Whether you need self-guided curriculum, consulting, or to explore your vocational identity with a collaborative group of working professionals, we have what you need to experience your work as meaningful.
Events and Retreats
Whether you need self-guided curriculum, consulting
or to explore your vocational identity with a collaborative group
of working professionals, we have what you need
to experience your work as meaningful.
Events and Retreats
Personal and Professional Development
Vocatio Talks is a 30-minute webinar exploring the connection between work and faith. Addressing themes such as sabbath, contemplation, play, self-care and prayer, Vocatio Talks is a bi-monthly opportunity to engage in thoughtful, encouraging and challenging conversations about how your work matters.
The conversation about “vocation” has been around for centuries. Here are a few contemporary theologians and practitioners who have been thought leaders in the conversation about work and faith.
Vocational Formation Events and Retreats
Vocational formation is a journey that never ends and does not happen on its own – it requires intentionality, awareness and is seldom easy. This work becomes even more difficult given the pace with which most of us live. We run from one item on our to-do list to the next and find ourselves either consumed with the task we just finished or wondering about that which lies ahead. This diverted attention makes it very difficult to be fully present with the person and situation right in front of us.
If you want to experience in-depth vocational formation – either as an individual or leader of an organization or faith community – the Center for Vocational Formation provides immersive experiences regardless of your location or budget. We offer in-person training, online webinars, retreats (single-day or weekend), and a year-long fellows program for working professionals seeking to develop their vocational identity.
[Fellow: a member of a group having common characteristics]
The Center for Vocational Formation’s Fellows Program provides personal development and research opportunities for ACU Online students, faculty, staff and DFW working professionals. Fellows contribute to the ongoing development of the center’s vocational formation initiatives and resources.
Track One – Vocational Identity and Formation
Fellows in the Vocational Identity and Formation track participate in a collaborative learning community through readings, reflective practices, monthly meetings and the development of vocational formation experiments.
During this one-year track, fellows: a) reflect upon the rich history of vocation within the Christian tradition, b) develop a coherent articulation of their vocational identity and calling, c) develop practices that will nurture and sustain their vocational identity beyond the fellows program, and d) contribute to the ongoing development of CGPS vocational formation initiatives.
The primary goal of this track is for participants to understand and experience who they are, their place in the world, and places to which God might be calling them. Out of the shared and individual experience during the program, fellows are encouraged to curate resources to be shared with others (e.g. blog, webinar, podcast, self-guided curriculum, etc.).
Track Two – Research
Fellows in the Research track work alongside the center’s director and other participating faculty members to further research efforts exploring the intersection of work, faith, vocation and culture. Fellows in this two-year track are encouraged and expected to publish and seek opportunities to present their research at academic conferences.
Luke Wells is a graduate of Hardin-Simmons University where he studied Speech-Language Pathology, Psychology, and Leadership. He currently serves as a Graduate Admissions Advisor for the School of Educational Leadership. Luke and his wife, Shannon, live in Las Colinas-Irving with their dog and cat. In his free time, Luke enjoys playing sports and traveling with his family.
Brenda Bender is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders at Abilene Christian University. Brenda has taught at ACU for 17 years, 15 years on the main campus and the last 2 years at ACU Dallas; launching the Dallas location of the MS in SLP program. My areas of clinical expertise are voice disorders, adult neurogenic communication disorders and speech science.
Megan Winn is the Senior Student Services Operations Administrator for Abilene Christian University. Megan and her husband, Mike. recently moved to Austin, TX and have fallen in love with the city! 2018 has been a year of challenges & blessings for Megan as she looks forward to seeing what the Lord is going to do, both professionally and personally, in the years to come.
Lauren I. Hill is a native Houstonian and a graduate student at Abilene Christian University, pursuing her Masters in Education for Higher Education Administration, concentrating in Conflict Resolution. She received her Bachelors of Arts for Liberal Studies with a concentration in English Literature and Religious Studies at St. Edward’s University. She works as an Academic Advisor at the University of Houston-Downtown TRiO Upward Bound Program. In addition to her status as full-time student and employee, Lauren finds time to give back to her community by volunteering with the American Heart Association-Houston Chapter, Operation Turkey-Houston, and St. Edward’s Alumni Association-Houston Chapter.
Julie Snider moved to the Dallas area in December of 2017 and has been working for ACU for six months. She has one daughter who is an ACU graduate and another daughter who is currently a Senior at ACU! Julie enjoys reading, biking, walking and anything outdoors!
Allison Venuto is currently an administrator at a 2-year college in the Dallas area. She taught for 13 years at the high school and college levels. With an undergraduate degree from Baylor, and master’s degrees from UNT and SMU, she is pursuing her Ed.D. from Abilene Christian University. This summer, she and her husband walked 500 miles of the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
Bart Morrison, a native of Westminster, California, is Worship Pastor at Hot Springs Baptist Church in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Bart is pursuing the Doctor of Education degree in Organizational Leadership at Abilene Christian University and is Adjunct Instructor of Music at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Bart and his wife Becky have been happily married since 1988 and are the proud parents of two children both graduates of Ouachita Baptist University: Christopher, in business finance and Hayley, in math education.
I was raised as the daughter of the Deacon of Missions and Benevolence at Huntsville Church of Christ, because of that experience I chose to pursue a Master of Social Work. I have spent the last three years in Dallas, TX working with the homeless population. When I’m not at work I lead a women’s mentoring ministry at my church, host my small group, and binge watch teen dramas while telling the screen genuine life advice.
Alisha Trusty currently serves as the Executive Assistant to the Senior Pastor at Friendship-West Baptist Church (FWBC) in Dallas, Texas. Prior to her current role, Alisha spent sixteen years as an educator and served in various roles including teacher, mentor, assistant principal, principal, leadership coach, consultant, and adjunct university instructor. Alisha is the proud mother of two sons and two shih tzus. She is also an active member of Friendship-West Baptist Church where she serves on the domestic violence ministry. In addition, Alisha is an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and the National Council of Negro Women.
Alessandra Hansen was born in Italy and raised in French Polynesia. She holds degrees in three languages, has taught at the college level for the last 10 years and is currently enrolled in the Ed. D. program at ACU with an emphasis in Higher Education. Alessandra is the proud mother of five adult children, four foster children and grand-mother of four. Living in the Pacific Northwest for the last four years, Alessandra enjoys reading, hiking, and watching who-done-it movies. Her favorite pastime is playing board games with her kids and she is most grateful to God for His unending faithfulness in her life.
Courtney is a doctoral student in ACU’s Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership program. She received her BA in English from Abilene Christian University and her MA in Emerging Media and Communication from the University of Texas at Dallas. She has nearly a decade’s worth experience in educational advising working with students of all ages in a variety of public, private, and parochial schools. Her research interests include women in leadership and the maternal wage gap. As a member of the Center for Vocational Development Fellows program, she plans to explore how vocational formation practices affect working mothers well-being. When not working or researching, Courtney dreams of competing in the Great British Bakeoff, even though she’s very much a Texan and not very good at baking. Courtney resides in Dallas, TX with her husband, daughter, and schnauzer.
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