The work we do matters. It matters to the world. It matters to God.

God longs for the world to be a place of human flourishing — a place of wholeness, peace, joy, rest, and hope. Whether you are a teacher, therapist, business person, nonprofit leader, healthcare professional or find your work in another profession, your work is not disconnected from the life of God, but the very place that God longs for you, your colleagues, your clients, and your community to experience human flourishing.

What We Provide

Personal and professional development resources exploring the connection between work and faith.

Fellows Program
 providing personal development and research opportunities


Research initiatives
addressing the themes of vocation, work, faith, meaning, and human flourishing

Opportunities to network
for the sake of research collaboration, shared learning and program development.

About Us

The Center for Vocational Formation was established in fall 2018 out of the vision of Dr. Stephen Johnson, the first leader of ACU Dallas. Launched in 2015, ACU Dallas serves non-traditional students through accessible and formative online graduate degrees. From the beginning, Johnson wondered how best to continue ACU’s rich history of educating students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

Given the unique nature of online learning with students living and working in different contexts around the globe, helping these working professionals better attend to their identity, context and understanding of God’s mission in the world seemed an appropriate and timely expression of the university’s mission.


Dr. Ben Ries joined ACU Dallas as the first associate dean for vocational formation in June 2016 and began the development of vocational formation curriculum, co-curriculum initiatives, and launched the Center for Vocational Formation on the Dallas campus in fall 2018. The center was a response to a growing need to help individuals understand and experience their work as meaningful and to be a resource to organizations looking to help others do the same.

Who We Are
Dr. Ben Ries, Director  

Ries is the associate dean for vocational formation in the College of Graduate and Professional Studies at ACU Dallas, developing curricular and co-curricular opportunities for online students, faculty and staff. He and his wife, Jennifer, moved to Dallas with their three children in June 2016 after 18 years of congregational ministry in the Pacific Northwest. Ries enjoys the outdoors, board games, movies, theology, and daydreaming about fly fishing or backpacking in the Cascade Mountains. Email him here

Get In Touch

More Info

The Center for Vocational Formation provides personal and professional development, research initiatives and opportunities to network for the sake of research collaboration, shared learning and programmatic development.

Address: 16633 Dallas Parkway,
Suite 800 Addison, TX 75001

Phone: 855-219-7300

Business Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.,  Monday-Friday

ACU Dallas

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16633 Dallas Parkway, Suite 800 Addison, TX 75001