Bishop Tom Benjamin, retiring as lead pastor of Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis, is serving as a resource practitioner for a Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University class November 5 to 9. Benjamin ministered 43 years at the church that has served the Indianapolis community for 143 years.
Wesley Seminary, known for its innovative curriculum and delivery system, has been forming relationships with teaching churches. These relationships are cooperative ventures between a local church, the church pastor and the seminary. Dr. Wayne Schmidt, Wesley Seminary vice president, met with Benjamin in 2011 to discuss a similar cooperative venture with the Tom Benjamin School of Ministry.
Benjamin and Dr. Kwasi Kena, assistant professor of Christian Ministry, will team teach the Pastor, Church and World class. This cooperative venture between the Seminary and the Tom Benjamin School of Ministry features curriculum contextualized for pastors serving in the African American urban setting. The Tom Benjamin School of Ministry is ecumenical and has the potential of spawning other cooperative efforts that could be very transformative for Indianapolis.
"He's a real world practitioner," Kena said, speaking of Benjamin. "He's got years of urban ministry experience beyond what he's done in the local church. He's also been very active in community affairs and he's very well connected."
He is a recipient of the Whistley Award from the Great Indianapolis Progress Committee, a recipient of the Robert W. Briggs Humanitarian Award from the Boy Scouts of America and a Fatherhood Hall of Fame Class of 2010 inductee. Benjamin received the Morehouse College Distinguished Preacher's Award, was a past National President of the Black Disciples Ministers' Fellowship, is a four-time Sagamore of the Wabash recipient and has authored four books.
"I think it will be a very rewarding experience for our students to have personal time with someone of Bishop Benjamin's stature in leadership," Kena said. "It's a rare opportunity for people to rub shoulders with someone in ministry who has been as effective in as many areas as he has."
Indiana Wesleyan University is an evangelical Christian comprehensive university of The Wesleyan Church. The University, founded in 1920, is committed to liberal arts and professional education.
More than 3,000 students are enrolled in traditional programs on the University's main campus in Marion, Indiana. Nearly 12,500 adult learners attend classes at education centers in Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio, and online.