Pastor graduates with friend, doctor, country star

Posted: May 11, 2010

By Rob Schellenberg

Wayne Smele. Submitted photo.
Going from being an Ontario youth pastor to sharing the stage with Canada’s leading country music artist may seem like a dream come true for many, but it’s just another day in the life of Wayne Smele.

Smele began his graduate studies in Toronto, Ont., several years ago with more than 10 years of youth ministry experience under his belt. Last weekend, he was awarded his Master of Arts in Leadership and Management during the same ceremony that saw his good friend Paul Brandt receive an honorary doctor of divinity.

In fact, Smele was given the honour of introducing Brandt to guests at a luncheon prior to the ceremony.

“He is a man who just inspires me,” Smele said.

The accolades go both directions as Brandt also spoke glowingly of his friend and pastor.

After relocating to Calgary in 2001, Smele decided to transfer to Briercrest College and Seminary’s M.A. in Leadership and Management program—for him, its reputation and the experiences he’d had with its professors made it an obvious choice.

As the lead pastor of regional ministries and multi-site development at Centre Street Church in Calgary, Smele is thrilled with the experience he’s had during his time here.

For Smele, it was “more than regurgitating information—it was how do you lead and make a difference in your organization?”

He’s grateful for the impact his professors have had on his education and his ministry as both mentors and coaches. “The profs have been just incredible,” he says. “Their personal investment in me—I can’t describe it.”

“Thank-you is just not enough.”