New Generation of Leaders
By Joseph Nader
Minister UTA Wesley Foundation Campus
LeeAnn came to the Wesley as a freshman, new to the faith, looking for community and belonging. She showed up on her own and was what you would call a normal student…at least for the UTA Wesley. She didn’t grow up in the church and really didn’t know much about how it worked. She had never really studied Scripture, but was looking for some more depth to her faith.
LeeAnn sat silently through her first Girl’s Bible Study, not wanting to ask anything that might make her look naïve. But with some coaxing and encouragement she began to open up. LeeAnn slowly began to grow in her understanding of the faith, and was more and more open with her questions and doubts.
A watershed moment in her role at the Wesley came in the spring semester of her freshman year when LeeAnn wanted to plan a trip to the zoo for the Wesley. She organized the event, motivated people to go and made it all happen. You could see how proud she was for pulling the trip off, and she felt like it was a calling for her to help plan events for the Wesley. We agreed, and moved LeeAnn into that position on our leadership team.
At the beginning of the next fall semester, LeeAnn was a part of our first Missional Academy, where we teach students how to live missionally in the world through study and hands on experiences. We watched as LeeAnn and others interacted with the call of Jesus to love God and neighbor. She really wrestled with how that would affect her life. Within a year of taking that class, LeeAnn felt called to apply for a spot in a neo-monastic house that was opening through the Missional Wisdom Foundation just a few miles from campus. She was accepted into the house and it has been a huge part of her spiritual growth through the spiritual disciplines they share and the outreach into the community.
After an entire year of leading our event planning and watching some incredible spiritual growth, it was time for a transition in leadership. I asked LeeAnn to consider helping us get small groups organized and started. LeeAnn has excelled in that role and continues to equip our small group leaders. Currently, LeeAnn is discerning a call into full-time ministry, and we are excited to see where God will lead her.
God’s work in LeeAnn’s life has been a great story of transformation. Not only is this important for her, but her life is a blessing to our ministry at the Wesley. We also know that what she is learning here and now, will also be a blessing to the Church as she steps forward into leadership in the future. LeeAnn is just one story of how campus ministry is raising up a new generation of leaders for the sake of the Church and the world.