Isaiah 41:10 reads, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” These words, originally written to the Israelities in bondage, can be instructive for Christians of today. The world is a hectic place filled with decisions, problems, and needs. For ministry leaders, these things can seem magnified as they try to navigate the ever-changing needs of those they serve. For those who know Christ Jesus as their Lord and Savior, these challenges become opportunities to grow in trust of the Lord.
Josh Wilson understands the need to trust God in the whirlwind of life. After graduating in 2018 from Grace Seminary’s fast track theology degree program, Wilson had to cling to the Lord as he searched for a ministry position. Now, as a head pastor at Ashland Grace Church, he continues to see God’s faithfulness in his story and is excited for all that is to come.
Wilson had a quintessential childhood in Winona Lake, IN. His parents, Rod and Becky, both graduated from Grace and served at Winona Lake Grace Brethren Church (WLGBC) as an elder and children’s ministry director, respectively. Through the influence of mentors at church, God planted a desire to do vocational ministry during Wilson’s freshman year of high school.
“My parents continue to be the most significant influences in my life of what it looks like to be a Christian and to be in ministry,” said Wilson. “A number of people in my church also showed me the beauty of pouring into people through ministry. I want to do for others what they did for me.”
Grace College was the obvious choice for Wilson when it came to choosing a college. The best part? A newly released fast track theology degree would allow him to get his bachelors and masters of divinity at the same time. It was an ideal situation for a young man desiring to become a pastor.
“I had the privilege of knowing some of the seminary faculty already through church, and so I had a sense of Grace’s environment and knew it was the place God was leading me to,” said Wilson.
Wilson’s time at Grace was supplemented by local church involvement. He had the opportunity to intern at WLGBC, hone his preaching and teaching skills, and lead Adult Bible Fellowship and a high school boys small group. One of the highlights of this time was co-preaching with Dr. Tiberius Rata, professor of Old Testament studies at Grace.
At graduation, Wilson was awarded the Kenneth E. Bickle award for expository preaching, and he was the inaugural graduate of the fast track theology degree program. Dr. Kip Cone, Wilson’s mentor and pastor at WLGBC, began praying with him about what the Lord had for him after graduation.
Little did Wilson know, Reverend Daniel Allan (BA 80, Cert 81, MMin 16) was also praying. He needed someone to be the next generation pastor at Ashland Grace Church. When Allan was in town for a Grace College board meeting, Cone mentioned Wilson to Allan, and they quickly hit it off at their first meeting.
“Looking back on how I got involved with Ashland Grace, I can clearly see God’s faithfulness and His work throughout that time,” said Wilson. “He is always faithful, but we are not always able to see matters as clearly in the moment, so it is such a gift to be able to see how He was working at that time.”
God answered both prayers when Wilson moved to Ashland in 2019 to fill the role. His Grace education played a big role in preparing him for this position. His accelerated masters classes, which greatly emphasized getting involved in the local church, helped him know how to approach being in a pastoral position. He learned the importance of keeping one eye on the church and one eye on the world around him. Most importantly, Wilson’s classes taught him that Scripture should be the basis for all decision making.
Around fourteen months ago, Wilson transitioned to become the senior pastor at Ashland Grace. Wilson’s favorite part of this new role is to “watch people grow in their faith, have a deeper love for God and delight in Him.”
Are you looking for a college that will connect you with incredible mentors and opportunities to participate in your desired career field? Look no further! Grace College and Seminary is the place for you. Fill out an application, check out our majors, and get the details on our fast track theology degree today.