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 Lions Hold 2014 NAIA National Championship Rally

Costa Mesa, CA, March 31, 2014 – Vanguard University will hold the 2014 NAIA Basketball National Championship Rally on Wednesday, April 2 at 10:00am in Vanguard University Gym. The rally will celebrate Vanguard’s first-ever NAIA men’s basketball crown, the women’s basketball team who advanced to the NAIA second round, six NAIA Scholar-Athletes, five NAIA All-Americans, the NAIA Women’s Player of the Year and the NAIA Men’s Coach of the Year.

The men’s hoops victory in the final contest of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA National Championship game over No. 8-seeded Emmanuel (Ga.) earned VU the title on Tuesday, March 25. In the program’s 64-year history, the 2013-14 Lions are the first squad to earn a Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) regular season and tournament crown in the same year. In addition, the Lions sit as the only team to advance past round two in national tournament play and they are now the all-time VU record holder for the most wins in a single season (32-6).

Days after the NAIA second round game for the women’s basketball team (27-2), Taylor Belmont and Nicole Ballestero were selected as NAIA First Team All-Americans, while Leigha Bednar, Jordie Smith and Taylor Belmont took home NAIA Scholar-Athlete honors. From the men’s team, the NAIA Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, Preston Wynne, and Chris Gorman garnered NAIA First and Second Team All-America recognition, respectively. Swing Chuang, Kirk Sheplay and Preston Wynne were also named as NAIA Scholar-Athletes for the Lions.

The men’s and women’s teams will be celebrated on their home court, surrounded by athletic staff, basketball alumni and parents, university student body and the Orange County community and media. KOCE co-anchor, Ed Arnold, will emcee the commemorative rally, as Vanguard University president, Dr. Mike Beals, and women’s basketball coach, Russ Davis, and men’s coach, the 2014 NAIA Coach of the Year, Rhett Soliday, will also take the stage.

Can’t make it to the rally? Watch a live stream of the event on:

To learn more about Vanguard University’s Athletics program, visit

Event Details:
2014 NAIA Basketball National Championship Rally
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
10:00AM – 11:00AM
Vanguard University Gym
55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

To request an interview, contact:
Erin Hales, Director of Marketing & Communications
55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626



The Intercollegiate Athletic Program at Vanguard University is dedicated to the holistic growth and development of all student athletes, teaching them to lead Christ-centered lives on and off the field of competition. The program encourages a high standard of academic and athletic excellence that embraces character building. Along with the specific-sports instruction, the department seeks significance by providing the student athlete with the knowledge to impact his/her world through a lifetime of service to Christ.

The Vanguard Lions are leaders of character emulating Christ through faithfulness and selflessness, while passionately educating and influencing others to change the culture of sport. Learn more at



Vanguard University (VU) is a regionally ranked, private, Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies. Located ten minutes from Newport Beach and an hour from Los Angeles, Vanguard equips students for a Spirit-empowered life of Christ-focused leadership and service. Vanguard is committed to academic excellence, boasting small class sizes that are designed to cultivate lasting professor-mentor relationships that enhance the learning process. The U.S. News & World Report ranked Vanguard a top 10 regional college in the west for 2014 and The Princeton Review ranked Vanguard a 2014 “Best in the West” regional college. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Vanguard offers more than 30 degrees and certificates through its undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies programs. Please visit


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 University Lions Win First NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship

Costa Mesa, CA, March 25, 2014 – Sixth-seeded Vanguard (Calif.) captured its first-ever NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship with a 70-65 win over No. 8-seeded Emmanuel (Ga.), Tuesday evening in the championship game of the 2014 Buffalo Funds-NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship in Municipal Auditorium.

Vanguard (32-6) becomes the third school from the Golden State (Concordia, San Diego State) to win a NAIA Division I crown and gives the school its second national championship in any sport, joining the women’s basketball team’s title from 2008. Emmanuel (33-4) also claimed its first spot in the championship game in its fourth all-time appearance in the tournament, falling to 4-4 in its history.

Championship Most Valuable Player, Preston Wynne, led the way for Vanguard with 20 points and six rebounds, while all-tournament honoree junior guard Chris Gorman added 18 points and five rebounds as the backcourt duo combined to hit all nine of their free throws. Junior forward Keith Mason chipped in with 11 points and shared game-high honors with 13 rebounds. Freshman forward Zach Allmon also pulled down 11 rebounds for Vanguard, which finished with a 49-47 edge on the glass.

“It feels amazing. We just praise God,” said Vanguard head coach Rhett Soliday, who also won a national championship as an assistant coach at Concordia (Calif.) in 2003. “We said before this game, win or lose, that we’re going to give Him the glory, because He made this a special season. This game doesn’t define our season and it doesn’t define Emmanuel’s season. We just happened to be on the winning end tonight.”

*Parts of this release taken from

To learn more about Vanguard University’s Athletics program, visit

Read the full story from tonight’s NAIA Men’s Basketball National Championship game here:



To request an interview, contact:

Erin Hales, Director of Marketing & Communications

55 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626