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State Capitol chaplain picked to head doctoral program at AG Theological Seminary of Evangel

Published on Dec 4, 2017 by Paul K. Logsdon

Dr. John Battaglia has served the past three years as a political chaplain for the Missouri State Capitol, through Capitol Commission, a cross-denominational, non-partisan ministry to state and national leaders across the U.S.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2018, he will add greatly to his list of responsibilities.

Evangel University officials have selected Battaglia to serve as the director of the Doctor of Ministry Program, the largest of the four doctoral programs at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS) of Evangel.

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In the seminary chapel — Dr. Tim Hager, V.P./Dean of AGTS; Dr. John Battaglia; and Dr. Mike McCorcle, Provost/Executive V.P. of Evangel University. // PHOTO BY: Paul K. Logsdon (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

A native of New York City, Battaglia has 30 years of leadership experience involving business, government, church and non-profit organizations. He graduated from AGTS in 2004 with a Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Leading Organizations. He is an ordained minister and an endorsed chaplain with the Assemblies of God.

“John stood out because of his passion for the program, his knowledge of the program, his preparation for the interview,” said Dr. Jim Railey, who chaired the search committee. “Through his service on the AGTS Seminary Board of Advisors, we know he has the personality and skill-set to continue the ‘student-oriented’ attitude of our programs.”

Dr. Beth Grant has chaired the Seminary Board of Advisors for the past three years and is quite pleased with the selection.

“I admire John Battaglia for choosing to engage as a chaplain in a challenging environment — the Missouri state political arena,” said Grant. “As a Seminary alumnus, his work in that context models the missional passion of AGTS. In his new role with the seminary D.Min. program, it is fitting that John will continue to serve as chaplain to maintain his influence where God has opened that strategic door.”

His overarching passion for equipping leaders for service is what drew Battaglia to this strategic role in the Seminary’s largest program.

“In the Doctor of Ministry Program, we are committed to engaging ministry and scholarship, whether in the local church, the chaplaincy, the mission field, district leaders, or educators,” he said. “For this reason, I will continue to serve as Chaplain to the Missouri Legislature and statewide governing leaders.”

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The Missouri State Capitol. // PHOTO: Provided (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

In addition to his work in Jefferson City, Battaglia has been teaching both at AGTS and in the Master of Organizational Leadership program at Evangel University. He is also an executive coach contracted by People Centric Consulting Group, based out of Springfield, Mo.

In his new position, Battaglia will serve AGTS as both director of the D.Min. program, as well as chair of doctoral programs. He will succeed Dr. Cheryl Taylor, who has served as the director of the D.Min. program since 2007.

AGTS offers four doctoral programs — Ph.D. in Biblical Interpretation and Theology; Ph.D. in Intercultural Studies; Doctor of Applied Intercultural Studies; and the Doctor of Ministry.

“John has a track record of dedicated service in the local church, communities where he has lived, as an educator, and among marketplace professionals and legislators,” said Dr. Tim Hager, V.P./dean-elect of the seminary. “I look forward to having him join the team, as he facilitates the next level of growth in the program.”

Both Hager and Battaglia will assume their new positions in January.

An Entrepreneurial Leader                   

“John is a questioner who asks the right questions, listens to the answers, and proposes actions to drive the concern forward. He is known to gather all the data before making decisions, moving deliberately, and when needed, making good, tough choices,” said Dr. Railey, who will be retiring as vice president/dean of AGTS at the end of December.

Battaglia is often referred to as an entrepreneurial leader — when he sees a problem, a need or an opportunity, he sets his mind to finding a successful solution. He is trained to think both as a businessman and a pastor.

Those skills have complemented each other throughout his career. He has served as founding pastor of church-plants in New York and Pennsylvania; as an administrative pastor in Iowa; and as a senior pastor in Missouri.

That special combination has also helped him find solutions for those facing serious needs outside of the four walls of the church. Battaglia has co-founded two non-profit organizations during his career — one in Des Moines to help care for and protect abused children, and one in Columbia to help stop human trafficking.

It was this background that opened the door for the chaplaincy position with the Missouri State Capitol community. “In the Lord’s timing, He orchestrated a ‘new congregation’ to Missouri’s state leaders” said Battaglia.

Capitol Commission chaplains help those they come in contact with to mature through verse-by-verse Bible teaching, regular prayer times, coaching, counseling legislators, “and simply walking slowly through the halls.”

Battaglia graduated from Central Bible College in 1988, and earned an M.A. in Missiology – Intercultural Communication from AGTS in 1989. Several years later he returned to Springfield, where he picked up AGTS classes necessary to earn an M.Div. Equivalency in 2001, on his way to completing his D.Min. in December 2004.

Throughout his career, Battaglia has completed short-term missionary projects on five continents; he has taught leadership seminars at national conferences; and he has remained “passionate about Jesus and living as an authentic follower of Christ,” he said. “I am committed to adding value to people’s lives through discipleship, leadership, and friendship. I take great joy when others do well.”

2017 John, Christine Battaglia
John & Christine Battaglia // PHOTO: Provided (CLICK TO ENLARGE)

John and his wife, Christine, live in Ozark, Mo., with their three children — Alaina is an Evangel University graduate and serves as an admissions counselor there; Brent and Justin are in high school. Christine also works at Evangel, as an academic program specialist in the Department of Adult and Graduate Studies.

Outside of work, John enjoys sports, especially visiting baseball stadiums throughout the country; and being east coast natives, the family knows nothing beats the ocean when it is time to relax.

For more information about AGTS, visit or call (417) 268-1000.