University News Service

Dr. Rusty Wheelington, assistant professor of Christian Studies at Howard Payne University, traveled to Interlaken, Switzerland, last month to serve as a presenter at the International Baptist Convention Summer Assembly.

Presenting a morning seminar on understanding youth and how they interpret culture, Wheelington addressed the topic of adolescents and how their experiences impact their faith development. He found that addressing culture issues for youth across world could be achieved by looking at the foundational basics of what drives adolescents.

While at the conference, Wheelington met with several youth ministers who are working on military bases in Europe.

“These ministers face a unique challenge in that the students they encounter are usually only on base for approximately eight months,” Wheelington said. “Rather than looking at long-term goals and planning over several years, like many youth ministers in America do, these ministers have a very limited amount of time to impact the youth they encounter.”

In addition to attending the conference, Wheelington was also able to explore the possibility of bringing HPU classes to Switzerland for mission trips in the future. He also talked with youth ministers in Germany about establishing internships for HPU youth ministry majors over the summer in Europe.

He and his wife, Laurie, were able to visit several other Swiss cities on their trip including Lucern, Geneva and Zurich. While in Geneva, they visited St. Peter’s Cathedral, the church where Reformer John Calvin preached during the 1500s. “The people really celebrate the reformation,” said Wheelington. “Unlike the Fourth of July in the US, when we just celebrate for a few days, the Christians there celebrate the Reformation year-round.”

The IBC is comprised of 27 different countries from Europe, Africa and the Middle East representing more than 125 different nations.