“My New Adventure” // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Next week will be my last Positively Speaking newspaper column.  I’ve cranked them out weekly for nearly 26 years (with quite a few re-runs along the way) but now it’s time to move on to a new chapter.

This is a bitter-sweet season in my life as March 12 will be my last Sunday as pastor of Hayward Wesleyan Church.

No, I am not retiring.   I have accepted the invitation to join the faculty of Southern Wesleyan University in Central, South Carolina to prepare the next generation of pastors.   By doing this, I’m multiplying my influence far beyond a local context.  Southern Wesleyan University is a thriving Christian liberal arts college with around 800 students on campus and almost a thousand adult/non-traditional students.  The campus is beautiful; the faculty engaging; and the students are a delight.

My title will be Professor of Discipleship, Multiplication and Renewal.  Besides teaching a couple of traditional courses on campus, and I hope some new courses online, my new role includes travel, speaking, connecting and writing.   Most weekends, you’ll find me conducting renewal services at churches across the country.  In the summer, I’ll speak at camps, conferences and other venues, and write some books.

A significant part of the job is helping energize the SWU Religion Division, developing new curriculum to prepare ministers for effectiveness and excellence.  I’ll teach my students how to be a pastor for a whole community (rather than just their congregation), how to start new churches, punch holes in the darkness, and serve in the overflow of holy love to transform the world.  We’ll explore how to provide great training for international pastors, as well as non-traditional students in America.

I will also launch and lead a Center for Clergy and Church Renewal, to encourage pastors and congregations of all denominations.  By providing retreats, seminars, online resources, and a listening ear, we will support weary shepherds on the front lines of ministry, helping them flourish again.

As my new position begins July 1.  I’m taking a Sabbatical from March 13 until then.   This gift of time without a heavy load of pastoral responsibility is such a blessing to me. It provides relaxed, creative space for me to dream and for my soul to breathe.

I’d like to express my deepest thanks to The Sawyer County Record for the opportunity to write each week for a quarter of a century, and to all my faithful readers, whose comments, notes and letters to the editor have been a great blessing.

Hayward is such a special place with beautiful people.  I cannot imagine a better community to raise my family and learn what being a pastor is all about.  Thank you for accepting Cathy and me, and for loving us and our kids so well.  (Enough of that mushy stuff for now — I’ll write my thank you column next week!)

Some have asked if I will compile a few columns in a book.  This is a daunting task, as my writing is not collected in any organized fashion.  A couple of friends have volunteered to help me with this project — so we’ll have to see what develops.  We will keep you posted.


  1. Hey Mark,
    My best to you and kudos for stepping into a new area of the religious world that can use your fresh approach to working with Jesus. Hope our paths cross again.
    Tuck Aaker

  2. Have read your column forever. Hopefully the Record will be able to find something as positive and energizing. I have a copy of Feed Your Golden Goose and have used it often. Have a stack of tear outs from the Record with all my important stuff. If in Gos’s time you were to write a semi annual column we’re sure those two issues would skyrocket sales to the heavens. Best Wished for the future and its holdings.

  3. Dear Mark,
    I’m so happy to know that you’re coming to ‘our part of the country’. Hopefully, John and I will get to see and interact more often with you in your new location. Am praying that you’ll be a real blessing to SWU and its community of Wesleyans.

  4. Love love and more love as you share your life and this new adventure.
    The Stoodlegirls will miss you.

HWC Information

PO Box 507
10655 Nyman Ave
Hayward, WI 54843

ph: (715) 634-4613
fax: (715) 634-7823

HWC Service Times

  • 8:00-8:45 a.m. MorningSong
  • 9:00 and 10:30am Services, nursery available
  • Youth & Children Ministry during the 10:30am service ONLY