Wells to receive Briercrest honorary doctorate

Posted: March 31, 2014

David Wells shepherds a large flock.

The General Superintendent of the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada (PAOC) oversees the organization which has over 1,100 affiliated churches, 3,500 credentialed ministers and a constituency of close to 250,000 people.

Wells is receiving an honorary doctorate from Briercrest College and Seminary during its graduation service on April 17.

“I feel this strong link with Briercrest on an ongoing basis, so I’m very honoured,” he said.

Briercrest President Michael Pawelke is pleased with the selection of Wells.

“When I think of our commitment to ‘equip the church’, David Wells embodies this vision with passion, clarity, wisdom, and tenacity,” he said. “David has served individual local churches as a pastor, a wider movement of churches in his role as General Superintendent for the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada, and the Church in Canada in his role with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. David is one of Canada’s strategic leaders who is advancing the mission of Christ through His Church.”

The general superintendent’s connection with Briercrest began in the early 1990s when he enrolled in the MA program for Christian ministry.

“I’d been involved in pastoral and church leadership for over 15 years at that time,” he explained. “I was feeling quite drawn to the fact about having to deepen both my personal life and devotion but also my leadership skills.”

Wells is pleased that he chose Briercrest for his post graduate degree.

“My program at Briercrest was only positive, and that’s not blowing smoke,” he exclaimed. “That to me is the clear fact because it met expectations as far as in the midst of my very active life I was able to study and do research and write papers that were right in the sweet spot of what I was engaging. Not only was it relevant to the moment, but then it became foundational for the other leadership roles I’ve had including the one I’m in right now.”

Wells’ says his personal sweet spot of ministry has to do with providing focus and enabling collaboration within the greater Church body.

“I think a primary way God uses me is that I am able to have a clear sense of direction in certain areas where the Church of Jesus needs to be working together – either in my own family or in the broader church family,” he explained. “To serve that vision and to let people rise to where they best serve and where they can participate.”

Wells’ ability to inspire teamwork has also been useful in other areas besides the church. Since 2004 he has served as chaplain to Canada’s Olympic teams, as well as for other national teams.

“In July I’m already accredited to be going to the Commonwealth Games,” he said. “That will be the fourth Commonwealth Games I’ve participated in. The positive of that is it builds toward the Pan Am games which are right here in Toronto next year so I’m working with a number of the same athletes and the same organizers.”

Wells says that force that drives him in all of his roles is a shepherd’s heart.  He remembers a time in one of his master’s level classes when that role became especially alive for him.

“The instructor did a masterful job one day tracking a Biblical theology of the shepherd as he built toward the passage where Jesus says, ‘I am the Good Shepherd.’ I found myself at the end of the class literally weeping about the privilege of how God passes the baton of the shepherd from His hand to our hands to be the expression of His character and care in people’s lives. So that metaphor . . . has been strongly rooted in my heart and mind all along by how I’ve been mentored throughout the years.”

That shepherd’s heart comes through in everything Wells does whether it’s on an individual or corporate level.

“I can’t lead in any role and just do it bureaucratically,” he said. “I need to do it relationally. I need to connect. I’m alert to what people are walking through. That doesn’t just speak of the kind, caring side of it. There’s a leadership side of it as well – a governmental side, but it’s still done with the Lord’s grace and caring heart.”