Ken Loyer is the Lead Pastor of Spry Church in York, Pennsylvania. A native of York County, Ken has degrees from Messiah College and Duke Divinity School. He received his Ph.D in theology from Southern Methodist University. Ken is also an author and has written Holy Communion: Celebrating God With Us and God’s Love Through the Spirit: The Holy Spirit in Thomas Aquinas and John Wesley.
Ken was raised in a loving Christian family and has been part of the church from the time he was born. Church has always been home for him. Ken shares, “I began discerning a call to ministry as a teenager, when I started thinking about what to study in college and do after that. Some of the people who’d had the biggest influence in my life up to that point were pastors, including those who had served at my home church and especially my grandfather, a retired United Methodist pastor. It was a great joy to talk with several of them about hearing God’s call and responding in faith. Those conversations helped to confirm that the Lord was calling me to become a pastor.”
Ken enrolled in college, planning to go right to seminary and then return to his home conference in Pennsylvania to serve in pastoral ministry. In seminary, he discerned a broadening of his calling to include additional study of theology, scholarship, and teaching along with pastoral ministry. During a class with Dr. Geoffrey Wainwright, of blessed memory, Ken discovered a love for theology that left him thirsty for more. He decided to pursue doctoral studies in systematic theology with an emphasis on the doctrine of the Holy Spirit–a sadly neglected doctrine in both academic theology and, to a large extent, the church today. Yet, the doctrine of the Spirit is a vital, inexhaustibly rich resource for both theological study and the Christian life.
His studies have stirred a passion deep within him for the spreading of scriptural holiness in its resplendent beauty and fullness all throughout God’s world. Ken shares, “I am honored to be able to share that passion as a pastor in the local church, a writer for academic and popular audiences, and a teacher in various settings.”
When he was a seminary student at Duke Divinity School, several professors told him about AFTE. Ken was so excited to hear about a community of orthodox and evangelical Wesleyan scholars and as he learned more about the vision of AFTE, Ken was thrilled to discover that there were many people who shared his passion for the Wesleyan heritage, academic excellence, and the revitalization of the church.
Ken said, “Of all the scholarly conferences and gatherings I’ve been part of throughout the last 15 years, AFTE stands out because it is where I feel most at home, with others who deeply value the life of the mind and the life of the soul. AFTE has helped me embrace my vocation as a pastor-scholar working for church revitalization through leadership, scholarship, and teaching. I have a passion for seeing the church be all that God calls us to be, fully alive in Jesus. God has revitalized the local church I serve, Spry Church in York, PA. We’ve run out of space and soon we are launching a second campus to expand our ministry and embrace more people with the love of Jesus. We seek to play our part in reaching people for Jesus, revitalizing the church, and renewing our world for the kingdom of God. It is such an exciting journey!”
Ken is extremely grateful for the support received from AFTE in every way–financially, certainly, but that is just the beginning. So much more than that is the significance of relationships and friends on the journey of loving God and neighbor. To Ken, AFTE’s investment in him means he has a sacred responsibility to play his part and make an impact for Christ and the church.
Ken reflects on how relationships within the Fellowship have helped to shape his calling. “Some of my closest friends are people I have gotten to know through AFTE, true kindred spirits who sharpen my thinking, challenge me, laugh with me, and encourage me as I hope I encourage them. I’ve participated in several Methodist band groups with other John Wesley Fellows over the last 15 years and they have been spiritually transformative. In those meetings we confess our sins, pray for one another, share our lives with one another, and seek, as John Wesley said, ‘to watch over one another in love.’ Prior to those experiences I didn’t realize such a depth of fellowship was actually possible–what a great gift of God’s grace. I’m a more faithful Christian than I’d otherwise be because of such friendships and because of the AFTE community.”
Ken and his wife Molly reside in York, PA and have two young children Annie and Zeke.