Joshua Stoxen - Alumni Stories from the Department of Education | Judson University Christian College

Jonathan Krager

Joshua Stoxen

Youth Ministries/Adolescent studies, 2003
Pastor
Vineyard Central
Norwood, OH
www.vineyardcentral.com

 

What do you do in your current job and what do you enjoy about it?
I am the pastor of a small church/intentional community that is seeking to re-envision what it means to be a parish (a neighborhood-based church in the city). I really enjoy seeing how God plants the seeds of His Kingdom all over the place and invites us to be part of the work of tending to those seeds. I enjoy being part of transforming the lives of the people God puts in my path, both in the church and in the neighborhood.

How did your Judson experience influence you professionally? What were your favorite parts of being a Judson student?
Judson gave me a real taste of Christian community and what it is like to share life’s joys and challenges together. It also influenced my commitment to pastoral care and mentoring, which was a highlight of my time at Judson. My classes challenged me to think about ministry in new and important ways, extending the horizons of how I could integrate what I knew of Scripture with what I could see in our culture.

What are the strengths of your major/program at Judson?
The sense of family was a real strength, as well as a comfort during difficult times. My fellow students felt like an extended family, and the professors were both academically rigorous and relationally engaged. I was challenged in my studies but also supported through caring relationships. There was also a good blend of psychology, theology, philosophy, and biblical studies that has made for a strong foundation in my life and ministry.

What advice can you give to current and prospective students about their time at Judson?
I strongly encourage students to value both their academic work and their relationships. It is easy to focus on one but not the other. Make equal time for both, and also allow yourself time to rest in God so that you may process and appreciate all that you are learning. Also, try to take out as few loans as possible; debt after college can be especially challenging for those hoping to go into full-time ministry. Finally, get a part-time job. Working during college provides important reminders of the "real world," as well as opportunities to put theory into practice.

Judson University, Shaping Lives that Shape the World