He sits there across the table, sipping an Americana, his 6-foot-5 frame leaning forward slightly, trying to avoid the sun that refuses to disappear. He is filled with a quiet strength that comes from a genuine love and trust in his Savior. This is a man who loves his job, the Vanguard community, and most significantly, has a deep adoration and longing for The Lord. This is the new Dean of Spiritual Formation Dr. Michael Beals.
Dr. Beals began full-time in this position October 1st.
He is a Vanguard alumnus, double majoring in Religion and Psychology. He also started with the first class of graduate students at Vanguard where he earned his M.A. in Church Leadership. Serving as a religion professor from 1991-2009, Dr. Beals is thrilled to be rejoining the Vanguard community as the new Dean of Spiritual Formation.
“It’s a Dean role, which reports to the Provost, it’s in the academic house,” Dr. Beals said. “The reason that’s important is it is seen as having an academic and spiritual component. By bringing the Dean of Spiritual Formation and the Dean of Student Life under the Provost it really brings a clear integration of faith and learning.”
As the pastor to the entire Vanguard community, this role requires a variety of tasks, including overseeing chapels and soul care, as well as local and global outreaches.
He emphasizes the quality of Vanguard as a whole. “We’re more than an academic delivery system. We’re a unique expression of the body of Christ that values Spirit fullness and an expectation of God to work in miraculous ways.”
Dr. Beals is enthusiastic about his new position and is eager to interact with students. “I want to see people passionately engaged in worship, really being students of the Word and also opening students eyes to reaching out to the marginalized; those who are at risk, those who are homeless, those who are in need on the fringe of society,” he said.
A gifted shepherd with a passion for teaching, if he could impart one thing to the student body it would be to live lives immersed in faithfulness and courage. “They’re central to fearless discipleship,” Beals said. “Faithfulness and courage are the backbone of a life of serving and discipleship, of joy and a sense of fulfillment in serving the Lord. You’ll get where you need to go if you’re faithful to the Lord.”
Leading by example, Dr. Beals faithfully and courageously stepped into this new role after pastoring a local church for 23 years. Although coming back to Vanguard was one of the desires of his heart, more than anything he wishes to serve God in whatever way asked.
The seasons are changing as they tend to do, and this new season for Dr. Beals will be commissioned in chapel on Thursday, October 18th.