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Perseverance leads to Oath of Office for Navy Chaplain

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The path to chaplaincy for Matthew Maestas required him to take extraordinary steps to fulfill his calling. The road was neither smooth nor straight, and the lessons are still being unfolded each day.

But his faith is strong, his vision is clear and he has a solid three-point message that helps him help others to weather the winds of change.

“I was with Chaplain McChrystal at the luncheon following my Oath of Office ceremony at Evangel University, and he talked about the lessons in perseverance that my family and I have learned,” said Chaplain Maestas. “He talked about the great cloud of witnesses that were cheering us on. And with each change we faced, he assured me that I will be more mature in the end.”

Scott McChrystal is the military representative and endorser for military and VA chaplains for the Assemblies of God. He served 31 years on active duty, 10 as an infantry officer and the remainder as an Army chaplain. He knows about change.

Maestas continued, “Chaplain McChrystal asked me if I could sum up what I have learned from my journey thus far. I told those gathered at the luncheon, three things — trust God; love people; and have a community of believers around you.”

That is the quick summary of a man who feels deeply the commitment, courage, and honor to motivate a team to complete the mission.

“At the end of the day, I don’t want to look back and see myself as just another counselor, social worker or a shoulder to cry on,” he said. “I will be a chaplain that brings God’s love to Sailors, Marines, Coast Guardsmen, and their families. I look forward to being there for our service members by listening to their concerns and building trust. Having the opportunity to serve God and my country will be the greatest honor.”

The Assemblies of God Theological Seminary of Evangel University held a public ceremony for the taking of the Oath of Office by newly accessioned U.S. Navy Chaplain Matthew Maestas on January 29, 2019. The event was held in the Robert H. Spence Chapel before the entire student body.

Maestas earned his Master of Divinity, which is the required degree for military chaplaincy, from AGTS in 2016.

 

The picture of perseverance

 

“Chaplain Maestas is the picture of perseverance,” said Chaplain Stormy Davis, coordinator of the Veteran’s Center at Evangel University. “The journey toward chaplaincy took him and his family nearly eight years to complete; during which time, Maestas never faltered. When he was told he needed to do more, he did it. The times he was questioned about his calling, his actions lived the path toward that calling to its fullest.”

He started at a community college in the great plains of Eastern Colorado and completed his business degree in 2005 at Colorado State University-Pueblo with a self-admitted below average GPA. Newly married and starting a family, he spent the next several years in corporate America, before God called him into ministry and gave him a focused purpose in life.

“To meet the requirements of the ministry to which God called me, I started additional educational training at AGTS,” he said, adding that this time, he had a strong sense of purpose and maintained a much higher GPA.

Prior to moving to Springfield, Chaplain Maestas worked with the youth, college and career-ages in Pueblo. During his years at AGTS, he gained ministry experience in Springfield area AG churches in adult education and as an outreach pastor. He ended with two years as a pastoral care intern.

“I graduated with a Master of Divinity in 2016. As a student, I commissioned into the U.S. Navy as a Chaplain Candidate Program Officer, and held this commission from May 2012 to June 2017.”

At that point, he was advised to gain some additional chaplaincy experience, so he moved his family to Kansas where he became the associate pastor at Wellington First Assembly and a chaplain at Wesley Medical Center.

“Being a chaplain at Wesley Medical Center has given me the honor to serve within a pluralistic institution. I have learned talking about psychological and emotional health can be difficult and at times overwhelming.”

Chaplain Maestas became a great resource for patients, families, and friends struggling with medical decisions and the ethics surrounding those decisions. This often involved underlying spiritual and emotional issues. As a chaplain embedded in the medical field, he had the opportunity to serve alongside nurses, doctors and staff to support the overall care.

“This close connection and shared identity initiated trust with everyone; I was fortunate to be their Chaplain. These experiences have equipped me for a future career in the Navy Chaplaincy.”

The perseverance paid off, and now, having taken the Oath of Office as a Navy Chaplain, it is time once again for the Maestas family to move on to the next step in their calling.

“We are headed next to Chaplain School in Rhode Island,” he reported from his car, with his wife Melissa and three children, Makayla, Malaki and Mavrik. “And after that, we have been told our destination will be the U.S. Navy Base in Coranado, California.”

 

Chaplaincy by the numbers

 

The U.S. Navy struck a chord with Chaplain Maestas when he read their promise, “The Navy Chaplaincy is a unique opportunity to serve God and country while also extending your spiritual reach around the world. In addition to working with people of many faiths, Navy Chaplains have the privilege of living and working side by side with their flock. In this way, you’ll be able to forge bonds in ways you’ve never imagined, in places you’ve never dreamed you’d see.”

He’s not alone. Combining all facets of the military and veterans services, the Assemblies of God fellowship has 214 active chaplains, with another 72 candidates and endorsees in the pipeline. Of those, 113 are from AGTS, CBC and Evangel University.

Broadening the scope even more, to include institutional and occupational chaplaincy — be they corporate, correctional, healthcare or a variety of special focus members — there are currently 467 chaplains affiliated with the Assemblies of God, and 47 more in the pipeline. Of those 127 are from AGTS, CBC and Evangel.

AGTS serves the larger Pentecostal and Evangelical traditions with 21st-century leadership for the Church and its mission. AGTS is accredited by The Association of Theological Schools in the U.S. and Canada.

As an embedded seminary, AGTS with Evangel University serves more than 2,100 students from all 50 states and numerous countries, offering 65 undergraduate majors and 19 master’s and doctoral degrees.

For more information about AGTS visit www.agts.edu; and for more about Evangel, visit www.evangel.edu.

 

PHOTO A: USN Chaplain Matthew Maestas and his wife, Melissa, at the swearing in ceremony. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon

 

PHOTO B: Matthew & Melissa Maestas and their children Makayla, Malaki and Mavrik.

 

PHOTO C: Chaplain Matthew Maestas, center, has served the past couple of years on staff at First Assembly of God in Wellington, Kansas, with Dr. Marvin Miller and Pastor Caleb Foster. Miller is a 2016 graduate of AGTS, with a D.Min., and Foster is a 2012 graduate of CBC.

Dr. Tim Hager appointed new V.P./Dean at AG Theological Seminary of Evangel


Following a national search, Evangel University President, Dr. Carol Taylor, is pleased to announce that Dr. Tim Hager has been appointed by the Board of Trustees as the Vice President/Dean for the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) of Evangel.

The Board of Trustees ratified Dr. Hager’s appointment during their meeting on Nov. 17, 2017. He will succeed retiring V.P./Dean Dr. James Railey, and will begin his tenure on Jan. 1, 2018.

“Dr. Hager brings a unique blend of academic, ministry, and executive administrative experience,” said President Taylor.

“His passion for equipping men and women for effective ministry, his keen knowledge and love of the Assemblies of God and our church leaders, and his ability to lead complex organizations with transformational leadership will be a tremendous asset to both the seminary and the university,” she said.

Dr. Hager has served as the chief operating officer of the General Council of the Assemblies of God for the past two years, and was administrator of field operations for U.S. Missions (AGUSM) for seven years prior to that.

2017-11.16 Hager, Taylor, McCorcle
In the seminary chapel — Dr. Tim Hager, V.P. Dean of AGTS; Dr. Carol Taylor, President of Evangel; and Dr. Mike McCorcle, Provost/Executive V.P. of Evangel. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

“I am passionate about the development of excellence in relationships and excellence in performance,” said Hager. “My inspiration is found in the scripture that says in part, ‘Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.’” (Hebrews 10:24, NIV)

A recognized expert in organizational leadership development, administration and management, Dr. Hager brings more than 30 years of experience in constructing and implementing training programs for not-for-profit and faith-based organizations.

On the academic side, he also serves as a professional presenter/consultant with Missouri State University’s Management Development Institute; he has been an adjunct professor in the Master of Organizational Leadership program at Evangel University since 2010; and he has served as a doctoral project advisor at AGTS since 2003.

“Dr. Hager has taught college-level courses for more than 20 years, in the classroom and online, in the U.S. and abroad,” said Dr. Taylor. “His mix of skills and experiences make him uniquely qualified for this position.”

The Vice President/Dean of AGTS is a Cabinet-level position.

As Dean, Dr. Hager will report to the Provost/Executive Vice President of Evangel University, Dr. Mike McCorcle, on all academic matters. As Vice President, he will report to President Taylor on church and other external relations and fund-development efforts.

According to Dr. McCorcle, “We believe that his expertise in managing organizational change and building strong relationships with our Fellowship are now the perfect fit for our next AGTS leader.”

Utilizing his strengths

Tim Hager has pastoral and district leadership experience in Iowa, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia.

He completed his Master of Divinity from AGTS in 1989 and landed a position as executive pastor in Asheboro, N.C. There, he developed a passion for training leaders and volunteers, and for leading mission projects. Over the next few years, he led project teams in the U.S., Panama, Argentina, Thailand and Korea.

A life-long learner, this experience led to another degree. In 2002, Hager completed his Doctorate in Leadership Development and Management Theory in Non-Profits, also from AGTS.

Following five years as executive pastor in Manassas, Va., he returned to Springfield to work with AGUSM. There he oversaw leadership programming; created networks among executives in 63 districts; designed, built and implemented an Executive Orientation Program; and regularly led organizational problem-solving task force groups.

“Tim has served with excellence at the Assemblies of God National Office for nearly a decade,” said the Rev. Doug Clay, the newly-elected general superintendent of the Assemblies of God. “During his tenure as administrator of Field Operations for U.S. Missions, he was able to strengthen the relationship with AGUSM and district offices, building an effective infrastructure.

“In 2015, he was appointed to be the chief operating officer of the General Council,” Clay continued. “I was immediately impressed with Tim’s attention to detail, commitment to excellence, and ability to implement systems and processes that work. These skills will continue to serve him well in his new ministry assignment. I am excited for Tim as he enters into this important leadership role at EU/AGTS and pray for his influence on faculty and students.”

During his tenure at the AG National Office, he worked closely with Rev. Clay and with the recently retired general superintendent, Dr. George Wood.

“I have had the privilege to work alongside Dr. Hager and observe his skilled leadership and strong character,” said Dr. Wood. “He is both a visionary leader and consensus builder who will help lead AGTS faculty and students toward Spirit-empowered scholarship.”

2017 Tim & Lynn Hager
Tim and Lynn Hager // (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

Tim and his wife, Lynn, have four adult children and two grandchildren — Joshua (32) and Lindsay Hager, with Naomi and Logan; Colton and Dannah (28) Hager-Orendorff; Evan Hager (26); and Timothy Christian Hager (22).

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Adult, Grad and Seminary Open House

Come to Our Next Open House

November 2, 2017

Adult, Graduate and Seminary Studies Open Houses are held every semester. Open House opportunities are planned for prospective adult and graduate students with a desire to complete their undergraduate degree or pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in a convenient format. The come-and-go events are a great outlet to visit facilities, network with faculty, and learn more about admissions procedures. Evangel waives the $25 application fee for those in attendance.

At the Adult, Graduate and Seminary Studies open house you have the opportunity to:

  • Learn about our accelerated, affordable, and convenient bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs.
  • Meet professors, students, financial aid counselors and admission representatives.
  • Enjoy hot appetizers. 

For more information or to register visit the open house event page.

Lecture and Dedication of the Hyllberg Collection on Women in Ministry and Leadership, October 6, 2 p.m.

You are invited to attend the Dedication of the Hyllberg Collection on Women in Ministry and Leadership and a lecture entitled, “The Future of Women Leaders in the Assemblies of God,” presented by Dr. Deborah Gill, Professor of Biblical Studies and Exposition.

This special event will be held during Homecoming in the AGTS Seymour Chapel on Friday, October 6, 2-3:30 p.m. Attendance at Homecoming is not required to attend this event, and a reception will immediately follow.

The Hyllberg Collection, located in the Barnett Library, Room 232-C, will be open so guests can view the new collection. The Hyllberg Collection was made possible due to the personal donations by Dr. Deborah Gill and Dr. Barbara Parks and the generosity of the Hyllberg Fund, which provided the furnishings in the room.

Lecture available via live streaming on the day of the event.