Monday, October 11, 2021

Rev. Jon Cavanagh

Rev. Jon Cavanagh, Campus Pastor at Taylor University since 2015, is a 1998 Taylor University alumnus.  He has served at Taylor since 2007, filling roles that have included Director of University Apartments/Coordinator of Off Campus Community, Co-Chair of Residence Life Programming, Hall Director at Wengatz Hall, Head Men’s Golf Coach, and committee assignments including Chair and member of the Community Life Committee, Lighthouse and J-term Capstone Co-Leader, and the leadership of various devotional groups.

In addition to his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Taylor, Cavanagh holds a Master of Divinity from Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio (2008). He is an ordained minister in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (N.A.C.C.C.).

Prior to returning to Taylor, Cavanagh served as Associate Pastor for Plain Congregational Church in Bowling Green, Ohio, and as resident director at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., and Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He also filled the role of Church Planter for Mercy and Grace Ministries in Sheridan, Wyo., from 1999 to 2000.

Jon and his wife Kara are the parents of 2 daughters, Phoebe and Hattie.

Rev. Jon Cavanagh, Campus Pastor at Taylor University since 2015, is a 1998 Taylor University alumnus.  He has served at Taylor since 2007, filling roles that have included Director of University Apartments/Coordinator of Off Campus Community, Co-Chair of Residence Life Programming, Hall Director at Wengatz Hall, Head Men’s Golf Coach, and committee assignments including Chair and member of the Community Life Committee, Lighthouse and J-term Capstone Co-Leader, and the leadership of various devotional groups.

In addition to his Bachelor of Arts in Christian Education from Taylor, Cavanagh holds a Master of Divinity from Winebrenner Theological Seminary, Findlay, Ohio (2008). He is an ordained minister in the National Association of Congregational Christian Churches (N.A.C.C.C.).

Prior to returning to Taylor, Cavanagh served as Associate Pastor for Plain Congregational Church in Bowling Green, Ohio, and as resident director at Asbury University in Wilmore, Ky., and Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa. He also filled the role of Church Planter for Mercy and Grace Ministries in Sheridan, Wyo., from 1999 to 2000.

Jon and his wife Kara are the parents of 2 daughters, Phoebe and Hattie.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Heather Larson

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Heather brings 22 years of non-profit experience to LiveGive, including more than a decade of executive leadership and overseeing an annual budget of $77 million and 350 employees. Heather has worked for the American Red Cross and Willow Creek Community Church. Now, as the founder of LiveGive, she is leading a philanthropy advisory firm, and she is sought out as a leadership consultant and speaker.

Heather’s leadership, vision, and strategy has always been about investing in great people around significant causes. Heather has built LiveGive, a philanthropy advisory firm, to help families, foundations and companies do their best strategic giving. Heather enjoys diving into complex problems, motivating teams, and helping others to succeed and reach their full potential. Whether partnering with a local entrepreneur in Guatemala, problem-solving with a CEO in Chicago, brainstorming with a woman in a hut in Malawi, or training leaders internationally, Heather loves connecting generous people and inspiring great leadership.

Her favorite time is hanging out with her husband and their two teenage daughters. Heather cherishes the reminder that life is short and we each get a small window to make a difference in the world around us.

Friday, October 8, 2021

Dr. Michael Lindsay

D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., became President of Taylor University on August 16, 2021. As president, Lindsay is committed to furthering the university’s distinctive mission of providing excellent, Christ-centered higher education and strengthening its promising prospects for future growth and development.

Lindsay previously served as president of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. His decade-long tenure as the eighth president of Gordon coincided with record years of fundraising, campus diversity, sponsored research, athletic success, and faith expression on campus. In October 2019, under Lindsay’s leadership, Gordon publicly announced Faith Rising: The Campaign for Gordon College, with news of a transformational gift that was the largest ever given to a Christian college. In the end, the campaign exceeded its goal by 43% and helped position Gordon with greater financial strength and wider opportunity for students, faculty, and staff. 

Prior to arriving at Gordon, Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University, where he won multiple awards both for his teaching and academic research. He is the author of two dozen scholarly publications and numerous books, including, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, which was nominated for the nonfiction Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and his award-winning View from the Top, which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese. His most recent book, Hinge Moments, was launched globally on the Taylor campus in 2021 and is published with InterVarsity Press.

Lindsay earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and graduate theological degrees from Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University where he has been named Outstanding Young Alumnus.

D. Michael Lindsay, Ph.D., became President of Taylor University on August 16, 2021. As president, Lindsay is committed to furthering the university’s distinctive mission of providing excellent, Christ-centered higher education and strengthening its promising prospects for future growth and development.

Lindsay previously served as president of Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts. His decade-long tenure as the eighth president of Gordon coincided with record years of fundraising, campus diversity, sponsored research, athletic success, and faith expression on campus. In October 2019, under Lindsay’s leadership, Gordon publicly announced Faith Rising: The Campaign for Gordon College, with news of a transformational gift that was the largest ever given to a Christian college. In the end, the campaign exceeded its goal by 43% and helped position Gordon with greater financial strength and wider opportunity for students, faculty, and staff. 

Prior to arriving at Gordon, Lindsay was a member of the sociology faculty at Rice University, where he won multiple awards both for his teaching and academic research. He is the author of two dozen scholarly publications and numerous books, including, Faith in the Halls of Power: How Evangelicals Joined the American Elite, which was nominated for the nonfiction Pulitzer Prize in 2007, and his award-winning View from the Top, which has been translated into Chinese and Japanese. His most recent book, Hinge Moments, was launched globally on the Taylor campus in 2021 and is published with InterVarsity Press.

Lindsay earned his Ph.D. in sociology from Princeton University and graduate theological degrees from Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University and Princeton Theological Seminary. He is a summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Baylor University where he has been named Outstanding Young Alumnus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Pastor Tim McConnell

Tim McConnell

Been at First Pres since: June 2016. I love it, and I’m honored to serve as the 15th Lead Pastor of this awesome church body. I never thought God would call me back to my hometown of Colorado Springs. It’s a privilege to serve the Lord nurturing His body the church, and to be part of a group of leaders seeking to influence the common good of this city in such manifest ways.

What do you like about First Pres?
I love being a part of the ministry God started here in 1872 and continues today—reaching Colorado Springs for Christ! This church is full of people God has used in incredible ways to build His Kingdom over the years. Every time I get to hear someone’s story I’m inspired to know how regular worship in this body shaped and influenced people to do things like start international evangelistic associations to reach high schoolers with the Gospel, staff worldwide sponsorship programs for orphans and destitute children, support families, deepen Christian discipleship practices, combat child slavery and human trafficking, or just help the neighbor right here in Colorado Springs stand up and walk again with pride.

You won’t believe the caliber of people gathered here to serve and worship the Lord. With all the great accomplishments of our history behind us, it’s actually our future we love the most. We love our dreams more than our legends. God has big plans for this ministry and the best is yet to come.

Where can people find you?
I spend a lot of time in my study at the main building. The preacher lives between the Word and the people. I consider it my first priority to preach well, preparing the people of God to hear God’s Word with a motivation to follow in it. That task takes the majority of my time and energy. Otherwise, I’m on a trip helping our church network thrive or visiting one of our global partners. You can follow some of the stuff God has me doing on my personal website.What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to raise four kids with my wife, Abigail, who serves as the Executive Director of an international poverty relief agency, TOLI. Raising boys means a lot of soccer, basketball and football field time. Our older daughter and son are now off to college, but we still have two boys at home. We love getting outside, rock-climbing, hiking, biking and sometimes fishing. My wife and I have been married for more than 22 years, and we love long meals together and slipping away on vacation. I have to admit, it was a dream come true to get back to my home state of Colorado and have a local season ski pass in my pocket. Look for me on the top of Peak 8 between November and April.

Monday, October 4, 2021

Kizito Kalima

In April 1994, Kizito D. Kalima was hacked with a machete and left for dead in a pile of bodies. He was then chased, imprisoned, tortured, and then, finally, found a chance to escape. The odds were slim, but it was better to be shot than slowly cut to pieces by genocidaires. Leading a few others and running as fast as his scarred teenage body could carry him, Kizito found refuge deep within the Nyanza swamps.

Kizito D. Kalima was born on June 3, 1979, in Nyanza, Rwanda, to Denis and Cecilia Kalima. Kizito  is the last born of ten and comes from a long family tradition of community involvement. His father was an administrator/teacher for local schools and his mother served as a health advisor to the surrounding community.

In 1994, the Kalima family was devastated by genocide. The family was separated, and many in the family, including Kizito’s parents, died. Kizito, however, managed to survive. Displaced by the genocide and without knowledge of surviving family members, Kizito found refuge in sports. He played basketball in surrounding African countries and was able to support himself in this manner.

In 1998, Kizito was offered the opportunity to travel to the United States to participate in a basketball tournament. Upon participating in this tournament, Kizito was scouted by many colleges in the US. Having not yet finished high school, Kizito was offered the opportunity to attend high school at Providence St. Mel High School in the Chicago area. Upon completion of high school, Kizito went on to attend Indiana University in South Bend, Indiana, graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice in 2005.

Kizito is the Founder and Executive Director of the Peace Center for Forgiveness & Reconciliation, a public speaker, and an advocate for Genocide survivors. Kizito has spoken at a variety of schools, churches, community gatherings, and events. Perhaps the most notable and honorable speaking engagement to date occurred in 2014 when Kizito was invited to share his story at the United Nations 20th Commemoration of the Genocide in Rwanda (watch here, 39:48).

Kizito lives in Indianapolis with his seven year old daughter, Kayza, and has two adopted and grown Rwandan daughters, themselves Genocide survivors, Josiane and Liliane.

Reflection Questions:

In what ways is forgiveness needed in your life right now?

How can you take this spirit of forgiveness and use it to work together with those you have forgiven?

What is forgiveness?

Why is it important to forgive?

Monday, September 27, 2021

Maggie Burns


Maggie Burns is a 2011 Taylor alum and recently received her MDiv from Denver Seminary. She grew up in the midwest, but has been living and working in Denver since 2016, gaining experience pastoring, preaching, and leading.

When she isn’t spending time in the mountains, you can find her drinking good coffee, reading a book on her front porch, or laughing with friends at a crowded dinner table. Maggie loves challenging people to step into who they are called to be, and pushing them into places where they thrive.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Pastor Neil Kring

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Neil has been in campus ministry at Ball State since the early 90’s. He is one of the pastors of the Revolution – a campus-focused church reaching Ball State and the community of Muncie. He and his wife Kelly have five children, two of whom are attending Ball State and the others are at Burris. He enjoys fitness, biking, meeting new people, and reading.

Monday, September 20, 2021

Dr. Jo Anne Lyon

Jo Anne Lyon - The Wesleyan Church

Jo Anne Lyon is the Vice President of Wesley Seminary in Marion, Indiana. Lyon was previously the General Superintendent of the Wesleyan Church. Lyon was elected as the first woman General Superintendent at the June 2008 General Conference. 

Jo Anne Lyon serves as ambassador of the Wesleyan Church, a position specifically created to retain the considerable connections and influence she has as former general superintendent. Over her lifetime, Dr. Lyon has developed a unique and significant set of connections to many national and international religious, political, and humanitarian agencies and leaders.

She has served on the board of directors of many organizations as representative of the Wesleyan Church, including the National Association of Evangelicals executive committee, Bread for the World, National Religious Partnership for the Environment, Asbury Theological Seminary board, Council on Faith of the World Economic Forum, and former President Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.

 Dr. Lyon holds a master’s degree in counseling, has continued graduate studies in historical theology, and has been granted five honorary doctorates. She’s written several articles and publications, including the book The Ultimate Blessing and has served over 30 years in pastoral ministry. She has been adjunct professor of church and society at both Indiana Wesleyan University and Asbury Theological Seminary. As the founder and CEO of World Hope International (Alexandria, Virginia), she directed the faith-based relief and development organizations into over 30 countries to alleviate suffering and injustice.

Dr. Lyon and her husband, Rev. Wayne Lyon, live in the Indianapolis area. They have 4 children and 10 grandchildren. Find her on Twitter @JoAnneLyonGS or Facebook, JoAnneLyonGS.