GWU Alumna Adjusts Education and Career Goals to Follow God’s Calling

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Megan Brown (’05, ’09) Teaches Next Generation About Ministry

Called into ministry at 16, Megan G. Brown of Fridley, Minn., came to Gardner-Webb University with clear goals in mind. She would be the first in her family to earn a bachelor’s degree and then serve in youth ministry. Her plans started to unravel as she approached graduation in 2005.

“During the Senior Research Seminar, I remember meeting with Dr. Doug Bryan and he encouraged me to consider continuing my education,” Brown related. “Dr. Bryan also made an appointment for me to meet with the dean of the GWU School of Divinity. Upon the prompting of several professors and mentors, I applied to, interviewed at, and was accepted to a number of different seminaries, schools of theology, or schools of divinity. Staying at GWU was the right choice.”

What set Gardner-Webb apart were its caring community, supportive faculty and opportunities for ministry and mentoring. On the Holy Land trip she developed deeper friendships with her colleagues and got to know her professors better. Her classes in Christian education helped her discover her own passions for writing curriculum and teaching. In 2009, as she neared completion of her Master of Divinity, Dr. Sophia Steibel, her advisor, mentor and friend, pointed out her gifts and skills and suggested God was calling her into higher education.

“Megan was an engaging student who attempted to do her very best in all classes,” Steibel observed. “She demonstrated resilience. Once she faced a conflict at the local church where she served. She dealt with the issue and courageously persevered. I saw these attitudes in the way she dealt with academics and life as a whole. She seems to be a good steward of every challenge and growth opportunity that come her way.”

Brown took a year to discern the call for herself, and enrolled into the doctoral program at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University in La Mirada, Calif. Soon after graduating, she took a job at the University of Northwestern in St. Paul, Minn. “Being a professor (and a mother) has enriched my life and understanding of God’s grace, care, and love. I’ve learned I don’t have all the answers, but God does. I love that I get to be a part of college students’ lives and God’s work in this formative part of their journey.”

Brown is assistant professor of Christian ministries, and her own teaching style incorporates ideas learned from GWU professors. “‘Go in peace but go’ is something Dr. Ron Williams used to say at the end of classes and I use that from time to time,” Brown elaborated. “I utilize a lot of active learning principles in my classes and reflection activities—inspired by Dr. Steibel’s teaching style. I expect excellence and offer grace, understanding, prayers, and mentoring where it is needed, which I learned from all of my professors.”