The OKWU Young Alumnus of the Year Award is given to an individual who is under the age of 40 and serves the church, community, and Oklahoma Wesleyan University above and beyond the call. This year’s recipient is 2002 graduate Mike Colaw, senior pastor at Trinity Church in Indianapolis.
Before Colaw came to OKWU he was looking at many different schools, but decided on Oklahoma Wesleyan for several reasons, he shared. First, OKWU had a strong reputation for graduating individuals prepared for ministry. Furthermore, Colaw admired the faculty, and was excited to learn from them. Relationships were also a big part of his decision, as he already had strong relationships with current and incoming students, and his father and grandfather both recommended the school. With this in mind, Colaw pursued a degree in Philosophy of Religion.
During his time at the University, Colaw was most influenced by Dr. Weeter and Dr. Fullingim—both professors who greatly shaped the way I think about ministryhenotes. As a student at OKWU, Colaw also remembers a chapel service with Jim Garlow. The sermon talked about leadership and ministry. As he talked about leadership and ministry, the weight and honor of pastoral ministry hit me. I found myself truly grateful to be joining a long line of leaders that help people find and understand the life changing ways of Jesus. Truth really does set people free. Empowered to begin ministry, Colaw says of his time at OKWU that a good school should have students enthusiastic to take on the world! OKWU did it well with me.
After OKWU, Mike obtained his Master’s degree from Wesley Seminary, and in January of 2018, Mike will begin his doctoral program at the Robert Webber Institute of Worship Studies. He began his career in youth and then young adult ministry, and today, Colaw is the senior pastor at Trinity Church in Indianapolis. Trinity is a multi-site local church that intentionally works to maximize the truths of Christ and empower people to live the ways of Jesus out in their daily lives. Mike lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Leslie (Hughes)—who also attended OKWU—and his four children; Noah (13), Nathan (11), Emma (8), and Cara (1).
“I am passionately in love with Jesus and grateful for His redeeming work on the cross. My life verse is Luke 1:17, And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. My passion is to be a good steward of this call.”