The Wesley Seminary & Billion Soul Network Join Forces To Train Ministers Worldwide
September 12, 2017
Dear Visionary Leader,
The Billion Soul Network and the Wesley Seminary are synergizing their expertise and efforts together to help train pastors and Christian leaders for powerful, lifetime ministry. For many years the leaders of both Indiana Wesleyan University (IWU) and The Wesleyan Church prayed about launching a seminary that would maintain high academic standards while also being inexpensive, accessible and very practical. A seminary was envisioned where courses were team-taught by theologians and practitioners, which could be offered online or onsite to bi-vocational adults and where weekly assignments could be applied directly to the student’s local ministry.
Then in April 2009 the IWU Board of Trustees voted to create a new seminary with a practical and student-centered approach for busy working ministers. There are several factors that have created this remarkably practical, accessible and fast-growing seminary.
First, the parent denomination of IWU owns one college and five universities, but has never had an official seminary. With 85 percent of Wesleyan ministers not possessing a seminary degree, Wesley Seminary provided both accessibility and affordability.
Secondly, IWU has a healthy and time-tested infrastructure that can support this endeavor. Many seminaries struggle financially, but IWU possesses the resources to effectively undergird this initiative.
Thirdly, there is a growing awareness in the seminary world that ministerial education needs to be done in a new and accessible way. It is becoming increasingly difficult for ministers and their families to pick up and move to a seminary for three or four years, followed by another move upon graduation. The new Wesley Seminary model allows ministers to stay in their current ministry setting while attending seminary.
And finally, research suggests that traditional seminaries are struggling to prepare ministers for the realities of practical ministry. By combining team-taught courses of theologians and practitioners with weekly homework that can applied to one’s local ministry, the seven years, Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University has grown to over 500 students.
I believe the Lord wants us to unequivocally to keep the cutting-edge in our ministry. Over the last several weeks, we have been walking through an Old Testament story about a young man, who lost the cutting-edge in his life. In 2 Kings: 6:1-8, we see that Elisha’s ministry had grown so large, they had to relocate and build a larger facility. Hundreds of young future prophets were being trained under the tutelage of Elisha.
After they moved to a new location, the story focuses on a young man who was cutting down trees in order to help with this building project. Over a period of time, the axehead gradually worked off the axe handle and landed in the Jordan River. Through a series of questions and actions, Elisha through the power of God was able to help this young man to recover the cutting edge in his life. In our previous lessons, we learned that we must admit it’s loss, acknowledge it’s loan and affirm it’s locality. Today, we will learn that:
We Must Allow Its Liberation
This young prophet is not going to try to recover by human force what he lost by human fault. After he shows a Elisha the exact place where he lost it, Elisha throws a limb into the water. When the limb lands on the water, the axehead that is down at the bottom of river bed, floats to the top of the water and it literally swims against the current.
If we were to create a think tank on the best methods to recover the cutting edge, the committee would not conclude that the best way to recover the axhead at the bottom of the river bed, was to throw a limb on the top of the water! We would have devised different ways as to diving into the water to find the axehead, bringing it to the surface and putting it back on the axehead. Yet, all of us know, God’s ways are higher than our ways and God’s methods are always the best ones to apply to our lives. Regardless, as to whether it seems logical or not, God’s divine methods are the best effective ways to victory and success.
Often, we hear “the message never changes but the methods always do.” I would like for you to consider something with me. I believe that there are methods in the Bible that are always divinely inspired and never change. These methods are never outdated and always updated for a time and culture. These methods include tithing, offerings, intercessory prayer, church planting, worship, personally evangelism, Bible reading and many more.
When the Lord gives us a method, even though it may not make sense, we are to act on it. When we act on what God has told us, it becomes faith for us and causes God to act on our behalf. We must allow God to liberate it for us!
Unless we have the miraculous in our life, it will not be possible for us to continue to live with the cutting edge in our ministries. I encourage you to step out in faith and ask our risen Lord to perform miracles in your life, your family and ministry today!
Until The Last Person Has Heard,
Dr. James. O. Davis
Cofounder / Billion Soul Network
Cochair / Global Networking