A future for ONE

By Dr. Wayne Lewis

Wesleyan educational institutions nurture, equip and prepare each student to lean into being a transforming presence for Christ.


The mission of the Christ-centered college is unique and special. There is no shortage of colleges and universities where young people can prepare for jobs and careers. However, there are very few intentionally and unapologetically Christ-centered universities where students can prayerfully discern and prepare to live out God's purpose for their lives. To the glory of God, The Wesleyan Church has five such institutions, where each and every student is nurtured and equipped to be a transforming presence for Jesus Christ, salt and light, in a dark and dying world.

I am convinced that something remarkable is happening with this generation of college students. The recent outpouring at Asbury University and subsequent expressions on campuses around North America are but a few examples.

As Houghton University’s president, I have the privilege of regularly seeing how God speaks to and works in the lives of young adults. I am privileged to build and nurture relationships with students earnestly seeking God’s voice and direction. Some students have only recently come to know Jesus as their Lord and Savior and are in the beginning stages of intentional relationship building with him. Others have had the blessing of growing up as Christians, nurtured in Christian homes and Bible-believing churches. For many of those young adults, it is their first time living on their own, and their faith in and reliance on God is taking new shape. It looks and feels different for them than it did in their childhood. Their faith is becoming wholly their own.


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For new and long-time Christians, Houghton provides a Christ-centered living and learning environment where students are taught, loved and discipled as they prepare for the extraordinarily varied vocations and contexts to which God is calling them. As it has for many generations, Houghton continues to prepare students for callings in music, ministry, education and writing as well as more recent areas like cybersecurity, equestrian management and neuroscience. Houghton continues to send its graduates to serve and learn in communities as near as New York’s southern tier and the city of Buffalo and as far away as Cambodia and Sierra Leone.

While Houghton students and their callings are diverse, a common experience during their preparation at Houghton is coming to understand how their salvation and transformation through the power of the Holy Spirit is preparing each of them to be a transforming presence in communities near and far. Fully integrated with their humanities, mathematics and science sequences is intentional preparation for carrying the soul-saving, life-changing message of the gospel of Jesus Christ to men and women in a dying world, whether as ordained ministers, missionaries or lay people who make disciples through their marketplace ministries.

What I see happening at Houghton and Christ-centered colleges around the country in chapel, Bible studies and small groups thoroughly excites me. At Houghton, I see a fire in the eyes and a burning in the hearts of our students that is contagious. I thank God for the transformation I get to witness in the lives of our students. But what excites me even more is knowing their transformation, growth and experiences at Houghton are only the beginning; that Houghton is only the launchpad for how God will use them in their families, churches, local communities and professions to be a transforming presence.

Through their preaching and teaching, mentoring and living, through the power of the Holy Spirit, they will infect others, change hearts and minds, and lead untold numbers of children and adults to the saving knowledge and grace of Jesus.

As they leave Houghton, my prayer for our graduates is that they continue to allow the Holy Spirit to perfect them and that they never forget the power of ONE. Having a host of evangelists equipped with musicians and ministry teams is fantastic. Sometimes the gospel is spread that way. But the same Holy Spirit with the same transforming power can and does work through the ONE. And I am confident that no matter where they are called or what they are called to do, they will undoubtedly find themselves in circumstances and situations where they will be the ONE God uses to share the gospel and work through to save souls and change lives. God has used Houghton graduates in that way for many generations. He is preparing to send a new group forward now. With our prayers and by his grace, they will be ready.