Equipping leaders to pursue the mission

By Johanna Chacón Rugh

Education and Clergy Development encourages and supports kingdom leaders in their call.

This summer, I was honored to sit at a "chair of privilege" representing The Wesleyan Church's (TWC) General Superintendent Office. During my visit to the Pacific Southwest District, I was able to meet Pastor Joe Halbert. Pastor Joe serves in a community where my family and I used to live. We would drive by the church where he pastors and pray for the homeless community who would spend their time around this church. I couldn't hold my tears of joy when I listened to how Pastor Joe is leading Neighborhood Christian Fellowship, Covina, California. He's courageously pursuing God's mission; identifying problems and making available a community garden and food pantry to those in need.


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Two days later, I was officiating the ordination service at the Tri-State District. Here, I heard the story of two pastors that had left their places of comfort to pursue God’s call for their lives. One of them, Pastor Sabrina Walker, was ordained that evening. As I listened to what her church is doing to minister to college-aged kids, my heart rejoiced. This church is becoming a family to these students. They are being fed both physically and spiritually while experiencing the love of God in a tangible way.

I could continue sharing testimonies of how TWC’s Kingdom Force is making a transforming presence in each of their ZIP codes. However, I feel compelled to answer the question we were asked by General Superintendent Dr. Wayne Schmidt at our General Conference this past May: “God, where are you leading us?”

Without any doubt, God is continually leading his people to where the need is, where his people can become a transforming presence. God is leading us to step out of our comfort zone to do what he has asked us to do, to be committed to doing the natural things so he can do the supernatural ones.

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

In the book of Isaiah, we find the Lord asking, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” And Isaiah’s answer still echoes in our churches, in our ministerial preparation classes, in our youth camps and in other places where many leaders are sensing and responding to the call to ministry by saying, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:8, NIV).

These are the leaders that are responding to God’s call — his call to prepare and go where God is leading them. Our division wants to become a partner along with our districts, schools and churches. We want to train and encourage the next generation of TWC; a generation that will be leaders in continuing the legacy that we have inherited by living out the Great Commission in the spirit of the greatest commandment.

The Education and Clergy Development Division has more responsibilities than the name itself implies. Besides providing resources for the development of our ministers and enforcing education requirements, we’re committed to continually search for ways and opportunities to equip and encourage those preparing to make a difference in the advancement of God’s kingdom. Both women and men, lay and clergy, have an equal role and opportunity in our partnership with God in growing his kingdom. We support those who have been called to such a ministry.

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So, “Where is God leading us?” One important task he is leading us in is to always be of encouragement and support to his Kingdom Force. By exhorting and encouraging those courageous women and men who are not holding back but rather evaluating the needs in their community, who, in faith, are stepping out and moving forward with God’s mission. He’s leading us to equip those that have said yes to the calling to serve him in pastoral ministry, supporting them by reminding lay leaders, college-aged students and the next generation of their God-given talents to answer his calling from anywhere to everywhere. We are committed to encouraging them all to accomplish his mission under one banner of the hope and holiness of Jesus Christ. It’s our prayer to be faithful to this important task and, as we face different shifts in our world and society, we are certain that he will remain the same and will be faithful to continue guiding and sustaining us to fulfill his work.

We would love to learn how you are responding to God’s leading and encourage you to fulfill his will in your life! Please share your story by writing to us at We’re always eager to hear from you.