The Reverend Brian T. Johnson, who has broad experience as a campus pastor and administrator in church-related higher education, has been appointed to the newly created position of Executive Director of Campus Ministries at Valparaiso University.
Rev. Johnson will direct and supervise campus ministries at Valpo primarily through the management and co-ordination of three units: the Chapel of the Resurrection, the Institute for Leadership and Service (which will include the present Center for Church Vocations), and the Center for Church Relations. The latter two units will be newly constituted by the Executive Director and the Provost according to guidelines set forth in the University Strategic Plan.
“I am delighted to welcome Rev. Johnson to our community,” said Provost Mark Schwehn. “He is well prepared for this position on the basis of his work with students and faculty from LCMS, ELCA, WELS, and other Christian backgrounds, his strong pastoral gifts, and his thoughtful reflections on leadership, service, and ecumenism. He brings to this position a deep sense of vocation and a distinguished record of accomplishment in campus ministries.”
Johnson comes to Valparaiso after having served for 15 years as Campus Chaplain and as Artistic Director of “Christmas in Christ Chapel” at Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota. In addition to his pastoral leadership at Gustavus Adolphus, he has held a variety of administrative roles addressing vocational reflection, service learning, church relations, and inter-religious dialogue.
Johnson is also widely recognized for his work in enhancing worship, music, and the arts. He served from 1998 to 2006 as Chaplain of the Lutheran Summer Music Academy and Festival, a premier independent, inter-Lutheran organization supporting young musicians in the church. Johnson has published numerous articles on worship, music, and preaching, and co-edited books on The Spirit of Service: Exploring Faith, Service Learning, and Social Justice and Stories from Christian Neighbors: A Heart for Ecumenism.
Johnson earned his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College, his Master of Divinity from Luther Theological Seminary, and his Master of Sacred Theology from Yale University. Prior to becoming Campus Chaplain at Gustavus Adolphus, he was chaplain at the Lutheran/Episcopal campus ministry at the University of Kansas, pastor of St. James Lutheran Church in Minneapolis, and chaplain at United Hospital in St. Paul.
The work of a search committee, chaired by Dean of Christ College Mel Piehl, was crucial to the process that led to Johnson’s appointment. Provost Schwehn asks the entire campus community to join with him in thanking the committee-Maura Cock, Stan Zygmunt, Amy Cory, Lisa Jennings, Lissa Yogan, George Heider, Phyllis Schroeder, Emily Von Qualen, Lisa Polito, Matt Becker, and Allison Schuette-for the time and careful thought that they devoted to the search for someone to fill this new and vitally important position.