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Seven Questions with Brett Vowell

Brett Vowell
Director of Chapel, California Baptist University
Who is “The Voice of The CBU Lancers?” - If you are one of the few who didn’t know there was such a person, let us introduce you to the one and only Brett Vowell. The nickname comes by way of his inimitable role as announcer for Lancer Athletics. If you’ve ever attended a basketball game in CBU’s grand event center and heard “Thrrrrreeeeeeee Pointerrrrrrrr,” that was Brett. Brett is a graduate of Oklahoma Baptist University and Golden Gate (now Gateway) Seminary and was recently honored for 20 years of service as the Director of Chapel at CBU where he handles everything related to the production of weekly chapel (from speakers to music to AV… everything from set-up to tear-down … from enrollment to grade submission and everything in between). He says, “With chapel, I love the opportunity for the entire campus to come together. And I have loved that from back when we were 2,300 students to now at 6,300… It’s the “coming together” aspect that I love and appreciate. The opportunity to focus on God’s word and to worship together. It speaks into the week, their classes, their lunch conversations, and conversations in housing areas with roommates. I love the reach chapel has into our community.” Outside of his fierce commitment to Cal Baptist, this born and bred Oklahoman is especially fond of all things related to movies, music, and the theater.

1. What book(s) are you currently reading?

I typically have a couple of books going at the same time. And if there is a movie that I’m excited about, it’s a race to see if I can read the book before the movie comes out. Right now, I’m reading “Killers of the Flower Moon,” by David Grann. It’s a true-life murder mystery written from a journalistic narrative, retelling the 1920’s killings of the wealthiest people in the Osage Nation during the oil boom. The movie is coming out in October, so I have a pretty good shot at getting it done. I’m also rereading Calvin Miller’s, “A Requiem for Love,” which is a poetic narrative of the creation story and God’s love for man. It’s part of what Miller referred to as his “Symphony Trilogy.” He was a Southwestern (Baptist Theological) Seminary professor who I became familiar with back in the 90’s and ever since then I pick it up again every few years.

2. What biblical character (other than Jesus) would you want to meet, and why?

Back when I was on staff at Orangeburg Avenue Baptist Church in Modesto, I led a choir production that featured a song from the perspective of Simeon from Luke 2 where he says, “…for my eyes have seen Your salvation.” Ever since then I’ve been drawn to Simeon and this episode in scripture where this righteous man had a unique ‘pre-Pentecost’ relationship with the Holy Spirit. He got the promise to see the Messiah before he faced death... He was drawn to the temple at the exact time when Mary and Joseph were bringing Jesus, and he immediately knew that this was the Christ; that thing he had been promised…what Israel had been longing for… Israel’s consolation.

3. Pepsi or Coke?

Dr. Pepper – My Papa Andy worked for the Pepsi plant, so I grew up surrounded by Pepsi products but …you know… life moved on.

4. Tell us something that nobody knows, a fun fact about you?

I grew up a small-town, farm-kid on the plains of Oklahoma raising pigs and sheep. My brother and I raised show pigs from kindergarten through my senior year in high school. We had a good amount of show pig trophies under our belts. In 1988 the Vowell brothers swept the Oklahoma State Fair with my brother’s Grand Champion swine and my Reserve Grand Champion.

5. Do you have a favorite leadership/personality type assessment? (Ex. Myers-Briggs, StrengthsFinder, etc…) If so, what do the results tell us about you?

Our Spiritual Life team has found a lot of value in Pat Lencioni’s “Working Genius.” It helps identify natural talents that God has built within us and are exercised in different ways in the context of our work. It reveals our geniuses, our competencies, and our frustrations So, I am “Enablement,” and “Discernment.” My genius combination, as a pairing, makes me the ‘insightful collaborator.’ It’s been helpful for me to recognize how the different geniuses and frustrations play out in myself and in others. For example, people tend to be either an interrupter or a responder. I am an extreme responder rather than the person who initiates something. We use it so much that it’s changed the way we function as a team, how we run meetings…even the way we build our team. Sometimes we design meetings around the different geniuses. “This is a wonder meeting. We aren’t going to discern. Discernment and tenacity will come later to allow room for those conversations.”

6. What is one piece of advice you would give to your younger self?

Spend more time learning languages… I studied a little bit of French in High School and Spanish in college but never to any depth, and now it’s just more difficult. If I would’ve focused on one, it would have gotten me further with others. Another language would be beneficial in a university context as well as on the mission field.

7. When you think through all the names of Christ, what name resonates with you right now, and why?

I feel like it’s a very musical, Christmas-y answer, but Immanuel – that nearness of the promise and of “God with us.” …. And, I don’t think it’s a proper name but a description of the Messiah, “Immanuel: God with us” …When you pair it with the proper name of Jesus you have God with us, Yahweh saves. Jesus describes what He does. Immanual describes who He is…With the pairing you have God will be with His people and will save them from their sins.
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678 East Shaw Ave Fresno, CA 93710

Phone Number

(559) 229-9533

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