Class Note

Brien McChesney '21

Brien McChesney is living a life inspired by faith, hope, and love

Class of 2021

(Submitted on: June 30, 2021)

To know Brien McChesney’s faith is to know him.

McChesney, a member of the Marywood University Class of 2021, finds himself in a situation that can provoke a plethora of emotions. You’ve graduated college- now what?

For some, that question may be difficult to answer. But McChesney takes comfort in the fact that his path forward is one inspired by the virtues of faith, hope, and love.

McChesney came to Marywood as an architecture major, which he attributes to his love of building and creating things starting with LEGO creations as a child.

“I was drawn to the idea of being able to imagine and create a space, and then one day people being able to experience that and walk through that,” said McChesney.

McChesney was enjoying his studies, but in the spring semester of his freshman year, McChesney heard a calling - one from God.

At a Saturday evening worship service, the pastor was preaching on the “fishers of people” passage from the Gospel of Matthew. For those unfamiliar with the passage, it recounts Jesus encountering His first two disciples, Simon Peter and Andrew, along the banks of the Sea of Galilee. Jesus tells them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of people.” (Matthew 4:19 New American Standard Bible) The two left their nets to follow Jesus, thus becoming the first disciples of Christ.

McChesney described his calling as a dialogue of sorts between him and God.

“In that moment it kind of felt like God was… like ‘Hey, hold on to this; keep this in mind. We’re gonna talk about this later.’”

The next day, McChesney arrived at a service early, which he describes as being out of the ordinary for him. In those minutes before the service, McChesney said everything clicked.

“I had a few minutes, and I was sitting in the pew and the Bible was right there,” said McChesney. “I picked it up and I… flipped it open to a random page, and right there on the left page on the right column was the story of “fishers of people.”

McChesney knew he had heard the story recently, and tried to recall where. As he tried to remember, the pastor began preaching on, sure enough, the story of “fishers of people.”

“That’s when it all seemed to click for me,” said McChesney. “I had this deep feeling of (God saying) ‘I know you think you’ve wanted to be an architect all this time, but I have something else planned for you if you’re on board, Brien.’” 

This sudden revelation came with mixed emotions, but ultimately McChesney knew what he had to do.

“I remember (saying to God,) ‘Golly, that’s terrifying. But, I trust You, and I trust that You probably have a better understanding of me and of the situation around me than I do. So, I guess I’m on board; let’s do this.’ That’s the moment I knew this was something I was being moved towards and called to.”

McChesney did indeed answer the call and hasn’t looked back. Although McChesney was passionate about architecture, he views this path as an opportunity to build up people.

“For me personally, I always dreamed of building these buildings and seeing people getting to experience them. And now (ministry) gives me the opportunity to inspire and build up people to be who they want to be and to know they are loved and cared for.”

And that is what McChesney hopes to accomplish through his ministry. He wants his ministry to bring people together and embrace those that may not see eye-to-eye.

“All of this is a heart thing; it’s not a where are you Sunday morning thing, it’s not a where’s your membership thing, it’s not a what’s your social group thing,” said McChesney. “It’s what is the posture of how you treat not just people like you, but those that are radically different from you. One of my favorite shirts…says ‘God loves the people you hate’ - that sort of mindset of really trying to see and be there for the people we have the opportunity to run into regardless of how similar or different they are from us. For my ministry, I hope to both pour that out, but also receive that from the people I’m around.”

McChesney currently works part-time in Lake Winola. He’s already finding purpose in his work through the people he meets and is looking forward to “(walking) through life with them.” He also has a potential opportunity to serve as a pastor figure for two local churches. 

Although McChesney’s main focus at the moment is planning for his upcoming wedding, he has a sketch of what is next for him. 

McChesney wants to stay in the area for a while combining youth ministry, campus ministry, and pastoral care, before attending school for his Master of Divinity degree. His “rough sketch” finds him attending a seminary in Tennessee and “trying to love and support a community of people there.”

McChesney is confident and secure in walking down this path, in large part, because of the love present in his life. He has a love for God, his family, and his fellow person, and he feels their love in return. He’s received love and support from his family and is excited to begin married life with his fiancee. And of course, he feels God’s love and trusts in Him to guide his ministry and life. 

McChesney was sure to say that “Life is tentative; write it in pencil,” but you can write it in permanent ink that Brien McChesney’s life will be one rooted in faith, inspired by hope, and bolstered by love.

Brien McChesney is living a life inspired by faith, hope, and love