Empowering women to fulfill God’s calling in ministry is a missional distinctive for Oklahoma Wesleyan and The Wesleyan Church, and includes a commitment to removing barriers for women in leadership and ministry roles at every level.
OKWU is honored to add to this storied tradition. In July 2022, two significant roles will be filled by exceptional leaders on campus. Dr. Keri Bostwick begins her appointment as Provost, and Rev. Torrey Martin will step into a newly created university pastor role. Both bring a passion for the Gospel and for serving students, faculty, and staff.
They’ll join other women in ministry leadership roles on campus, including Rev. Belinda Selfridge and Michelle Osborn, who teach within OKWU’s School of Ministry and Christian Thought and bring their extensive knowledge and experience to aid students studying for the ministry.
“I feel we are all called. Even prior to vocationally being in a ministry role, I definitely felt we are all called to be pastors. We are to shepherd others.”
For her part, Selfridge is using her extensive knowledge to teach Homiletics and CROSS Training classes, a part of the Wesleyan ordination process. Her specific class, Homiletics II, is designed to impart the principles and practical application of sermon preparation and delivery. “It’s a deeper dive into developing a sermon. I am going to give them as many chances I can to practice and develop their skills,” Selfridge said.
The class is a good fit with Selfridge’s unique path to vocational ministry and her firm belief in the necessity of all believers to become active in ministry. “My call to ministry is different—I feel we are all called,” she said. “Even prior to vocationally being in a ministry role, I definitely felt we are all called to be pastors. We are to shepherd others.”
Selfridge is an alumnus of Bartlesville Wesleyan College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and a minor in math. She also earned a master’s degree in school counseling, with which she served as a school counselor for 11 years in the Texas public school system and then as a special education diagnostician for four years.
While teaching and counseling, she was a part of Sent Church, serving in a wide variety of ministries. It was through serving on the local board of administration for 17 years that she was asked to consider coming on as a family pastor. She appreciated how God was growing her heart for ministry, so she resigned from the public school system to begin her journey as a pastor.
In 2018, Selfridge graduated from Wesley Seminary with a Master of Practical Theology degree and went on to become an ordained minister through the Mountain Plains District of The Wesleyan Church in 2019. And she is continuing her education still with a Doctor of Ministry in Spiritual Formation degree from Wesley Seminary.
In addition to teaching at OKWU, Selfridge works for the Tri-State District of The Wesleyan Church as Executive Assistant to the District Superintendent and is involved in ministry at First Wesleyan Church in Bartlesville, where she serves as Local Outreach Pastor.
“How do other denominations or congregations throughout the world and throughout history approach worship? And how can we use that knowledge to guide us in the way that we structure worship?”
A Foundation for Worship
Michelle Osborn’s path to teaching varied. Last year, she began teaching Christian Worship: Biblical and Historical Foundations, which focuses on forming the foundation for authentic worship in the Christian faith.
“The class involves looking at what the Bible says about worship. It says a lot if we are willing to dive deep into it,” Osborn said. “We spend the majority of the first part of the semester looking at what the Bible says about worship, and in the second half, looking at how we can approach that in the world. How do other denominations or congregations throughout the world and throughout history approach worship? And how can we use that knowledge to guide us in the way that we structure worship?”
That second lesson—how to apply biblical lessons to the modern church setting—is where Osborn thrives, having almost 20 years of experience in the modern church setting. Born into a pastor’s family, she became involved in ministry from an early age, often traveling with her father to do revivals and sing during the “special music” portion.
“I don’t think that I knew what worship entailed. I just thought it was fun or special music. That evolved as my relationship with Jesus evolved,” she said.
Osborn continued in worship ministry throughout her college career and received a bachelor’s degree in music education, going on to earn her master’s in vocal performance.
Her first ministry position was at a church plant in Lexington, Kentucky, where she met her husband, Kevin. They worked together for several years. Osborn eventually took a break to have a family and raise their four children, teaching music on and off through that time.
Osborn is also teaching Intro to Songwriting, experimenting with new ways to incorporate theology into the music curriculum. Because this class is personally tailored to the students taking it, Osborn can incorporate a variety of genres in worship music.
“Every class is unique as far as seeing students come in with different backgrounds and what they want to get out of the class,” she said.
Whether a pastor, teacher, or worship leader—these and other exceptional women at OKWU are helping students discover, live, and deepen their relationship in Jesus Christ to influence culture with Grace & Truth.