Vanguard Community Celebrates Men’s Basketball NAIA National Champions at Rally

2014NAIAMenBballChamps1“Ooh, Aah! You wish you were a Lion!” The Pit roared on April 2 at Vanguard University’s 2014 NAIA Basketball National Championship Rally.

In celebration of the men’s basketball’s national victory, Vanguard hosted a championship rally for all of the Vanguard community to attend. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and supporters packed The Pit. Attendees filled the gym floor seating, the bleachers and the balcony.

At the entrance, the men’s basketball champion team and also the women’s basketball team, who were ranked No. 1 in the NAIA throughout the season until a hard loss at the national tournament, greeted attendees with free t-shirts. Also, members of Vanguard’s staff handed out blue and gold “Go Lions” posters.

Serving as the MC for the rally, KOCE’s Ed Arnold kicked off the event with Vanguard’s new cheer: “Ooh! Aah! You wish you were a Lion.” The cheer that resounded in The Pit throughout the season as losing teams hung their heads, defeated by the Lions.

During the rally, various coaches, athletic staff and Vanguard president Michael Beals gave short speeches thanking the individuals who supported the team along the way. In his introduction, Arnold talked about the team being more than just excellent basketball players. “Character-wise and otherwise these are outstanding people,” he said.

Before a final word from president Beals, a photo and video montage of the NAIA national tournament played. Then, while the lights were still low, We are the Champions began to play and everyone’s attention shifted to a black curtain at the back of the stage. As the curtain began to peel away, glimpses of a bright red banner brought the crowd to their feet with cheering and applause. Attendees whipped out their phones to snap photos and record videos as the curtain dropped to reveal the “2014 NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Champion” banner.

In his closing remarks, President Beals congratulated the men’s team and assured them that throughout the rest of Vanguard’s existence their banner would remain on the wall of whatever gym facility Vanguard has. President Beals also gave an encouraging word for students to cultivate their God-given talents, whatever they may be, like the members of the men’s team had cultivated their athletic talents.

To learn more about Vanguard’s men’s basketball team and their journey, click here.

Assemblies of God Researcher Teaches on Ethnic and Linguistic Diversity in the Pentecostal Movement

Darrin-RogerOn March 28, the Lewis Wilson Institute (LWI) hosted the director of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC), Darrin Rodgers, M.A., J.D., for a seminar on the history of ethnic and linguistic diversity in the Assemblies of God (AG).

Students, faculty, staff and notable community members attended the seminar. Dr. Lewis Wilson and many of his family members were in attendance. Before retiring at the end of the 1994-95 academic year, Dr. Wilson had been a professor of history at Vanguard University and a Pentecostal educator for more than 40 years.

In the seminar, Rodgers focused on the topic of racial and ethnic diversity growing in the U.S. and, even more so, in the AG. “In ten years, there will likely be no majority group in the assemblies,” Rodgers said. “I find this to be a great opportunity, and yes, a challenge,” he added.

Throughout the lecture, Rodgers shared examples from his own experience to illustrate and support his ideas regarding the importance and opportunity in the continued diversification of the AG. At home, Rodgers attends a Russian/Slavic community church. He described the differences between the ethnic backgrounds of these individuals, having been under the hardship of Communism and other oppression, in comparison to the average American Christian.

The different life experiences from both ethnic backgrounds could have important truths to share with one another, he said. After describing the blessed life experience most American Christians have in comparison to the oppressive experience that many Russian immigrant church members have had, Rodgers said: “maybe we need to be blessed by people who haven’t been blessed.”

In a time of question and answer, Rodgers described his heart for racial reconciliation. He desires to see the AG take advantage of the opportunity that it has to encourage Christians with different racial, cultural and ethnic backgrounds to learn from one another. When describing his role in this process, Rodgers said: “I love working to build bridges.”

Reflecting on the seminar, LWI Director Derrick Rosenior, Ph.D., said, in regards to the Vanguard University community, “we want to reflect the diversity that we are seeing in the movement overall.” Being an AG school, it is important that Vanguard find ways to be encompassing of all people like the assemblies is doing as a whole, he said. He went on to say that in order to play its part, the Vanguard community must ask the question: “How can we reach people who are not like us?”

Overall, the seminar was very informative. Rodgers presented many statistics and historical accounts to provide a foundation for attendees to understand what has shaped the AG’s racial and ethnic makeup up to this point and how the assemblies can move forward in the opportunities presented by the ever-diversifying Pentecostal movement.

As the director for the FPHC, Rodgers works to collect and preserve the history of Pentecostalism. The FPHC is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. In his role, Rodgers searches for historical treasures to continue to unwrap more of the history of the Pentecostal movement that led to the formation of the AG today.  Find out more about the FPHC by clicking here.

To learn more about the Lewis Wilson Institute, click here. Also, to find out about upcoming seminars, click here.

Vanguard University’s Lewis Wilson Institute Celebrates AG 100th Anniversary at 5th Annual Pentecostal Leaders Series

DSC00694In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Assemblies of God (AG), Vanguard University’s Lewis Wilson Institute (LWI) hosted general superintendent, Dr. George O. Wood for the 5th annual Pentecostal Leaders Series on March 12.

Each year, LWI hosts Pentecostal leaders from nearby churches and from around the nation to provide the “means by which we can spotlight Vanguard’s Pentecostal heritage and identity,” LWI Director Derrick R. Rosenior, Ph.D., said. This year, LWI had the unique opportunity to host Dr. Wood, who is not only the general superintendent of the U.S. Assemblies of God, but also the chairman of the World Assemblies of God Fellowship.

For the day, Dr. Wood spoke at Vanguard’s chapel, participated in a Q&A session for students and a pastor’s luncheon with more than 100 pastors in attendance and then spoke at the main evening event. “It was quite an honor to have him here on our campus,” Dr. Rosenior said while describing Dr. Wood’s prestigious leadership position. However, “he’s no stranger to us,” Dr. Rosenior added detailing Dr. Wood’s time as the pastor of Newport Mesa Church.

At the evening gathering, Dr. Wood spoke about the lives of eight influential AG leaders and missionaries who took the Pentecostal movement and the Gospel around the world. These individuals made numerous sacrifices for the sake of the Gospel, and for some, this included their very lives. His topic, “We Will Remember”, focused on sharing the stories of these leaders, the development and spread of the Pentecostal movement during the last 100 years, and a message about the future of the Assemblies of God.

Students Reflect and Give Thanks for Vanguard University and its Supporters

gratitude_week_slider-1024x383The last week of March 2014 is Gratitude Week at Vanguard University: a time to reflect and give thanks to the people who make this Christ-centered education and experience possible.

With Instagram contests, chapel videos and thank-you notes, students are reflecting on what Vanguard has meant to them and thanking the people who support the university. Students, faculty and staff are taking time to thank Vanguard’s supporters and alumni who continue to be an integral part of this community and who help to make the Vanguard experience possible.

For the “#vuThankYou” Instagram Contest, daily thanks challenges featured various aspects of the gratitude focus. To participate, students follow Vanguard’s Instagram page (@vanguardu) and tag their daily-challenge photo with the contest name. Each day, one photo is chosen to win a prize and be featured in the office of advancement for the rest of the year.

On Monday, the challenge was to take a photo with a favorite faculty or staff member. Tuesday’s challenge was to take a personal photo writing a thank-you note or sharing some words of gratitude. Wednesday’s photos were of individuals signing the thank-you banner, and for today’s challenge, students have been taking smiling selfies. For Friday, the challenge is to post a photo of a favorite place on Vanguard’s campus.

Along with the contest, students have been encouraged to think about what they’re thankful for, sign a thank-you banner and write thank-you notes that will be sent to Vanguard’s supporters. At Wednesday’s chapel, the new Student Government Association (SGA) president, Spencer Green, encouraged students to participate in the week of gratitude and shared a little of his story. As a first generation college student, Green thanked Vanguard for providing the financial aid necessary to make his college education possible. He also expressed his gratitude for the friendships and community he’s found at Vanguard University.

Learn more about Gratitude Week and how you can become a supporter of Vanguard University, by clicking here. Also, view the winning photos by following @vanguardu on Instagram and check out all of the contest entries at #vuThankYou.

Vanguard Forensics Team Celebrates Multiple Victories and Broken Records at Invitational Tournament

forensics-team-picOn March 8-10, Vanguard University’s forensics team competed at the National Christian Colleges Forensics Association (NCCFA) Invitational Tournament winning multiple awards and making tournament and Vanguard history.

Hosted by California Baptist University, the NCCFA tournament brings together the “best and brightest Christian competitors in the nation,” forensics coach and communications professor Karen Nishie said. Vanguard’s team took home first place in the Division II Sweepstakes for debate and third place in the Individual Events Sweepstakes.

Along with several other team members, student Josh Popke took home an Individual Events award. Looking back on the event, Popke said that it made him “feel great about being a part of debate.” Also, he said that he hopes the team’s victories will bring recognition for Vanguard, make students aware of the team and maybe even be an encouragement for more students to be a part of the forensics team in the future.

In an email to staff and faculty praising the students’ great success, Nishie said: “it’s been an amazingly satisfying experience coaching this group of students.” Even though it was a rebuilding year with six students who had never done collegiate debate before August, the team did wonderfully, she said.

To learn more about the forensics team, click here.