Spring Arbor University announces that Nathan Foster, assistant professor of social work, has been named the E. A. and Bessie Andrews Chair for Spiritual Formation. The Andrews Chair for Spiritual Formation provides the recipient with time for writing, research and lecturing in the field of spiritual formation, as well as teaching spiritual formation courses and organizing the annual Andrews Lecture on Spiritual Formation.
Since 2007, Foster has taught across SAU’s social work curriculum with an emphasis on the practical application of working with people in a variety of helping situations. Specific class topics include working with small groups, community development and senior conclusion seminars. Foster also has supervised internships. His position allows him to play an active role in the mentoring and discipleship of students. He often speaks to various student leadership groups on ministry topics and has lead students on camping trips and a homeless experience. In 2012, he received the University’s Teaching Excellence Award.
In addition to his duties at SAU, Professor Foster is currently the director of teaching ministries for Renovaré, the leading spiritual formation organization. As a part of his duties, Foster speaks, teaches, works with developing new speakers, and organizes the structure of events, retreats and conferences.
Foster has authored Wisdom Chaser – Finding my Father at 14,000 ft. (2010) and the forthcoming book, The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines. He has also published multiple articles for Conversations Journal, a leading spiritual formation journal.
Foster’s academic speaking has taken him to Biola University, Carson Newman University, George Fox University, Friends University, Central Christian College, Calvin College, Roberts Wesleyan University, Oxford University, Ottawa University, University of the Cumberlands, and Illinois State University
He has also led multi-day spiritual formation retreats in California, Texas, North Carolina and New Mexico and weekend spiritual formation conferences at various churches in New Mexico, Texas and Kansas.
Foster holds a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Colorado State University (1998) and a Master of Social Work from the University of Denver (2000). He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and a Certified Addictions Counselor Senior Level (CAC III).
“We are extremely proud of Professor Foster’s appointment as the E.A. and Bessie Andrews Chair in Spiritual Formation,” said Spring Arbor University President Brent Ellis. “His commitment to the field is evident in all that he does.”
The Andrews family established the chair with a vision to embed the concepts of spiritual formation within the evangelical Christian community, and to honor the doctrines and beliefs of the Free Methodist Church.
Funding for the endowed chair is in memory of Edwin Alvia Andrews and Bessie Pearl Evinger, and will serve to strengthen, preserve and share the religious principles on which Spring Arbor was founded. These principles resonated with E.A. and Bessie, as Spring Arbor was a place they loved and faithfully served. A long-time Free Methodist pastor, Mr. Andrews served at the Spring Arbor Free Methodist Church from 1924-1926.