A shepherd’s heart: Harry Walls

By Gabriela Ciurcu

Staff Writer

“Harry is just a great shepherd. He is not just like a decision-maker but he does stuff with a shepherd’s heart. He is caring and he is concerned in a great way”

– Jonny Ardavanis

At the age of ten, an important lesson has impacted the campus pastor and vice president of student life, Harry Walls. When at his grandparents’ house in Pennsylvania, together with a few kids, Walls was riding his bicycle down a steep hill. His sister did the same but crashed and hurt herself. 

“I remember my grandfather asking me ‘Why did you not take care of your sister?’ As a pastor and as a man taking responsibility before those that I am responsible for, whether I felt like I should or not, came out of this story,” Walls said.

Walls grew up in a Christian, loving, and caring household with his believing parents and grandparents. His parents were also both teachers. His dad taught 7th-grade math in a local middle school, and his mom was a kindergarten teacher, retiring after 30 years.

Walls and his sister became Christians at a young age, having a common affection for Christ and the church. At the age of six, Joy was legally diagnosed as blind.

“She enriched my life as a sister would, and I respect her,” Walls said.

Walls attended and graduated from a public high school, continuing his education at Brown University. There he played football and was pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry.

“I thought a doctor is in the best position in society in my opinion to help people,” Walls said.

When he began a Bible study at Brown, Walls could see how teaching from the Scripture could help him help people more than being a medical doctor. He transferred from Brown to Liberty University at the beginning of his junior year.

At Liberty University, he was an RA for the athletes and later on an RD for all the male athletes. Walls also became the campus pastor. In May of 1985, when John MacArthur became the president of The Master’s College, his assistant called Walls and asked him to be the dean of men.

“John MacArthur is the reason for which I decided to come to Master’s. He was my favorite preacher, the best of what I wanted to become,” Walls said. “He gave me the opportunity along with the guy who hired me to create a student life philosophy that focused on the heart and not only the behavior. Heart transformation, not behavior modification. I don’t want rules to make you into a conformed behavior person who doesn’t have a heart for Christ person, ” said Walls.

The first title he received in 2015 was when he was made the first campus pastor at The Master’s University. Through this position, he was given the responsibility to shepherd, from a pastoral standpoint, students, faculty and staff.

“I used to say, I have no boundaries, meaning that I can talk to anybody in a shepherding involvement way, and I have no authority because those conversations were not ‘you work for me or I am an official,’” Walls said.

The second title he received in 2018 was when he became the vice president of Student Life. Through this position, Walls is responsible for residency and campus life. Those include the deans and everything that affects students outside the classroom.

“I love the interactions I have with the students, staff and faculty,” Walls said. “I get to shepherd young people, and you are like my family. As a spiritual shepherd, an older Christian brother who can help shape your life so it can be what God wants it to be at this defining season of establishing your own convictions, I want to be part of that. I love what I do! I am here for the students, and I get to invest in the people that invest in the students.”

Walls’ affection for what he does is seen in his eyes and his desire to know the students. He wants them to understand and get from his life that Christ is better than anything.

“You are not trading something greater for something lesser,” he said. “This is the best life you can have to be a Christian. I want to influence you to believe that.”

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