Kevin Wieser is a firm believer in the impact of Christian higher education. His life has been impacted since the day he gave up a football scholarship at the University of Texas El-Paso to attend a small Christian university in Arkadelphia, AR. As a student at Ouachita Baptist University (OBU), Wieser experienced first-hand the benefits of attending a private Christian college. In his years at OBU (1973-1977) he received a quality education while being surrounded by professors and students alike who helped him grow in his faith and who helped shape and strengthen his call to student ministry. It was also during this time that Wieser met the love of his life, Sharon Ferguson, his future wife of 44 years and his most important partner in ministry.
Wieser first learned about Ouachita from Bailey Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church in Hobbs, NM and alumni of OBU. Wieser says he was also influenced by multiple others who had graduated from various Christian institutions. Their influence had helped him to see the value of Christian higher education so he determined that he would use his influence to help others as well.
Wieser went on to serve in student ministry in various churches in Arkansas, New Mexico and Texas for over 30 years. He also served as Associate Dean of Students and Tiger Network Director at OBU and assistant principal at Little Rock Christian Academy. During this time, Wieser says he can count at least 150 students that he has influenced to attend OBU. Many of these were directly influenced and others were influenced by brothers, sisters, cousins and friends that Wieser had helped find their way to OBU.
Wieser says he never overtly recruited students. Instead, he asked where they were going to school and offered OBU as an option. He would host a Christian education weekend and have Baptist colleges from the area come and talk to his students. Wieser says despite his connection to OBU, he doesn’t favor one school over another. He also says that he doesn’t necessarily have anything against secular schools and understands that not everyone can attend a Christian university.
When asked why he encouraged so many students to invest in Christian higher education, Wieser points to the time he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. In 1986, there weren’t many medications or options for treatment of MS. Through the years, there have been many new treatments and medications developed. Although there are no cures, there are ways to help alleviate the symptoms. These medicines and treatments are expensive. But Wieser says he was willing to pay whatever it cost to give himself the best chance to have the opportunity to live a healthy, productive life with his wife and kids.
“That’s honestly why I encouraged Christian higher education. I love my youth ministry kids, all of them, and want to do all I can to stack everything in their favor just like I did with my MS. I want them to have the best chance at a long, healthy and productive life.”