The Education and Clergy Development Division of The Wesleyan Church is preparing to celebrate a historic marker: its 100th FLAME event, which will take place in Frankfort, Ind., August 5-9. It is anticipated that between 200 and 300 people will attend.
FLAME (Fellowship of Leaders Acquiring Ministerial Education) is an adult education option for second-career and transferring ministerial students. It provides an education opportunity for those who cannot afford the tuition or time needed to enroll in a traditional ministerial program. A total of 2,200 people have attended at least one FLAME event, participated in over 700 classes, and filled over 11,000 class seats since Rev. Wayne Richards founded the program in 1998. This will be Wayne’s 100th FLAME event, after which he will be transitioning out of the Division of Education and Clergy Development. General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon and others will be honoring him in Frankfort.
To prepare its students for effective ministry, FLAME offers events and classes that focus on spiritual renewal, education, and reflection on the call. In doing so, it also encourages networking, relationship building, and accountability. Numbers of volunteers from all across North America have dedicated their time and service to past and present FLAME events, and over 100 distinguished professors have taught at FLAME—including Dr. Phil Bence (who has taught at 63 events) and Dr. Jim Dunn (who has taught at 49 events).
“God bless our universities for giving us what I consider some of our best leaders,” says Dr. Steve DeNeff of College Wesleyan Church in Marion, Ind. “But God bless FLAME for giving us what may be our best chance at revival.”
Bobby Tolson, a previous attendee, says that “I left [FLAME] filled with the love of Christ.” Another student, Todd R. Berner, agrees and adds, “I was blessed by my experience at FLAME to gain a much deeper understanding of sanctification through the teaching of Dr. Bence.”
To further celebrate its 100th event, FLAME is open to the entire family of current and past ministerial students. The program will feature a “family camp” atmosphere, complete with full-day tracks for teens and children. The various youth and children’s pastors leading these tracks will help younger attendees grow in God while forging new friendships. The camp will also include family-oriented activities in the evenings, such as a family movie night, family communion service, and making s’mores around a campfire. In doing so, FLAME hopes to spark the whole family to reach for a higher spiritual excellence.
Education and Clergy Development generally hosts 8 to 9 FLAME events per year. To learn more about FLAME and how you can get involved, please visit the program’s main website. Here, you will find registration information for future events and a deeper explanation of the program and its classes. You can also learn more on the Wesleyan FLAME Facebook page or the FLAME YouTube channel.