School of Theology and Christian Ministry
M.A. (Secondary Education), 1991, Olivet Nazarene University
B.A. (Secondary Education), 1987, Olivet Nazarene University
A specialist in youth ministry, Professor Garner joined Olivet’s full-time faculty in 2013. She teaches courses in foundations of youth ministry, youth ministry in the local church, Christian formation, Christian faith and fundamentals of Christian ministry. She has served in some capacity of youth ministry since her junior high school days and has more than 30 years of volunteer and church staff experience.
She comes to this teaching assignment with experience as half of a couple on the same staff in pastoral ministry. She and her husband, Kenneth, served on staff as associate pastors of Jackson First Church of the Nazarene in Jackson, Michigan, for 20 years before coming back to ONU. Her experience in multi-staff ministry and longevity of service poises her to mentor young men and women as they shape their philosophies of ministry.
She has been empowered by the church to raise up women in ministry as part of her Wesleyan heritage. Her maternal grandmother and paternal great-grandmothers were also ordained ministers. Being able to share these experiences and knowledge with students called to serve in the local church is her privilege.
In 2008, Professor Garner completed her course of study for ordination and was ordained as an elder in the Church of the Nazarene in 2009. She has also studied at the master’s level at Nazarene Theological Seminary and is currently in a doctoral program — Youth, Family and Culture — at Fuller Theological Seminary. The classes and the writing have challenged her thinking on the purpose and mission of the Church. She enjoys sharing the vision of adoptive youth ministry with church leaders, pastors and churches. She feels it is her mission to bridge the gap between what has been and what could be in youth and family ministry. As she prepares emerging adults to minister in local contexts, she has been encouraged to prepare churches and pastors for the transitions that need to take place in order to raise the younger generations to see that the Church makes a difference in the lives of the community and the world.
Professor Garner has served in local, district, and global capacities with Nazarene Youth International (NYI) and has served as a delegate to the General Assembly NYI Conventions several times.
She and Kenneth are the parents of a son, Tanner, and a daughter, Tate. Tanner is a 2014 ONU graduate and is currently living and working in Denver while serving the homeless 18- to 25-year-olds through a program called 5280. Tate lives in Manteno, Illinois, and is an independent business consultant working with junior high students at Youth for Christ in Momence. The Garners also have a daughter, Mary, who became a part of their home during her high school years and is now forever a part of the family. Mary, also an ONU graduate, and her husband, Brendon, are the parents of the Garners’ two grandchildren, Makenna and Cooper. Kenneth is the youth pastor at Manteno Church of the Nazarene.