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TU Alumnus Brings Community-Focused Ethos to Church

  • By: Grant Patterson
  • Published:
Pastor about to baptize teenager

Ask any student what brought them to Taylor University, and one of the top answers will be the vibrant community on campus. We don’t claim to do it perfectly, but the people at Taylor live in a Christ-centered culture that has been cultivating servant-leaders for generations. Students take this spirit of making intentional deep connections with them and are spreading the light of Christ throughout the world.

Pastor Landon Stuart ‘16 was a Biblical Literature major. He knew that God was leading him into the ministry, and his journey through Taylor prepared him to be a pastor and gave him inspiration for the kind of community he wanted to build in his church.

The Journey

Even though he looked at many options first, Stuart felt that God was leading him to Taylor. When he visited campus, he was impressed by the people he met, the rigorous academics, and the strength of the Biblical Studies, Christian Ministries, and Philosophy Department

While studying at Taylor, he experienced a covenant community unlike he had ever experienced before. This community poured into him and he poured into others.

“I lived in the dorm for all four years. So I did not live off campus. And I saw a ton of value in staying on campus, getting to know and investing in people of all ages at Taylor,” Stuart said. “When I was a freshman, seniors poured into me and vice versa. I saw a ton of value in living in community.”

He took those connections with him when he graduated, going on to earn his Masters of Divinity at Asbury Seminary. Soon after completing that degree, God led to his current church, Washington Union Alliance Church (WUAC) in New Castle, Pennsylvania, where he has been a pastor for the last three and a half years

 “I was told this advice years ago: think about driving a car on a road that’s dark and you’ve got your headlights on. You can’t see the entirety of the road, but you can see to the end of the headlights,” Stuart said. “I just kept asking God and kept praying, ‘Okay, what can I see at the end? I don’t see the end of the road yet, I don’t know where my life’s going to be, but I can see where you are taking me at the end of the headlights. It’s just enough to trust you in your steps.’” 

Pastoring a Church

Stuart is grateful that God entrusted WUAC to him at such a young age, but he also understands the weight of responsibilities that has been put on his shoulders.

“While I am the pastor of the church, it is my chief responsibility to shepherd the people that God has entrusted to the community that I have served. And living amongst the community helped with that,” Stuart said. “When you are part of a church community, we share a lot of the covenant community that Taylor tries to do and really does a great job adopting.”

The community within the church that Stuart has cultivated reflects some elements from the Taylor community. Stuart actually uses Taylor’s community as an inspiration for the culture he is cultivating.

“Taylor does really well to live in community and to celebrate community. It can be challenging and can be difficult, but that is how God designed it,” Stuart said. “God designed it to be a people, to be a particular kind of people, so the community aspect is something I really take with me.”

Taylor’s Impact

Stuart still looks back at his time at Taylor as a time of growth and learning. He appreciates how his liberal arts and major classes taught him critical thinking skills, how to write well, and the nuances of living a life from a biblical worldview. 

Stuart also feels like Taylor’s Christ-centered culture, chapel services, and focus on biblical growth helped him grow in his faith and be prepared for seminary and for preaching at his own church. He has continued to grow in Christ and has continued to use the tools Taylor University has provided him to shepherd more towards Christ.

“Taylor has grounded me biblically and has given me an extreme sense of foundation and how to teach and preach from the scriptures from a foundational Christian perspective. They did a great job at helping me think critically and to really look at the scriptures and look at them faithfully too,” Stuart said. “From all the professors that were there to help me to shape how to look at the world of the Bible and not only to think critically but to deepen my love for the scriptures.”

Experience Taylor’s Community

Taylor’s community is unique even among Christian universities because of the way the culture is intentionally cultivated. Chapel attendance is not required but students fill Rediger Auditorium every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Students are encouraged to find a local home church while on campus, and the students each support each other and hold themselves accountable. The community is just one of the reasons why Taylor University is ranked the number one college in the Midwest.

Plan your visit today to experience Taylor University’s community for yourself.