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A SENSE OF CALL TO A NEW OPPORTUNITY

By Brayden Carlson, Guest Writer

Along with several other campus leaders, Rev. Dr. Brian Beckstrom will leave Wartburg. He has been called to serve elsewhere.

Beckstrom began his career at Wartburg College in 2009 after having been a part of a congregation in Phoenix, Arizona. He was called to be dean of spiritual life after working under Rev. Dr. Ramona Bouzard, who retired in 2018. 

Beckstrom’s leaving campus has not come without a lack of thought, he said.

DR. BRIAN BECKSTROM SPEAKING TO INCOMING STUDENTS. COURTESY OF WARTBURG.EDU.

“Discovering your vocation is a life-long process,” said Beckstrom. “I think we always have to be open when the Spirit might be nudging us in a new direction.”

Beckstrom has had a nudge in his heart that there might be a career change coming, but he had no idea how soon, he said. He starts at Valparaiso University in Indiana in January 2022. 

When a colleague showed him the job description for his new position, he felt the familiar tug from the Spirit. The same tug on his heart that brought Beckstrom from Arizona to Wartburg is the same feeling he got when that new position became available to him.

“In both cases, I felt a sense of call to the new opportunity, but I didn’t know if that was God or not,” said Beckstrom. “That’s when I began to have conversations with trusted mentors, my family, and spent a lot of time listening to God.”

Beckstrom will be the assistant vice president for mission, church, and ministry at Valparaiso.

“My job will involve working to support the campus ministry staff at Valpo, helping the institution discern its calling as a Lutheran university,” said Beckstrom, “working to strengthen relationships with congregations and other religious leaders.”

Beckstrom completed a doctorate degree in ministry and wrote a book exploring the difficulties and opportunities of exploring Lutheran higher education in today’s world. Because of this, it made him a perfect fit for the position that had recently opened in Valpo.

“This was a moment where my passions and gifts intersected with the needs of the world. In other words,” Beckstrom said. “I knew I was being called to something new even though leaving Wartburg is going to be really difficult.”

Bailey Erickson, a second-year religion major, works in the chapel office five days a week for an hour each day. She couldn’t believe Beckstrom decided to move on.

“It was a shock, no one knew it was happening so soon,” Erickson said. “I am glad for him, though, that he is moving onto bigger and better things.”

Working in the chapel office exposed Erickson to the personality and character of Beckstrom.

“He is very loving and welcoming,” Erickson said. “He really reaches out and cares about anyone that comes to him asking for help or guidance or prayer.”

“We are blessed with many outstanding ministry leaders [already] on campus,” said Beckstrom, “like Pastor Rebecca [Baird], Dr. Karen Black, Samantha Pfab, and many others.”

Beckstrom’s final thoughts are that he is excited to see what God does with the Wartburg campus and those who come into leadership following his absence. 

“It has been an absolute blessing to serve this community that embodies the servant heart of Jesus,” said Beckstrom. “The students, faculty, and staff at Wartburg have given me far more than I could have ever imagined. I will miss you all dearly.”

Beckstrom leaves after President Darrel Colson and Dr. Craig Hancock, director of bands, announced their intent to retire at the end of the academic year, along with the announcement that Dean of Students Dan Kittle will leave to become president of Dakota Wesleyan University.

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