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Collaborative Efforts Major Focus for TLU's New Campus Pastor

As a proud TLU alumnus, newly appointed Campus Pastor Rev. Wes Cain '09 will serve in an important and influential role. Pastor Wes also has a wide array of other ministry experiences, including numerous volunteer endeavors focused on the intersection of higher education and spiritual development.

For him, returning to TLU is a dream come true.

“There are certain spaces in the world that hold particular holiness for different people, and TLU is absolutely one of mine,” he said. “I’ve pastored in different churches and different roles for a little over a decade, but my passion has always been for campus ministry. This new adventure is one I feel I’ve been preparing for since I was a college student myself and throughout all of my time as a pastor, and I’m thrilled to see it finally unfold at my alma mater.”

Pastor Wes has also worked alongside students at the University of Texas at Austin and San Antonio, as well as Texas State University in San Marcos. He has also served as chair of a board that supports campus ministries throughout the state, providing support and oversight to those serving these vital ministries.

During his time at TLU, he was very involved with campus ministry, crediting those experiences with be some of the most memorable moments he had as a student.

“I have so many great memories of campus ministry at TLU,” he said. “From starting a ministry called Worship On The Steps (WOTS) to attending the monthly Men’s Prayer Breakfast that met at 10 p.m. to experiencing wildly eclectic types of worship at chapel to singing ridiculously fun medleys at Coffee House, my world was filled to the brim with opportunities for faith development and community engagement. But the truly best and pivotal part of the whole thing was absolutely the friendships formed throughout all of it. I never felt alone at TLU, because from almost the very beginning of my first day I was surrounded by a community that loved me and was rooting for me.”

Pastor Wes is also looking forward to the very collaborative nature the role of campus pastor plays at TLU and the opportunity to work with people from all departments and audiences.

“The really cool thing about the expectations of this position is that I get to have a hand in every pot all around the campus,” he said. “I get to talk with and work alongside the different academic departments, student organizations, athletic groups, Greek life, etc., so that we are able to offer our entire campus the opportunity to grow and develop as individuals and as a community. My role in offering spiritual wellness is to do life together with the students, faculty, and staff, ensuring everyone has multiple entry points into their faith development and showing its interconnectedness with their academic and social development.”

Rev. Wes Cain and his wife Rev. Jessica Cain '09
Rev. Wes Cain and his wife Rev. Jessica Cain '09

With many ideas already brewing, Pastor Wes plans to start his new position by listening to the different student groups, academic departments, and campus organizations so he can determine what form campus ministry needs to take in this era of TLU’s story.

“Campus ministry is so dynamic and ever-changing—my goal is to get a good picture of what it needs to look like right now,” he said. “One of my other short-term goals is to raise engagement and participation in our morning chapel services. The Chapel of the Abiding Presence is the practical and metaphorical center of campus, serving as the focus of the circle that is TLU. My goal is to make it serve as the springboard and recharging station for our community—a place where all can (and do) come to be fed before launching back into their studies, classes, workloads, etc.”

He also plans to hopefully form a student-led committee that can help build ministry by naming and meeting the needs of the campus community, acknowledging that there are plenty of students already in leadership roles or individuals who are more than ready to jump feet first into this work.

“I want to dream with them, plan with them, and equip them to do the work they feel called to do,” he said. “TLU was such a formative time in my life, and the campus ministry especially so. I found a community—a family—that has continued to be my source of support even all these years later. More than anything else, I am most looking forward to helping others find and build that community for themselves, a community founded upon and strengthened by faith.”