For Dr. Cathy Freytag, teaching is more than instruction—it’s pastoral work. Her day-to-day ministry to her students is fueled by the time she spends each week with her church family.

Pastor-teacher at Houghton College

Cathy teaches in Houghton College’s Education Department.

“My work is my worship,” she shares. “That seems particularly evident to me in this season working at Houghton.”

Cathy came to Houghton 15 years ago after teaching K12 students with disabilities in Orlando, Florida. While studying for her doctoral degree in education, Cathy felt God prompting her to prepare teachers at the college level, particularly at Houghton.

“God has called me to Houghton to be a pastor-teacher to my students,” explains Cathy. “I’m not here just to teach, but to shepherd college students as they’re finding their vocation.”

“I have opportunities to minister to my students daily,” she shares.

“At church, I’m just Cathy.”

When Cathy talks about family, she’s referring to her church. Cathy has been a member of Fillmore Wesleyan Church for 14 years, a place she’s come to call home.

“There was a little bit more ceremony around the membership than I was expecting,” recalls Cathy. “I viewed it as a marriage commitment. They are a family to me, and I am family to them.

The congregation at Fillmore Wesleyan is diverse, something that first attracted Cathy.

“I wanted to have diverse circles of people part of my life. It’s great to go to church and just be ‘Cathy,’ not Dr. Freytag,” Cathy laughs.

At Fillmore Wesleyan, Cathy has experienced loving, inclusive community.

“There’s always room to grow, and there’s always room for more in our community. We take care of each other.”

From Church to the Classroom

Cathy views her teaching ministry directly related to her time spent each week at Fillmore Wesleyan.

Though Cathy has taught Sunday school, led worship, hosted small groups and served on the leadership board at Fillmore, she views her role at Houghton as her primary ministry.

“Much of my day-to-day ministry is shepherding my students. I see that as an extension of my membership at Fillmore,” Cathy explains.

As part of Fillmore and Houghton, Cathy gained a broader understanding of her gift as a teacher.

“My spiritual giftedness has been morphed and refined a bit over time,” she explains. “Not only do I have teaching and leadership gifts, but also shepherding, nurturing and mentorship.”

“My ministry is to pour my heart and soul into the college students God has placed in my life.”

Gaby Garver is a 2016 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University. She currently lives in Istanbul, Turkey where she works as an editor for the Daily Sabah newspaper. Her favorite pastimes are cooking for friends, writing and camping