Back to School 2023: New Student Engagement

In the ever-evolving world of education, Winebrenner Theological Seminary is not just keeping pace; it’s thriving. The seminary has been experiencing a remarkable surge in enrollment since the summer of 2019. A common point of discussion in the past few months is what discipleship looks like in theological education. As a first touch point for students, I wanted to share some personal reflections on how discipleship fits into my work as Coordinator of New Student Engagement.   

I see discipleship through the lens of a personal connection. When I first meet with a prospective student, they share their story and how God is working in their life. I focus on two things when interacting with them.  

1. Build a Relationship: Every conversation with a potential student is a chance to build a meaningful relationship. It’s not just about recruiting: it’s about getting to know them, their aspirations, and how we can support them in their journey of faith and education. This first interaction sets the tone for their Winebrenner journey. 

2. Become a Resource: Prospective students often have many questions about the seminary experience. The more I interact with them, the more I can address their questions and provide clarity on academic programs and enrollment steps. The reassurance gained from these conversations is invaluable. 

Focusing on these two things allows me to make that personal connection needed for discipleship. Through their application process, I am able to walk alongside them.  Then, as they become fully enrolled and move through their programs, they continue on a journey of discipleship. It is an honor to be just a small part of their journey. A current student or alumni referring others to Winebrenner is refreshing to hear as I continue my work and speak with more students. This multiplication fuels our growing enrollment. Time and time again, our most successful recruitment plan is when students share their own experiences. “

  • Adam Willford, Coordinator of New Student Engagement, Winebrenner Theological Seminary