The Holy Spirit in Mission: Interview with Dr. Gary Tyra (Part One)

Evangelical-Pentecostal scholars continue to produce fruitful work for the benefit of Christ’s church. Such advances will help contribute both toward a Reformation among Charismatics and for a renewed pneumatology among evangelicals and their ecclesiology.

One notable example of this work is Gary Tyra’s worthwhile book, The Holy Spirit in Mission: Prophetic Speech and Action in Christian Witness (InterVarsity Press, 2011). J.P. Moreland sets the context for understanding the significance of this book when he writes:

Outside of the West, the church is exploding in rapid growth and influence, and leading experts tell us that much of it is due to supernatural manifestations of the Holy Spirit. What has been needed is a biblically and theologically savvy defense of this role of the Spirit in the church’s mission. Tyra’s excellent book more than adequately fills that need. His treatment of the importance of the prophetic is alone worth the price of the book.

Recently, Joe Gorra interviewed Gary Tyra about the book and its implications for our theology and practices. Below is Part One of that interview. Currently, Gary is Associate Professor of Biblical and Practical Theology at Southern California’s Vanguard University. Along with his scholarship and writing, Gary has extensive pastoral leadership experience, and great love to see people grow into all that God has called them to be.


You dedicate your book to the renowned Russell P. Spittler, who you rightly describe as “a consummate evangelical-Pentecostal scholar and statesman whose example, counsel and friendship have meant a great deal to me over the years.” As a self-identified evangelical-Pentecostal scholar, can you share a little about your own journey, especially with regard to your own work, and how Russell has influenced you?

I became a Christ follower as a young adult (19-years-old) while a pre-med student in college. Since my conversion to Christ took place within a Pentecostal/charismatic ecclesial setting, my first worship, nurture, community and mission experiences occurred in an environment where the folks simply took for granted the need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit for life and ministry over and over again throughout one’s spiritual journey.

Within a year of my conversion I found myself involved in full-time Christian ministry. Once I responded to the call to transition from medicine to ministry, I began the pursuit of a formal biblical, theological ministry education. Eventually I was exposed to the broader evangelical movement, earning my graduate and post-graduate degrees at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.

I emerged from my time at Fuller as an evangelical who nevertheless continues to embrace the best aspects of his Pentecostal/charismatic heritage due in no small part to the influence of fellow Fuller Pentecostals such as Russ Spittler and Mel Robeck. I consider both of these men to be consummate scholars who represent the Pentecostal-charismatic tradition well within the larger evangelical and ecumenical settings. As well, both have spent time with me over the years helping me better understand and negotiate the challenges involved in functioning as a pastor-scholar within an ecclesial tradition that, historically, hasn’t always emphasized the need for advanced theological degrees, much less a critical scholarship.

More of the Interview

Academic Calendar for 12-13

The Academic Calendar dates for 2012-2013 have been added to the Provost’s Office events calendar found here.

Or, the PDF version of the calendar is here for your use.  We’re looking forward to the upcoming academic year at Vanguard!

Questions about academic calendar dates?  Email Julie Cowen at

Vanguard University is Honored to Announce Dr. George O. Wood as 2012 Commencement Speaker

It is with great pride that Vanguard announces Dr. George O. Wood, General Superintendent of the Assemblies of God, as the 2012 Commencement speaker at  graduation ceremonies on Friday, May 4, 2012 at 7:00pm and Saturday, May 5, 2012 at 9:30am.  Both Commencement events will be held at Mariners Church in Irvine, California.

A popular speaker and writer, Dr. Wood was elected chief executive officer of the church at the 52nd General Council in August 2007. As general superintendent of the Assemblies of God, USA, part of the largest Pentecostal denomination in the world, he is a member of the denomination’s Executive Leadership Team and Executive Presbytery. The church has over 12,300 congregations in the United States with some 2.8 million members and adherents. The U.S. Assemblies of God is part of a larger World Assemblies of God fellowship with a membership of over 60 million.  Prior to his present position, Wood served the church as its general secretary for 14 years. He was assistant superintendent of the Southern California District Council of the Assemblies of God from 1988-1993. Dr. Wood pastored Newport-Mesa Church in Costa Mesa, California, for 17 years. Dr. Wood was elected to serve as chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship at its meeting in Lisbon, Portugal in May, 2008.  Wood has also taught as an adjunct faculty in the Religion Department at Vanguard University and currently serves as a Trustee Emeritus on the University’s Board of Trustees.

The son of missionary parents to China and Tibet, Wood holds a doctoral degree in pastoral theology from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California, and a juris doctorate from Western State University College of Law in Fullerton, California. He did his undergraduate work at Evangel University (College) in Springfield, Missouri, and served the college in several capacities, including being director of spiritual life and student life from 1965- 71. He was ordained by the Southern Missouri District in 1967. Dr. Wood is author of a number of books including: A Psalm In Your Heart, Living Fully, The Successful Life, and a college text on the Book of Acts. Sermons by Dr. Wood may be heard at

For more information regarding all Commencement events, please visit the website at

Watch the LIVE WEBCAST of the Undergraduate Ceremony at; tweet and follow tweets live from all events with #VUGrad

Vanguard Hosts Mimi Haddad for Women’s History Month

Vanguard University and the Global Center for Women and Justice (GCWJ) are pleased to announce that Mimi Haddad, president of Christians for Biblical Equality, will be speaking at Vanguard on March 29, 2012, in celebration of Women’s History Month.

GCWJ will be hosting its first ever “Women’s History Month Tea” from 7-9pm at the Vanguard Library as Dr. Haddad speaks on “Why Women’s Leadership in the Church is a Primary Issue: Wisdom from the Early Evangelicals.”

Dr. Haddad will share the results of many hours of research through the archives of Christian colleges and seminaries, unearthing stories of “wild-hearted women” who stepped out in leadership in the Evangelical church.  Did you know that during the “golden era” of missions in the first part of the 20th century, women outnumbered men on the mission field two to one?  When missions organizations refused to support single women volunteering for the field, they formed their own organizations and funded their own work.

Dr. Carol Taylor, president of Vanguard University, will also provide inspirational remarks on this historic occasion. Come hear the stories and wisdom of our Evangelical sages– past and present.

To watch Dr. Haddad’s recent talk given at Fuller Theological Seminary, click here.

Directions to Vanguard

Going Beyond the Vanguard Community to Improve Lives

Bits of Hope

“A Costa Mesa company is looking to improve the lives of Ugandan women one bracelet and necklace at a time.”

By Alisha Gomez


Sometimes a trip is more than just a great escape.

That’s what happened to Kallie Dovel when she first traveled to Uganda in summer 2007. It was there that she saw what women were going through: little to no education, lack of health care, extreme poverty.

But there was one thing they had: paper beads they made by hand and turned into jewelry. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a market for them to sell the items.

Dovel started thinking. She brought home a box of jewelry and showed it to friends and family who were amazed. She sold the jewelry at school and at events. People responded strongly; they loved the jewelry.

But Dovel, a young twenty-something finishing her degree at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, couldn’t do it alone. She went to her friends and told them she really wanted to sell the jewelry and invest in Uganda, but she needed their help.

“So we started helping her,” said Alli Swanson, one of the five founders and director of public relations and marketing. “We started selling jewelry at craft fairs and random events, wherever we could.”

In the summer of 2008, four of them went to Uganda to meet the women they had been supporting, see their lives and figure out a way to make their jewelry business model more sustainable.

It was then that 31 Bits, now in Costa Mesa, was born.

The company first hired six women in Uganda to make the beads and jewelry, paid them a salary equivalent to a teacher and ultimately started devising their business plan.

All of them — Jessie Simonson, Anna Nelson, Brooke Hodges and Swanson — but Dovel returned to finish school at Vanguard. Dovel lived and worked with the women to put the business model in place.

A big break came in October 2008 when sandal maker Reef called. One of the designers was friends with one of the founder’s moms. The designer loved the story, the beads and the design and had showed the design team at Reef to see if the sandal maker could work with 31 Bits to make a special edition sandal.

“Reef is one of the largest sandal companies in the world, so we were really excited at the possibility of partnering with them,” Swanson said. “We met with them and had [photo copied] pictures of the ladies and box of jewelry, told our story and said a prayer. They loved our story and they placed a rather large order from us. That’s when it took off for us and that’s when it became something bigger.”

That first big order, some 16,000 beads, gave the founders enough money to get their business truly off the ground.

Nearly four years later, 31 Bits is on its fourth sandal design with Reef. The necklaces and bracelets made out of paper beads are sold in internationally in about 140 boutiques. Locally, they can be found at Silhouettes in Newport Beach, Deer Lovely in Costa Mesa, Jack’s Surf Shop in Newport Beach. For a list of shops, visit

Bracelets range from $10 to $48. Necklaces are $20 to about $60.

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