Dr. Granados' road to new position began 20 years ago
Posted on: March 26
By KD Gwinn
Dr. Alex Granados has been at The Master’s College for just over 10 years, and has been the Vice President of Academic Affairs for nine months. But it was 20 years ago, when he was 22, that his journey to this position began.
One look around Dr. Granados’ office is enough to feel welcome and learn what this man really cares about. The walls are filled with books on missions, theology and the Bible. The small table to the left is topped with a cloth map of Colombia, his home. Funny little signs, along with pictures of his daughters and wife litter the shelves, and a book to be read for review sits on his desk.
Without a word, the heart of Dr. Granados is totally exposed. What he loves bursts from every part of who he is. His story begins with his family.
“Coming as an immigrant and in our family, basically your parents and grandparents say … this child will pursue medicine,” Granados says. “So, my oldest brother is a medical doctor … I was pushed to be the lawyer/business type. I loved it. I pursued it. I pursued it aggressively from internships, from being involved in political campaigns and everything.”
After being saved in high school, Granados attended UCLA, where he studied political science with an emphasis in economics. He planned on continuing his education with a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, where he would study law and public administration.
And so he worked hard in school and stayed heavily involved in the church.
“…My love for God, my love for the Word, my love for teaching was growing more and more. I just thought I was going to grow old, bald, and fat, be an elder and teach Sunday school,” he says. “It was my dream in terms of how I would serve the church, but I had this view that I was going to pursue this whole other life.”
He began to serve through teaching in the church and it was during this time that he was approached about the possibility of seminary.
“I thought of people that would go to seminary as like a whole other super-spiritual category and I felt so inadequate,” Granados says. “That’s somehow a special blessing and anointing of the Lord. But the more and more people asked me to be open and thoughtful and prayerful about it the more I began to see I did enjoy teaching – how people would respond. It got to the point one day I said out loud what the Lord had worked in my heart.“
The people who approached him planted the seed that would begin to grow as his heart was softened to the idea of teaching. An idea that although he seemed to be called to, would change the course of the life he was living.
“I had been so against it even to that point when I finally said it out loud and said, ‘The Lord is calling me to do this. This is what I want to do,’” he says. “But I wanted to go into Christian higher education, not just pastoral work in that sense. Once I said it out loud I didn’t know what to do from there, but I had to make it more public.”
Making it public meant telling his Catholic parents that he was not going to be the lawyer they had dreamed he would be.
“The only thing I knew was I have to be obedient to what the Lord was calling me to do,” he says. “It still hit them hard when I came home for dinner after my dad called and said, ‘Come home so we can talk.’
“My parents thought I was moving to the East Coast to go to school for grad school. That night I told them I had called the school and told them I wasn’t coming and instead I was going to Seminary. It hit my parents pretty hard. As an immigrant you’re trying to live the American dream and in their minds, their dream was becoming a nightmare. It was very tough, from a human standpoint, to experience their disappointment.”
In 2002, after completing his Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from The Master’s Seminary, Granados was hired as the Coordinator of Church Ministries for The Master’s College. At this same time he began work on his doctorate in Intercultural Education from Biola University.
“I came to Master’s because I believed theologically where the institution was at and I was prayerful that one day I could teach and serve here in administration,” Granados says, “Being very thoughtful that I wasn’t born Hispanic by accident, but by divine choice to be able to leverage the reality of how God has made me – to understand people of different cultures.
“But even my own particular journey – married to a Chinese woman, living in a Jewish neighborhood, primarily working in what would be considered white institutions while somehow being a Latino – you have to learn to navigate a lot of different cultural perspectives. I wanted to know and understand how people of different cultures were.”
His title was changed to Director of Church and Urban Ministries and he began teaching New Testament survey. He then added Theology and International Business to his class schedule and when he finished his doctorate he made the transition from student life to full-time faculty. Granados was making steps toward administration in Christian higher education, the goal he set for himself so many years before.
Two years ago Granados was approached about becoming the associate academic dean.
“When the opportunity began to arise of becoming an associate academic dean and then to be the academic dean, I was thinking at first … well I said no,” he says, “I wanted it, but I had a hard time trying to discern at first whether that was truly, at that moment, what I should pursue. I ached inside to do it and trying to discern through that and why did I want to. And then people started praying and advising me, ‘You’re ready, you’re ready.’ I didn’t feel ready but inside I longed for it; it was my ambition. As the Lord opened that door I found joy and comfort knowing that this is what God has put me here for.
“And you find yourself twenty years later in an amazing place. And yet with a certain giddy, childlike anticipation, it has been an amazing twenty years, I can’t wait for the next twenty – for the growth that God will bring in me, for the enjoyment of that journey. Not only the doing of the things, but also the people I will enjoy doing that with and the students that will come and go… [The Lord] is in the aspect of maturing us, the aspect of allowing us, this side of heaven, to have a little foretaste of all that He does. So if I’m having this much fun now. I can’t even imagine – no way – what eternity will be like.”
Too often work is a chore for people. Not Granados. He loves what he does and he truly considers himself privileged.
“All those times where God affirms and for all those years are a stewardship to how God has gifted you, a stewardship to all who have prayed and have contributed, not only in prayer, but financially for you to get to where you are,” he says. “So I show up every day for work as an act of thanksgiving to God – that those things that were the desires of my heart have been in accordance with His will for my life. You feel very affirmed by that, very blessed by that.
“Plus you are honoring the stewardship of all those who contributed in prayer and financially in all those years for your education. I show up every day for that. It’s a way you honor them. And you show up every day for the people you are blessed to work with and for. Blessed to work with staff and faculty who continue to grow and mature you and the students. They are the ones you serve, but they also help you grow and mature as you exercise your gifts.
“That’s a sweet life. That’s a life where even in your wildest dreams you could never dream of it that way and only in the way that our God could give you far above what you could ever dream or imagine. That’s, for me, why I live the way I live. I love and pursue people because that’s how people loved and pursued me. “
Granados is also involved with the basketball team. Although he loves it, his reasons for agreeing to help out four years ago are much more than just a love for the game.
“To be properly able to lead at this level, I have to know, and know not just by hearing, but by doing and being in the midst of all the things that are integral to the everyday life of the institution. So it is a lot of work but I have eternity to rest.”
All his work does not go without appreciation. Students love Dr. Granados.
“Dr. G. invested into our team in so many different ways,” says senior captain of the basketball team, Leif Karlberg. “He is a consistent encouragement to us, making sure that we are walking with the Lord, working hard, and obviously making sure we are always eating good too.”
Dr. Granados has a heart for not only academics. He has a love for the students and the men and women they will become.
“I’m concerned not only about your skill set and vocation but your spiritual walk,” he says. “Therefore I can equip and train someone to be a great business man or woman. But there’s another reality of how they will be as a spouse, as a neighbor, as a child of the King, a representative of the Master.”
His students are a testament to this as well.
Senior Jonny Ardavanis said, “[Granados] combines elements of both humor and depth to his classes that draw the student in and cultivates the students’ desire for learning both inside and outside the classroom.”
Granados has been the Vice President of Academic Affairs for less than a year, but the Lord has been preparing him for this position for 20 years. He has been waiting for this part of life since he was 22 years old.
“Is there any way it can actually get better than this? And the answer is absolutely because the Lord is in the business of doing better things.”
KD Gwinn is a senior communications major.