The Office of Vice President of Student Affairs announced Monday, Jan. 8, that Michael Whitford will be joining Vanguard in the new role of Associate Dean of Spiritual Formation, as well as stepping in as campus pastor.
Whitford, a 1999 Southern California College graduate, will be officially joining the Vanguard community on March 1, as noted in the email.
This transition comes as former Dean of Spiritual Formation, Jonathan Allbaugh, will be shifting his focus towards external outreach. This includes building partnerships with Assemblies of God churches and local missions, according to associate campus pastor Bryan Rouanzoin. Albaugh’s new title will be Dean of Missional Effectiveness.
Rouanzoin expects that unlike Albaugh, Whitford will have a more involved role in the department, being more visible to students as well as working more intimately with interns.
The hiring of the associate dean will better serve the department because the previous workload was overwhelming for only one person, Rouanzoin explained.
This position is being created to better serve the department, as Albaugh’s title will change but many of his assignments will remain the same, according to Rouanzoin. He additionally believes this reallotment will equip the Spiritual Formation Department with leaders specifically designed for their roles.
“Creating these two roles actually benefits us by having two staff members…dedicated to chapel, discipleship, and on campus ministry,” he said.
SFD interns were given the opportunity to meet Whitford during his visits to the campus earlier this semester. Worship leader and junior Colette Beard is looking forward to the new hire’s potential in the department.
“I feel like it will be a breath of fresh air for the department because they have been working so hard last semester and these next two months without that role being filled,” she said.
Joshua McDowell, a Vanguard senior and campus chaplain, expects to work more closely with Whitford than he did with Albaugh.
“We were pretty used to just having Bryan doing most of the stuff because John was on assignment from Dr. Beals, and [Albaugh’s] full-time mission now is what he was assigned to do while in SFD,” he said.
McDowell also voiced his appreciation of Whitford’s decision to transition to Vanguard.
“Hearing his story and hearing about where he was, it was cool to have somebody who was very driven and excited to be here. Coming from another really prominent position in another place, but he sees value in the position and what’s to be done here,” McDowell said.
According to the email sent by the Office of Vice President for Student Affairs, Whitford is leaving his role as a pastor of National Community Church in Washington, D.C.
Vanguard students who studied abroad in Washington D.C. last spring attended a National Community Church campus. Senior Ashley Fisher recalls meeting Whitford at a Vanguard alumni event held during her time there.
“He was a super nice guy, and I was very excited when I saw he was coming on staff. I think he is going to make an excellent contribution to the Vanguard community,” Fisher said.