It might have been 8 a.m. when College Day 2017 started, but the nearly 70 ministerial students attending were energetic and ready to get a firsthand look at the ins and outs of The Wesleyan Church Headquarters. Students and faculty traveled from the denomination’s five major schools (Houghton College, Indiana Wesleyan University, Kingswood University, Oklahoma Wesleyan University and Southern Wesleyan University) with aspirations to learn more about the history and operations of The Wesleyan Church. Education and Clergy Development (ECD)sponsored and hosted the students.

Students were advised to sit with attendees from other schools as a method to get to know their peers. They were introduced to Dr. Russ Gunsalus, ECD executive director, and Rev. Dave Higle, director of Clergy Care.

Dr. Dave Ward, IWU associate professor of homiletics and practical theology, challenged students to write down their definition of being “called.” Students engaged with others at their table after the reflective exercise.

Gunsalus reminded attendees how important it is to remember they are unique and special in God’s eyes. He encouraged them to continuously think about their purpose that only they can fulfill.

Higle spoke about the importance of thriving and taking care of not only their spiritual bodies but also their physical, mental, financial and social states. He shared the dangers of burnout and encouraged the students to reach out should they ever feel overwhelmed.

The event switched gears when Higle interviewed David Drury, chief of staff for The Wesleyan Church. Drury talked about the significance and importance of joining the denomination.

The event concluded with special speed ministry networking in which representatives from each headquarters division spoke with students on their mission and how they operate. The entire day was sealed with a special prayer as all of the attendees came together to encourage one another in their journey and future endeavors.

“Our students were thrilled to be able to attend,” said Dr. Janet Starks, vice president of academic affairs for Kingswood. “They all said a resounding ‘Yes!’ that the day was worth the four days of driving. They appreciated the opportunity to put faces and personalities to names and to feel supported and encouraged by the denomination.”