Brian Beckstrom

Brian Beckstrom

The Rev. Brian Beckstrom has accepted a new call to serve as the assistant vice president for mission, church and ministry at Valparaiso University in Indiana beginning Jan. 1, 2022.

Beckstrom, Wartburg College’s Herbert and Cora Moehlmann Chaplaincy Chair and dean of spiritual life, has been with the college since 2009. His last day at Wartburg will be Thursday, Dec. 16.

“For 12 years it has been my great privilege to make good on Wartburg’s promise to help students discover and claim their callings. Watching God at work in the lives of students, faculty and staff is the most fulfilling thing I have ever done in my professional life. The hardest part has always been having to say goodbye when God calls them to use their gifts elsewhere. That is exactly what the Wartburg community is called to do, but it’s never easy to let them go,” he said.

Beckstrom, who was named the first dean of spiritual life at Wartburg when the position was created in May 2018, is responsible for the college’s ministry program and promotion of faith exploration and development in and out of the classroom. He also has taught courses in Wartburg’s leadership program and Department of Religion. At Valparaiso, a Lutheran university with an enrollment of about 3,100, Beckstrom will be charged with promoting, supporting and advancing the university’s Lutheran mission, including fostering ongoing relationships with various Lutheran denominations and other entities.

“I am extremely grateful for the leadership—and service—that Pastor Brian Beckstrom has provided to the Wartburg community. For more than 12 years, he has offered spiritual guidance, pastoral care, classroom instruction and strategic insights to students, faculty and staff. On a personal note, I have treasured my time with Pastor Brian, tapping his reservoir of pastoral support and theological guidance,” said Wartburg President Darrel Colson. “As dean of spiritual life, he has done enormous work to nurture our capacity for ‘spirited expression of faith and learning.’ Not only has he wonderfully led Spiritual Life and Campus Ministry, he has splendidly directed the Accelerated Ministry Program for both the college and Wartburg Theological Seminary. While I support his discovery of this new calling, he leaves big shoes to fill.”

A graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, Beckstrom completed his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees at Luther Seminary. His doctoral program focused on mission and leadership. His writing has appeared in the Journal of Lutheran Ethics, Intersections magazine and on the ELCA’s Living Lutheran web site, and he recently published a book based on his ongoing research, “Leading Lutheran Higher Education in a Secular Age: Religious Identity, Mission, and Vocation at ELCA Colleges and Universities.”

“As I conclude my tenure at the college, I am filled with gratitude for the way God has nurtured my sense of vocation during my years here. I’m excited for this new phase of my calling, and I’m sad to leave behind this community I love so dearly. May God continue to guide this college of our brightest days into the future,” Beckstrom said.