NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
Tom Coverly: Holy Wow
Tom Coverly is reaching people from all walks of life through his ministry as an illusionist and speaker.
Originally from New Jersey, Tom graduated from BBC in 1995 from the Youth Pastor program. He has been working full-time since and now lives in Grand Rapids, MI.
After spending 12 years as a youth pastor, Tom followed God's direction in changing the look of his focus. He now travels all over the United States, as well as to places like Vietnam, Malaysia and Hong Kong, with his ministry, Holy Wow.
Tom has a love for students as well as a talent for speaking. He speaks at churches, youth groups, camps, schools, and other venues, using illusions to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Tom's heroes include his two children, 11-year-old Ashley and 9-year-old Tyler.
Read more In the Spotlights here.
What led you to BBC?
I was a teenager the first time I ever saw a Bible, stepped foot inside a church and heard of Jesus. I literally thought the youth pastor was swearing when he said, "Jesus Christ." I had no idea God had a son and to hear what Jesus did for me blew me away. I wanted and needed this Jesus in my life to save me from my sin and an inner-city lifestyle that probably would have soon landed me in jail. I will never forget God making it clear as day to me that he wanted me to share my story with people. I decided to go to Baptist Bible College and study the Bible. Because of the grace and mercy extended to me at BBC to deal with a student "rough around the edges," God took this punk city boy, who learned to handle everything with his fist, to arming me with a Bible to preach to thousands.
Why did you choose the Youth Ministries program?
I chose it because I will never forget the impact of a youth pastor sharing Jesus with me. I wanted to have that same kind of impact in the lives of other teenagers like myself.
What is your favorite thing about working with students?
Students are real! What you see is what you get. I love that.
What else have you been involved in?
I have served as a senior pastor of two churches and also was executive director and founder of a nonprofit ministry called the 5ONE in Grand Rapids, MI. The name was taken from the verse Ephesians 5:1, "Be imitators of Jesus Christ." We bought an old YMCA (a 45,000 square-foot building) and converted it into one of the largest Christian music venues in the country. Decorated like a big city "club," it featured a giant stage for local and national Christian music groups to perform, cafe bars, an indoor skateboarding park (formerly the indoor pool), recording studio, a skateboarding store, online gaming center and more. We wanted a safe, cutting edge place that "lost" high school and college students could hang out and be themselves. We could be ourselves and imitate our Lord Jesus and pour love on a hurting generation of students who were seeking hope. On Sunday nights we had a worship service and I would speak and hundreds of students attended from all over the city.
What is "Holy Wow?"
Holy Wow Ministries was founded two years ago. "Holy" stands for the Truth spoken from the Word through this ministry. "Wow" stands for peoples reaction to the magic and illusions, but most importantly that they are "wowed" by what Jesus Christ has done for them. Magic and Illusions have given me the opportunity to share how Satan desires to get us so wrapped up in the here and now and living this life for ourselves. There is only one true reality in this world and that's Jesus!
Where did your interest in illusion come from?
Believe it or not, it was at Baptist Bible College that I first got really interested in illusions. Like most kids, I had a small interest in a card trick here or there. But when I was at BBC, I found this magic store that was near the college. The owner would show me a trick and I am the kind of person that wants to figure it out, which meant I had to buy the trick. I went from buying five-dollar tricks to now, years later, tens of thousands of dollars invested in magic illusions.
What led you to establish a speaking and performing focus?
God used a close friend of mine to encourage me to use my love for illusions and love for communicating the Word of God together. Others were begging me to journal my story and to eventually, God willing, write a book about my life.
What specifically did God use to lead you to make the change of ministries?
I remember flying to a secluded beach a few years ago with my journal and my Bible and I prayed asking God to give me direction. God kept bringing the story about Moses to my mind when God asks Moses, "What's in your hand?" God told Moses if you are willing to lay the staff down I will do things that you cannot even imagine. As I prayed, it was as if God was asking me: "What's in My hand"? God made it super clear that day. If I was willing to lay at his feet my talents with illusions along with my desire to teach and preach the Bible, then he was going to do amazing things. Shortly after my weekend away with God, with direction of some friends in the Christian music industry, I launched Holy Wow Ministries and my website, www.holywow.com.
You mentioned a book. Is it in the works now?
The book is still being compiled in hopes to someday become a reality. It is going to be one that encourages believers to keep pressing forward and serving the Lord despite life situations, past mistakes, discouragements and despite feeling kicked and beaten down by the body of Christ.
What do you hope to accomplish?
I am constantly asking God to expand my territory and to give me more opportunities to use magic and illusions as a way to capture the attention of the world lost without Christ. Not just to entertain, but to ultimately capture their attention by sharing my story of my hope found in Jesus Christ.
What has been your biggest challenge?
The Christian "entertainment" industry is full of people who want to use their talents and abilities to not just entertain but to share Jesus with this world. My biggest challenge in the beginning was: "How do I get the word out so God can use it to impact people's lives?" The answer is there is nothing I can do. I can only be faithful to what he has given me, work hard and watch what God does.
What has been your most significant success?
I still stand amazed at how God has taken a punk city kid who was actually on probation with the law my freshman year at BBC and would even desire to use me today. I am completely humbled. Who am I that God would allow me the opportunity to have owned an old, million-dollar YMCA to be used for His glory or to perform at the largest Christian music festivals in the country and share the stage with the biggest names in Christian music and to speak from the same pulpit of famous authors? Out of all of the above mentioned, hands down, my most significant success is the pleasure of knowing my God even cares to use me to witness thousands of lives and see them impacted and changed for eternity.
Learn about Holy Wow at www.holywow.com.
Watch Tom's promotional videos here.
Learn more about the Youth Pastor program at BBC here.
Tom is available to speak at churches, youth groups, camps, retreats, outreach events, schools, and more. For details and booking, contact Tom at the firstname.lastname@example.org.
The story of Baptist Bible College & Seminary is best told through the lives of students and alumni. Share your story and tell others how God has been leading in your life. Visit www.bbc.edu/yourstory.
Baptist Bible College & Seminary offers an outstanding Christian education through on campus, online, and other distance learning options. Students learn to serve and lead as they gain critical leadership and life skills. To learn more, go to www.bbc.edu or call 570.586.2400.
Posted on: 1/19/2010 10:18:59 AM
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