the IWU chapel service featuring Cory Asbury of Bethel worship and speaker Zach Coffin. At the close of chapel, IWU student Olivia Eckart invited the student body to seek the face of Jesus in a new and fresh way. Students responded in mass and the service was extended for another three hours as students prayed with each other, prayed over each other and testified of mountains being moved in their lives. Stories of healing, financial miracles and recovery were blended with students seeking forgiveness and confessing publicly. It was an amazing movement that extended into the Friday night worship gathering and into Saturday. Not only were the two main sessions filled with Spirit-led worship and commitments, life changes and new commitments also occurred in the seminars.

Reports surfaced of classes becoming sanctuaries as one Tuesday night class the following week began with a short report about FUSION and ended over two hours later with students praying for one another and testifying of life changes. One class this week saw five students proclaiming Jesus as Lord or rededicating their lives to Him.

What a privilege it is to love these high school students and their leaders. Thank you to all the pastors, youth pastors and volunteer leaders who made the journey, some driving more than 20 hours. You are heroes and hero-makers.”

The first weekend of May, Charlie and his team will welcome over 1,300 middle school students to IWU for the Never2Young conference.  I can only imagine what great things will come from this weekend.  Thank you, Charlie, along with your staff for leading our youth to know and experience our great God!


Probing the Evangelical Mind

The religious historian George Mardsen once defined an evangelical Christian as “anyone who likes Billy Graham.”

A few years later, when the famous evangelist was asked what the term meant, he was at a loss for words. “Actually, that’s a question I’d like to ask somebody too,” Graham said.

Fast forward to 2017, and the definition of the term “evangelical” has become even more clouded. For that reason, I am honored to join with Jay Hein, President of the Sagamore Institute, in hosting a gathering of Christian scholars to discuss what it means to be an evangelical.

Level Mansion

The symposium, “The State of the Evangelical Mind: Reflections Upon the Past, Prospects for the Future,” will convene September 21-22 at the historic Levey mansion, which houses the Sagamore Institute, in downtown Indianapolis.

The Sagamore Institute, which came to life in 2004, was intentionally located in America’s heartland to avoid the noise and rancor coming from Washington, D.C. The Institute’s mission is to tackle difficult issues with civility and focus on solutions not theology. Before becoming president of the Institute, Hein was the director of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives under former President George W. Bush.

Other partnering sponsors of the symposium, in addition to the Sagamore Institute and Indiana Wesleyan University, are Christianity Today, and Excelsia College in Australia. The Lumen Research Institute, a joint initiative sponsored by IWU and Excelsia, is planning the event.

You can find more information about the conference at lumenresearchinstitute.org.

Evangelicalism, however one defines it, finds itself at the intersection of a host of crossroads. After decades of relative prosperity in North America, the churches, universities and seminaries that evangelicals cultivate, populate and depend upon for leadership are wrestling with legal, social and ultimately theological questions on a wide variety of fronts.

For many, the financial challenges that compelled Christianity Today to close Books and Culture after 21 years were tangible expressions of those challenges.

This symposium offers a context in which participants can reflect upon that past but also think critically about the prospects for the future of the evangelical mind.

Confirmed keynote speakers for the event include:

  • Mark A. Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor Emeritus of History, University of Notre Dame.
  • Jo Anne Lyon, former General Superintendent and current Ambassador for The Wesleyan Church.
  • Timothy Larsen, Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought, Wheaton College.
  • Lauren F. Winner, Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality, Duke University Divinity School.
  • James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy and the Gary and Henrietta Byker Chair in Applied Reformed Theology and Worldview, Calvin College.
  • David Mahan – Executive Director of the Rivendell Institute at Yale
  • Don Smedley – Senior Fellow of the Rivendell Institute at Yale

John Wilson will be honored during the symposium for his long and remarkable service as founder and editor of Books and Culture.