Reflections

As we enter April and all attention begins to turn towards commencement, I can’t help but reflect on my life in education and following a vocational calling that eventually led to serving in Christian higher education after 25 years in public education and the marketplace. Mine has been an unexpected journey. Years ago as a young graduate armed with a Bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential, I never imagined pursuing graduate education or serving in higher education, let alone now being recognized as a “turnaround” president.

As an undergraduate student, I began keeping a journal.  I don’t write every day or even every week or month, but over the years, my journals have collected. There are three quotes that for years I have carefully copied into the opening page of each new journal.  First, is Proverbs 31:25 – strength and dignity are her clothing, and she smiles at the future.

The second is from Anne Morrow Lindbergh (yes, the wife of Charles Lindbergh).  Years ago I happened upon her book, Gift from the Sea, and in 2005 picked up a 50th anniversary edition and highlighted again her words:

I want first of all … to be at peace with myself.  I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can.  I want, in fact—to borrow from the language of the saints—to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible.  …By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony.  I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be at one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.

The third is from my now yellowed edition of a classic that I first read and highlighted as an undergraduate student.  It’s Dietrich Bonheoffer’s classic, The Cost of Discipleship:

When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.
Only Jesus Christ, who bids us follow him, knows the journey’s end. But we do know that it will be a road of boundless mercy. Discipleship is joy.

As a young professional, I had two things – a love of teaching and a desire to live and serve from a place of inner grace and joyfulness that said “yes” to following Christ on the adventure that He had uniquely designed for my life.

I don’t think I yet reflect the three quotes that I keep writing in the front of each new journal.  But I can say with a smile and a gladness of heart that following His adventure is indeed a road of boundless mercy and joy if we are willing to take risks, embrace challenge, and trust the One who is able to both keep us and do His immeasurably more thing for His purposes and glory.

Blessings,
Carol

Spirit and Truth

Last week, the Society for Pentecostal Studies (SPS), a community of scholars and students focused on exploring the history, theology, and cultural impact of the Pentecostal movement, held its 40th annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Vanguard was represented by a great team, as I got to join Dr. Rich Israel, Dr. Frank Macchia, Dr. Derrick Rosenior, Dr. Ed Rybarczyk, and Dr. Gary Tyra. Each of us presented papers or facilitated sessions at the conference and enjoyed interaction with more than 300 other scholars of Pentecostalism from around the world. Vanguard professors are leaders in this international fellowship and are highly esteemed by their colleagues and students.

The opening session was held at Mason Temple, headquarters of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC), one of the earliest Pentecostal denominations. COGIC was founded by African-American leader Charles Mason, who was a participant in the Azusa Street revival that began in 1906 and launched the global Pentecostal movement from which Vanguard University was birthed. Mason Temple was also the site where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., preached his “I’ve Seen the Promised Land” sermon. You might recall that on that night, April 3, 1968, King said, “I might not get there with you… But we as a people will get to the promised land…I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.” The next day, at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Martin Luther King was shot to death by James Earl Ray. But the truth of the Gospel that shaped King and Mason continues to ring out today, and it echoes through the singing at Mason Temple and the insights of SPS scholar-servants like Rich, Frank, Derrick, Ed, and Gary.

Grace and peace,

Jeff

Switch

Have you read Switch?  Tell us what you think.

This is the description of Switch from the website, heathbrothers.com

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard is the latest book by Chip and Dan Heath, authors of Made to Stick, the critically acclaimed bestseller. Switch debuted at #1 on both the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestseller lists.

Switch asks the following question: Why is it so hard to make lasting changes in our companies, in our communities, and in our own lives? The primary obstacle, say the Heaths, is a conflict that’s built into our brains. Psychologists have discovered that our minds are ruled by two different systems—the rational mind and the emotional mind—that compete for control. The rational mind wants a great beach body; the emotional mind wants that Oreo cookie. The rational mind wants to change something at work; the emotional mind loves the comfort of the existing routine. This tension can doom a change effort—but if it is overcome, change can come quickly.”

What is Advancement

I have the pleasure of serving Vanguard in the office of University Advancement. The first question people ask me is “what is advancement?”  That’s a great question.  Advancement refers to all the work that promotes and furthers the mission of the University.  Institutional advancement brings together marketing, public relations, alumni relations, fund raising, community relations, church relations, and government relations.  We all work together to build relationships with people, corporations, and foundations that may support the work of Vanguard University.

Together, we work to provide for Vanguard’s future while celebrating the present work of God through the University.  We serve the community by telling our stories and providing friends ways to discover, explore, and experience the spirit of Vanguard.  Through events, programs, opportunities to meet students, academic conferences, and the like we share how God is working through Vanguard University.

As a life long community, we foster a rich network of friends, services, and support that is Vanguard alumni.  Even though graduates are spread all over the world, working in a myriad of professions, serving others in unique ways, Vanguard strives to both promote and support each graduate and their families.  Both through our online communities on social media sites such as Facebook and in our personal events such as homecoming, we seek to nurture the ongoing relationships that define Vanguard.

We also have the privilege of thanking donors and showing how their support directly supports the Christ-centered education offered by Vanguard.  Stewardship is at the heart of our work, assuring that donors’ gifts are honored.

What is University Advancement?  It is everything we do to support God’s mission through Vanguard.  I am proud to work with such a talented and committed team of leaders and excited to see how God will further his work in the world through Vanguard.

Kelly Kannwischer

Interim Vice President of University Advancement

Teen Challenge and Christmas Fantasia

On Friday, December 3, I had the privilege of visiting Teen Challenge Ministry Institute (TCMI) in South Gate to share some reflections in chapel with 80 students who have completed a year of rehabilitation and discipleship and are now receiving instruction and participating in ministry in churches and communities throughout Los Angeles County and beyond. Teen Challenge was launched more than 50 years ago in New York City by David Wilkerson. Hundreds of centers are now operating in the United States and many other nations, bringing the transforming love of Christ to people who are being delivered from the grip of drug addiction.

Ron Brown, Southern California Director of Teen Challenge, his wife, and fifty members of the Teen Challenge choir were our guests at the November 30 performance of Fantasia at the Orange County Performance Arts Center. They were elated to be part of this extraordinary evening of music and worship. We were blessed to have them join us. Vanguard is at its best when we are partnering with people who are on the front lines of service for the kingdom of God. This is the message of Christmas: For God so loved the world…

Vanguard faculty members, too, are on the front lines of service for the kingdom of God, every day opening worlds to students and equipping them to be Christ-followers in every dimension of their lives.

Merry Christmas!

Jeff

Speed of Trust

Speed of TrustThe Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M.R. Covey

Admiral Vernon Clark (Ret.), Vanguard University Trustee, recommended this book to the cabinet. As the Chief of the Navy, Admiral Clark proved to be a skilled and effective leader by building trust with officers and living a life full of integrity. As Vanguard University emerged from crisis, the leadership committed to rebuilding a culture of trust and transparency to ignite Vanguard’s legacy.

Welcome to the New Cabinet Blog!

Welcome to Forefront, the new blog of the Vanguard University Administration. The goal of this blog is to generate dialogue regarding the university’s mission and how it is lived out in community. The name, Forefront, was inspired by the word Vanguard, which is defined as the forefront in any movement, field, activity, or the like. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, Vanguard University seeks to be on the forefront of Christ-centered education.

As administrators, we are privileged to be stewards of Vanguard’s mission to pursue knowledge, cultivate character, deepen faith, and equip each student for a life of leadership and service. The pursuit of our mission is a collective effort that is only possible when the gifts of the entire community are brought together in a common vision. This blog is one effort to generate conversation regarding how our work is only possible because of the gifts and talents that God grants to members of the whole Vanguard family.

As the University celebrates its 90th year, there are great memories and events to celebrate. However, this is a critical time to position Vanguard for the future. How will Vanguard move forward towards its 100th year? The governance of the University is a sacred trust, one that is shared in prayer and collaboration. We look forward to moving forward together.

Please comment below on how this blog may serve you? What suggestions to you have for Forefront?