Rev. Dave Ward’s first experience with Indiana Wesleyan University occurred when Dave was a student of Christian Ministries. “IWU was a very spiritually transforming place for me. It took my Christianity from a relatively external state to a deeply internal one,” Dave remarks. After graduating from IWU, he left and became the pastor at Warsaw Wesleyan. During and after seminary, Dave began to travel and preach. He also began training other preachers.
Now, at IWU, as a Professor of Homiletics, Dave continues to travel and preach because as he puts it: “it is hard to teach preaching without continuing to preach.” He also continues to travel and train preachers all over the world. “Having the opportunity to train pastors all over the world is a great source of joy for me,” Dave shares, “There is a joyful cross-cultural engagement with preaching and all of the different expressions that happen. It is hard to beat for me.” Dave doesn’t feel like he is working when he is teaching or sharing with other preachers. “I really just love what I do,” he says.
Dave shared the passion he has about his calling at Indiana Wesleyan as a professor: “The reason I am here at Indiana Wesleyan is because I feel this is where the church has called me to be. Everything we do here in the School of Theology and Ministry is to serve the local church. When we are training, educating, mentoring, and sending out ministers, we are doing it for the purpose of serving the local church. If you want to catch a glimpse of my heart and the heart of this school you must know all we do here is for God’s ministry.”
At IWU, Dave enjoys interfacing with ministerial students who are in various stages of their call. Some students are taking their first steps in ministerial classes and others who take his graduate classes are about to embark on the next part of their journey. “I enjoy watching students find a gift they didn’t know they had or when I have the opportunity to fan the flame others have already confirmed.” Dave says, “In a feedback session after a sermon is preached in the classroom, the class is often surprised at what emerges. In a way we act as the church by blessing the students who have preached and by helping them name their gifting.”
Dave believes if you want to “grow” a preacher, you must “grow” the whole person. “Everything you are comes into each preaching moment.” he explains, “It is not always explicitly said in words; there is a lot more being communicated. If the whole person has not been grown, there is a lack of depth and it is irreplaceable.” Dave urges preachers to open passages for their sermons and to begin studying them sooner rather than later. “The earlier in the game studying takes place, the easier the sermon process will be because the scripture is able to soak into the heart and mind with guidance from the Spirit.” Ward explains.
Aside from his teaching and preaching ventures, Dave is married to his wife of 17 years— Holly—and they have three children. “My kids are my main ministry,” Dave shares, “I don’t see raising them as separate from my calling; discipling them is one of the greatest calls of my life.”
Check out some of Dave’s sermons on wesleyansermons.com where he has been airing a sermon series called Fresh Brew.