Melissa Wiginton is Vice President for Education Beyond the Walls at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary, which she founded in 2011, and Research Professor in Methodist Studies. She designed the Fellowships in Pastoral Leadership for Public Life, and is co-creator of The 787 Collective, a community of congregations committed to serving with and for young adults.
Ms. Wiginton holds the MDIV from the Candler School of Theology at Emory University, a JD from The University of Texas Law School, and a BA in American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked for the Fund for Theological Education, creating multiple projects to encourage gifted young people to explore ministry as a vocation. While practicing law in Austin before Seminary, she served as president of the Austin Family Mediation Association and co-created Moving Through: A Workshop for Divorcing Families, the first educational program in Austin to help parents in conflictual divorces ease the children’s difficulty. In 1996, the Texas Senate recognized Ms. Wiginton for her work on behalf of Texas families.
Ms. Wiginton has participated in several major research initiatives relative to the church and pastoral leadership, including Duke Divinity School’s Pulpit & Pew project and Pathways to Ministry, a project of the Auburn Center for the Study of Theological Education. She is the co-editor of Awakened to a Calling: Reflections on the Vocation of Ministry, a collection of sermons focused on young people and the vocation of ministry; author of “Truth,” in Way to Live: Christian Practices for Teenagers; and a contributor to Greenhouses of Hope: Congregations Growing Young Leaders Who Will Change the World.