Brett Vaden

Dean of 3:14 Institute

Husband to Rachael, Father to Story, Arrow, and Harmony.

Ministry Focus – I will be the Associate Dean of Academics for 3:14. That means I’ll be helping to guide and support Three Fourteen’s ‘church­-seminary’ dance for the sake of training leaders to multiply Christ-­centered disciples and churches.


Why 3:14?

In my sophomore (i.e., “wise­-moron”) 20’s, I thought I knew what ministry was about, because I had tried really hard to become smart and spiritual.

Unknowingly, I had been building my sense of self-­worth and competence on a mistaken idea of who I was: a “false self,” made up of achievements and accolades, outside and apart from what Paul calls “union with Christ.”

However, with a community of committed friends and allies (i.e., Body of Christ), I’ve been able to expose my false self and anchor myself more and more in Jesus, God’s Beloved Son. In him, I too am a beloved son of God, sent out to do his will.

One thing I love about 3:14 is its mission, which is to “train leaders to multiply Christ-­centered disciples and churches.” Notice that at the heart of this mission statement is a very important adjective, “Christ-­centered.” We at 3:14 are trying to teach our students to be ministers that — ­­like a person who’s given up the false self — center themselves and those they serve in Christ.

My Story

As I said, early on I got excited about serving the church and proclaiming the gospel. My experience in church and seminary wonderfully grounded me in Scripture. Due to my false self, however, the fire and drive seeped out.

But right at that time God sent people who helped me recognize how my heart was walled off from him and those closest to me. One of the greatest things that happened was hearing my wife honestly describe how I was failing as a husband and crushing others around me.

Another person God sent was a counseling professor at my seminary. Learning from him, I realized that here was a man who not only knew the Lord better than I did, but was living out his faith in an honest, open and authentic way. So I spent the next 6 years studying with him and learning how to teach and train people to not only know the Word, but to know the Lord and lead others to know him. (If you’re reading this, Eric, thank you!)