Follow Christ, Lead the Way
Impacting the World through Education from Wesley’s Point of View image
During a recent visit to a church, one high school senior said to me, “I do not want to attend Ohio Christian because I want a real-world education.” I’m sure he has his own definition of what constitutes a “real-world education,” but his statement concerned me. Today’s Christian parents must be alert to the fact that many higher education institutions present godless content and philosophies that can cause students to stray from their faith.  Now, I am not so naive as to think one cannot be a proponent of Christian education while supporting the education processes of local public entities. In fact, I firmly believe there are many great public institutions with great purposes, such as research in the areas of medicine and engineering, from which we all certainly benefit. Yet, I am passionate about Christian education and submit that, for my family, it is the only option in the developing years, including the early years of college. I purport this because of my concern for a biblical worldview. I do not intend to bash public education; instead, I hope to present a balanced perspective on the importance of Christian education and our role in supporting it.Should we as Christians reconsider how we view education?For decades, many in our Wesleyan circles misinterpreted John Wesley’s message regarding education. He valued education, but was always concerned that education for its own sake would promote the sin of pride. This mindset became the basis of the “ignorance is bliss” philosophy, which led some to justify their lack of educational pursuits. Our present society abhors ignorance, demands degrees, and expects an education. How must we approach a solution?A historical review suggests that education in Wesley’s day was not a highly developed concept in the minds of people. Families were poor, and children were required to work to support the family unit.  Children were not treated with respect. In fact, according to Herbert Byrne, writer of John Wesley and Learning, “the wealthy looked upon their children somewhat as a disease, and schools were used as boarding schools to get rid of the little nuisances that abounded” (Byrne 1983, p. 125). But an interesting change occurred.“Toward the end of the century, a more serious spirit permeated society, and parents began to feel greater responsibility for their children” (p. 125). Wesley was one of the leaders who helped foster a better understanding of the value of children.The children of the eighteenth century suffered immensely as the cold theological hand of Calvinism lay heavily upon the Church of England. Children were considered desperately wicked mortals who could only be saved by incessant punishment and coercion. While many people of the Wesleyan persuasion looked at children in this same way, John Wesley did not preach such lurid doctrines. He believed that children were born with inherited depravity, but he also emphasized love, not just incessant punishment (Byrne, p. 127).Wesley was convinced that education could change the woes of his day, as suggested in Volume 3 of his works, “I preached on the education of children wherein we are extremely wanting. Many were deeply convinced of this. I hope that they will not stifle that conviction” (Wesley, p. 270).  Wesley believed deeply that children should be well-mannered, and educated according to God’s principles. He understood that children were created by God for future service to the kingdom.As an educational leader of his day, John Wesley valued not only the education of children, but higher education as well. The two most prominent universities of his era were Oxford and Cambridge. These schools focused on deistic rationalism. Wesley, who was a university graduate, emphasized that education apart from God was flawed education. He even utilized the universities of his day to teach his message of “piety and purity.”During Wesley’s lifetime, he served at Lincoln College, Oxford, for about 25 years in a fellowship role. He was a Greek lecturer and teacher of the classics. Wesley’s strong belief in the plight of the poor encouraged him to found schools in Savannah, Georgia, and Bristol, London (Byrne, p.138). Thus we conclude that the concept of Christian education stems from one of our great church leaders of the past. As we continue to ponder the importance of education, we ask, “Where will the next century of Wesleyan educators be developed?” The question gives reason for pause, as we note a prevalent tendency to de-emphasize the whole process of Christian education. I believe we must actively engage our efforts to change this trend.We must clearly understand that uneducated church leaders will have little impact upon society in the twenty-first century.I personally agree with a typical Wesleyan (and I might add biblical) viewpoint that education for the sake of education promotes pride, but I take heart in recognizing that even Mr. Wesley did not forsake education because of this concern. He chose to emphasize the loftiness of God rather than the loftiness of man in the education process.As I have reflected upon our past, it has become increasingly clear to me that our ministries and organizations need educational leaders. Relating to the next century, Patricia Carrow-Muffet declares, “We will need leaders who are change agents, who have vision and purpose, and who understand the big picture. We will need leaders who are able to set direction and facilitate those involved in working cooperatively to meet the challenges of a diverse world” (Muffet, 1993, p. 58).  If Wesley were alive today, I believe he would challenge his ministers to obtain all the education they could, establish Christian schools, and impact the world through Christ-centered leadership.Within the scope of our educational leadership, I believe we can carry forth the Wesleyan message of heart purity to our world. We must:Emphasize the value of Christian educationPromote Christian education from every pulpitEducate young men and women to be the future leaders of our Wesleyan institutionsCreate new passion for the call to Christian educationTeach and mentor young men and women in understanding Wesley’s message of heart purityEducation, as a process, is vanity. Solomon, the wise king, warned, “Vanity of vanities -- all is vanity” (Eccl. 1:2).  As we move forward, let us remember that Christian education, principles of right living, and the messages of Christian character and heart purity are not vain pursuits. As summarized in Wesley’s message, these messages must be proclaimed! And what better places to proclaim them than educational institutions like Ohio Christian University?

Articles of Interest

OCU Kappa Delta Pi Chapter Inducts 28 New Members image

OCU Kappa Delta Pi Chapter Inducts 28 New Members

OCU Kappa Delta Pi Chapter Inducts 28 New Members image

Published: April 26, 2019

CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO—Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, is pleased to announce that 28 preservice educators have been invited and inducted into its membership through the Alpha Iota Sigma Chapter of Ohio Christian University. The initiation ceremony took place on April 9, 2019 at The Ministry and Performing Arts Center. The ceremony opened with Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost at Ohio Christian University, giving the welcome and prayer. Dr. Ann Shelly, of Kappa Delta Pi, installed the new members, the Alpha Iota Sigma Chapter and the officers. Mr. Jonathan Davis,
CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO—Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, is pleased to announce that 28 preservice educators have been invited and inducted into its membership through the Alpha Iota Sigma Chapter of Ohio Christian University. The initiation ceremony took place on April 9, 2019 at The Ministry and Performing Arts Center. The ceremony opened with Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost at
CIRCLEVILLE, OHIO—Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education, is pleased to announce that 28 preservice educators have been invited and inducted into its membership through the Alpha
2019 Georgia Commencement image

2019 Georgia Commencement

2019 Georgia Commencement image

Published: April 11, 2019

On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location. OCU President, Dr. Jon Kulaga welcomed the record crowd of nearly 1,300 students, family and honored guests declaring, “We are living in a time where Christians have never been more needed-to be out there in society being salt and light.” He further challenged them stating that “your community needs you, your city needs you and your country needs you”.    Terence Chatmon was the commencement
On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location. OCU President, Dr. Jon Kulaga welcomed the record crowd of nearly 1,300 students, family and honored guests declaring, “We are living in a time where Christians have never been more needed-to be
On Saturday, April 6th, Ohio Christian University held its fourth commencement ceremony in Jonesboro, Georgia at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center. This is the first year at this location
Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus image

Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus

Faith and Work Seminar a First on Campus image

Published: April 10, 2019

On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith
On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith
On Saturday March 23rd, Ohio Christian University hosted the Faith
4.0 Students Recognized in Chapel Service image

4.0 Students Recognized in Chapel Service

4.0 Students Recognized in Chapel Service image

Published: January 23, 2019

The January 23rd Chapel Service included a time of recognition for students who achieved a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost, presented each awardee with a coffee mug loaded with candy. Fellow Trailblazers cheered on their peers and helped recipients celebrate their successes. Over 60 students were awarded. 4.0 Student Rachel Hicks says, “Last semester was my first semester taking strictly pre-law courses, it was really tough. I worked extremely hard to achieve a 4.0 and it feels really good to have accomplished this.” Kevin Bennie, Director of
The January 23rd Chapel Service included a time of recognition for students who achieved a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost, presented each awardee with a coffee mug loaded with candy. Fellow Trailblazers cheered on their peers and helped recipients celebrate their successes. Over 60 students were awarded. 4.0 Student Rachel Hicks says, “Last semester
The January 23rd Chapel Service included a time of recognition for students who achieved a 4.0 grade point average during the fall semester. Dr. Hank Kelly, Provost, presented each awardee with a

Archived Articles of Interest

OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations image

OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations

OCU Faculty Provide Monthly Academic Presentations image

Published: December 3, 2012

Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made available live through video conferencing so that faculty and students in online programs are able to participate.On December 5th, Prof. Thad Hicks will present on the topic of Managing Compassion Fatigue. Prof. Hicks serves as Assistant Professor of Disaster Management and is working on a Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies. Compassion Fatigue, or secondary traumatic stress disorder, is a condition
Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made available live through video conferencing so that faculty and students in online programs are able to participate.On December 5th, Prof. Thad Hicks will present on the topic of Managing Compassion
Ohio Christian University faculty have begun monthly presentations to enhance the academic quality and engagement of faculty, students, and community members. These events are also being made
Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012 image

Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012

Ohio Christian University to Celebrate a Record Number of Graduates on May 5, 2012 image

Published: April 30, 2012

President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation includes the conference of 141 associate's degrees and 235 bachelor's degrees. OCU also celebrates its first conference of master's degrees with 10 students earning the Master of Arts in Ministry.Graduation practice (required for all graduating students) begins a 1 p.m. on Friday, May 4. The graduation ceremony begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 5 in the OCU Maxwell Center. 
President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation includes the conference of 141 associate's degrees and 235 bachelor's degrees. OCU also celebrates its first conference of master's degrees with 10 students earning the Master of Arts in Ministry.
President Mark A. Smith will preside over the largest graduation ceremony in the history of Ohio Christian University this coming Saturday, May 5, 2012, with 386 graduates.This year's graduation
Dr. Jim Smith

OCU Professor is Published

Dr. Jim Smith

Published: November 30, 2010

Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for Congregational Care, available from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The two chapters are on lay ministry care for those with substance abuse issues and mental disorders.  Smith is well qualified to write on these topics as he holds three graduate degrees and is a licensed counselor as well as an ordained minister.  Smith states, "The connection to be part of this collaboration was brought about by God." OCU
Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for Congregational Care, available from Thomas Nelson Publishers. The two chapters are on lay ministry care for those with substance abuse issues and mental disorders.  Smith is well qualified to write on these
Ohio Christian University Professor of Substance Abuse Counseling Dr. Jim Smith contributed two chapters for the recently published collaborative work Nelson's Church Leader's Manual for