Help Light the Way: The Luminary Scholarship Effort
Kris Sledge: "It humbles me to think that someone loves God and the church so much that they would invest so I can be the best pastor I can be.”
Kris Sledge, a second year Master of
Divinity student, is thankful. He is thankful for his life, thankful for his ministry and thankful for the Wesley community that allows him to engage at the intersection of the church and academics.
Before coming to Wesley, Kris was a survivor of a terrorist bombing while serving as a missionary in Uganda in 2010. That day lives on in his memory as he strives to be a light in the midst of darkness in the world. Kris sustained major injuries but survived the attack. Seventy-six other individuals did not, including three of his Ugandan friends seated at the table with him and the suicide bomber at the time the bomb was detonated.
As a student at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, Kris majored in Christian Ministries and felt called to ministry, but had no desire to attend seminary. After the terrorist attack, Kris felt a real need to have a voice in the midst of darkness, he said. A scholarship that made it possible for him to study at Wesley became an integral part of Kris’s process of understanding that call.
“I saw Wesley emphasizing the intersection of academics and the church in the world,” Kris said. “I felt Wesley would help me to have a voice in that -- both a prophetic voice and one that preaches the Good News in the midst of my experience with hate and terrorism.”
As the senior pastor at State Line United Methodist Church in State Line, Penn., Kris sees an immediate overlap between what he learns in his classes at Wesley and application in his ministry.
“What I love about this place is I can sit in these academic conversations and then immediately think about how that translates to the people I have the privilege of serving,” he said. “There is such good conversation in classroom settings here and then I get to think about how that transforms lives.” The narratives told in the Hebrew Scriptures and in Jesus’ ministry reveal how people of God have lamented and asked God to intervene in the world for thousands of years, Kris said. That message still applies in his work to overcome hate today, he said.
As a scholarship student, Kris is grateful for the ability to graduate free of seminary debts, ready to go wherever God leads him.
“What that means to me is I will leave here with less of a financial burden,” he said. “I am thankful for that freedom to be able to wonder what God has in store for me next. It humbles me to think that someone loves God and the church so much that they would invest so I can be the best pastor I can be.”